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Need to Know: Will Jordan Reed be a major factor in the Redskins’ offense?

Jul 1, 2015, 5:00 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 1, 29 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

I’ll also take your Need to Know questions via email. Hit me up with “NTK” in the subject line. Just keep them relatively brief, please. 

Redskins tight end Jordan Reed certainly has more than his share of health issues since coming into the league in 2013. As a rookie he missed one game with a knee injury and six more with a concussion. Last year it was four games missed with a hamstring injury suffered in Week 1 and missed another with a different hammy later in the season. In all, he has been on the roster for 32 games and has either appeared on the injury report or injured reserve for 17 of those games.

Everybody knows about that part. But most don’t know that even when he was healthy he did not have a very heavy workload. Let’s take a look at Weeks 6-9 and 13-17. Those weeks exclude the games he sat out and the games in which he got injured and left early.

Here are his snap counts per game and the Redskins’ total snaps for the game, per Pro Football Focus.

Game/Reed snaps/offensive snaps

@ARZ 37/64
TEN 44/66
@DAL 28/70
@MIN 45/69
@IND 51/82
StL 49/58
@NYG 33/72
PHI 19/60
DAL 31/71

Add it up and when he was healthy Jordan played 337 of 612 snaps. That’s about 55 percent of the plays, amounting to a heavy part-time load.

When he played in 2013 he was targeted 7.8 times per game. Last year his targets per game (again not counting the games he left early due to injury) stool at 6.9. Despite being healthy, he was virtually ignored in games against the Vikings (1 target), Eagles (2), and Bucs (2).

I shouldn’t give the impression here that Reed was not used at all. His 65 total targets were fourth on the team and more than anyone besides the top three wide receivers, despite missing five games.

Still, it’s hard to look at the snap counts and targets and figure that Reed will be a “major part” of the offense even if he’s healthy. That could change but probably not initially. I can see him starting out the year playing about half of the snaps and if he stays on the field his workload could increase to where he’s playing, say, 70 percent of the snaps. If he’s on the field more his targets will increase and he could become more of a part of the offense.

But it all starts with Reed staying healthy. If that happens I’m sure that the team will figure out ways to take advantage of his considerable talents.


—It’s been 185 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 75 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 29; Preseason opener @ Browns 43; final cuts 66

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. colorofmyskinz - Jul 1, 2015 at 6:03 AM

    I will believe in Jordan Reed when Jordan Reed believes in Jordan Reed.

    Right now he is following suit of how college football was for him, injury prone. So I am not sure why we thought we would get anything different.

    He is extremely talented. And the talent is worthless in the bench.

    This reminds me of Jan Ulrich, most talented cyclist in the history of cycling. He had a work ethic issue and it left him never playing to his talents.

    Talent is the price of entry. Ethic, consistency, belief, production, results, and raw grit in the NFL make the talented player yield results.

    Sorry I will believe it when I see it.

  2. colorofmyskinz - Jul 1, 2015 at 6:41 AM

    Last comment: a TE in the NFL is someone responsible for a while lot more than just cleaning routes, catching, and running. They are the 6th offensive lineman! I like to look at what players are doing when the ball is not designed for their hands. So how does Jordan do with run blocking, fown field blocking, picking up outside line backer blitz, pass protection, take big hits by linebackers where it hurts the linebacker more than the TE…?

    Not good is the answer.

    I think Jordan would be better at WR after dropping 20-30 lbs. It would be easier on his body from a health standpoint. I think he is trying to play a position that he really does not want to play.

    Think about how fast Jordan would be if he was carrying 25 less pounds on his back. He just doesn’t have the mental Moxie to be a true NFL TE. True NFL tight ends look for the hits and crave the hits versus trying to avoid them.

    I think he’s playing the wrong position.

    • obxskins - Jul 2, 2015 at 8:21 AM

      In todays NFL TE doesnt do blocking like they did “back in the day”….i.e. Jimmy Graham..

      • abanig - Jul 2, 2015 at 9:07 AM

        I don’t agree. Yes, in an offense like the Saints Jimmy Graham didn’t have to block much, but in an offense like Seattle’s he will be asked to block more.

