If ever there was a week the Redskins need tight end Jordan Reed back on the field, it is this one.
Reed’s mission in life is to make the Dallas Cowboys miserable. He’s done it his whole career. Coming off a disheartening 17-point blown lead in a Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington could use a little of Reed’s magic when it hosts Dallas at FedEx Field on Sunday.
But that’s complicated by the preseason concussion that sidelined Reed late in August and kept him out of the opener. His history of six concussions is well documented dating back to his college days at the University of Florida and in the NFL. There’s a legitimate concern whether Reed’s career should even continue.
But that’s his decision once doctors clear him to play. Reed was listed as “limited” all last week during practice and he drew a “questionable” tag last Friday before getting scratched a day before the Eagles game on Saturday.
But Reed appears on track to play against Dallas. Reserve tight end J.P. Holtz, active against Philadelphia, was released on Tuesday. Reed was again listed as “limited” at Wednesday’s practice, but he participated in more team drills, which is also seen as a positive sign that he will join fellow tight ends Vernon Davis and Jeremy Sprinkle on Sunday.
Acknowledging the seriousness of his concussion history, the Redskins could use him. Reed has decimated the Cowboys over the years. In 10 career games against them he has 51 receptions for 534 yards and two touchdowns. He’s averaged 53.4 yards per game against Dallas and Reed’s mere presence should help open things up for Washington’s young wide receivers. If he is healthy, of course.
“He was there all training camp. Some of the offseason stuff we were able to get together,” quarterback Case Keenum said on Wednesday. “But he's a special player. I haven't played with many players like him. I've never played with a player that can do what he does.”
Redskins coach Jay Gruden appeared optimistic but insisted Reed has to take each day as it comes. If symptoms reappear after practices late this week then he won’t play.
Even with Reed on the field, the Redskins have an abysmal 3-7 record against the Cowboys dating to his rookie season in 2013. But he’s done his part.
Few will forget Reed’s Thanksgiving Day performance at Dallas in 2016 when he caught two touchdown passes playing with a busted left shoulder, Despite missing most of the first half, he finished with 95 receiving yards and his late touchdown catch gave Washington a chance at an onside kick in a 31-26 loss.
Reed had nine catches for 70 yards in a 44-17 loss to Dallas on Dec. 28, 2014. He had five catches for 70 yards in a 27-23 loss on Sept. 18, 2016. Last Thanksgiving, again on the road against the Cowboys, he had six catches for 75 yards in a 31-23 loss. If the Redskins are going to spring an upset, they need Reed to put up similar numbers. It would make a huge difference for a team that needs all the help it can get.
“You guys can see it on film. You see how he gets open and creates space,” Keenum said. “The stuff that he’s able to do on the elite cover guys in the league. That’s a huge trust factor that I know he can get open and I’m excited to continue that on-field relationship and get him the ball.”
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