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Redskins TE Jordan Reed should get more deep passes in 2014

Jun 10, 2014, 1:55 PM EDT

Jordan-Reed-vs.-Bears

Redskins tight end Jordan Reed lived in the short area of the field in his rookie 2013 season.

He was targeted 60 times (all stats via Pro Football Focus unless noted) last year and only two of those passes traveled 20 or more yards in the air. That was a pass deep down the right side in the Redskins’ opening drive against the Bears in Week 7.

It’s a good bet that we’ll see Reed running 20 yards past the line of scrimmage more often in 2013. He certainly has the speed and athletic ability to be effective rolling down the seam. It also looks like going deep to the tight end is something that coach Jay Gruden likes to do.

Last year Gruden was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati and he had a talented rookie tight end of his own in first-round draft pick Tyler Eifert (who was targeted 57 times). He also had Jermaine Gresham (70 targets), who was coming off of a Pro Bowl appearance in 2012.

Eifert and Gresham were targeted on passes of 20 yards or more a combined 13 times (Eifert 7, Gresham 6). Five of them were complete for 174 yards and a touchdown. Clearly, that’s some pretty good production out of 13 pass attempts. It would be surprising if Gruden did not utilize Reed on more deep patterns in 2014.

It should be noted that there are some discrepancies in playing time here. Due to injuries, Reed played in nine games (384 snaps). Gresham played in 14 games (909 snaps) and Eifert played in 15 (681). Still, even on a per-game, per-snap or per-target basis, both Gresham and Eifert went deep more often than did Reed.

You don’t have to be an expert at reading tea leaves to figure out that we’ll see Reed stretching the defense on a regular basis this fall.

  1. kenlinkins - Jun 10, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    In days of old you had to have a running game to open up the passing game (unless you were the 1967 Redskins), now the key is the TE being able to control the middle of the field. You can do it with a double TE sets or a very good TE and Slot WR. The key is the QB making the correct read at the line. If your TE can control the middle of the field it forces the defense to do things it doesn’t want to do in order to stop you. This is the chess game RG3 is still learning from the pocket. Your must make the correct read very quickly and deliver the ball (i.e. must trust his reads). This also helps the O-line as the time required to keep the pocket clean is reduced. If RG3 and Reed get on the same page early, this could be a fun year for the Redskins passing game. (think Jackson and Garcon beating bump & run coverage down the sidelines while the FS/SS are trapped covering the TE’s in the middle of the field). Being able to control the middle of the field is why TE’s are becoming so valued in todays game, they are in fact replacing the RB as the key to the passing game.

    • rtcwon - Jun 10, 2014 at 10:41 PM

      Um, no. TEs are more athletic. The linebackers that can cover them, can’t stop the run and vise versa. There are more “athletic” TEs than “two-way” linebackers in the league right now.

  2. mrhart76 - Jun 10, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    We need another pass catching TE because kid takes a big hit to the head and we are screwed like Fred Davis the moment they told him to pee in a cup. I cant remember 5 catches Niles Paul has made in his career. Does he even have 5??

    • jayovalentine - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:01 AM

      Lumberjack is very underrated as a receiving TE. We will probably draft another pass catching TE next year.

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