        In the Redskins offense, they still need TE’s who can block. Last year a lot of the sacks and pressures that were given up were because out TEs & RBs couldn’t block. A lot of the reason why Alfree only averaged 3.8 yards on first down was because our TEs didn’t get good blocks. Lastly, the reason why Alfred didn’t turn his 5 yard runs into 10+ yard runs last year was because Desean Jackson & Andre Roberts aren’t as good of blockers as Hankerson, Morgan and Moss.

        Don’t kid yourself, blocking matters. Especially for a tight end!

  3. abanig - Jul 1, 2015 at 8:14 AM

    We have to hope he’ll get healthy and stay healthy. When he’s used as a slot wr type TE ala Jimmy Graham, Reed is nearly impossible to stop. Griffin and Reed really developed a good connection in 2013, and I hope they can find that again. If they can, Reed could have 75+ receptions and lead the redskins in receptions.

    • ET - Jul 1, 2015 at 9:08 AM

      Everything you’ve said is true, but I doubt any big seasons come to pass for Reed. Enormous talent, but so fragile. Maybe work ethic and/or conditioning is an important aspect, too. There were several games last season where Reed seemed to disappear.

      Niles Paul will continue to improve. The more talented Jordan Reed? Possible, but not likely.

      • abanig - Jul 1, 2015 at 9:19 AM

        Well was it that Reed disappeared or that Griffin didn’t find him?

        Honestly, I think it’s the latter. In the second Giants game Griffin could have thrown a pass real quick and got Reed for a touchdown right before the half. It was the play where Griffin looked like he ran it in for the TD, but then on the replay it showed he bobbled it at didn’t re-establish possession.

        It was a tough pass that Griffin would have to complete and it was a real quick read, but most think Griffin should have thrown it.

        As for the rest of your post I agree about the work ethic and I question if Reed can stay healthy.

        • ET - Jul 1, 2015 at 12:11 PM

          Well was it that Reed disappeared or that Griffin didn’t find him?

          Good question. I don’t know for sure.

          I remember the play you’re talking about. But I was thinking more about the Philly game, where my recollection is that Reed looked less than crisp, and I thought he’d have some good chances. I haven’t rewatched any game film from last season, however.

  4. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jul 1, 2015 at 8:21 AM

    A shame. When I saw what Reed could do his rookie year, I thought we had one of the steals of the draft.

  5. troylok - Jul 1, 2015 at 8:50 AM

    I think Jordan Reed’s work ethic is just not there. Niles Paul put on some weight and muscle in the offseason. Reed came into OTA’s and promptly injured himself. Players get injured for lots of reasons, but the variety of injuries Reed has had suggest he’s not doing the stretching, the weight lifting, the running, etc. that he needs to do to stay free from injury.

  6. bangkokben - Jul 1, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    I don’t think any one of us can question his work ethic. I find the suggestion somewhere between amusing and offensive. Has there even been reports about his work ethic at practice? The assumption that he doesn’t work hard enough on his body therefore he gets injured is grasping at straws. The bigger question is what kind of player is he when he’s on the field? I HATED the play where they targeted him on 3rd down through it short with the idea that Jordan was going to run over his man for a 1st. It was so unsuccessful. Use Garcon for that or better yet run a route past the first down marker.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jul 1, 2015 at 10:39 AM

      Yeah, I don’t see enough evidence to question his work ethic.

      Some people (most, probably!) do not have bodies able to stand up to the abuse of tackle football.

      • abanig - Jul 1, 2015 at 10:44 AM

        Totally agree with the last two comments. I mean, Reed has never been one that’s been talked about as being out of shape or not prepared for anything. A lot of injuries are bad luck and Reed seems to have a lot of bad luck with them as does Griffin.

      • bangkokben - Jul 1, 2015 at 11:19 AM

        I admire anyone who still goes out there after a significant concussion. In all my playing of contact sports, I never suffered a concussion – and hit my head plenty. Then a few years ago working under a low deck, I stood up. 5’9″ into a support beam 5’3″. Concussed. Nauseous for weeks. Not supposed to read anything, watch TV, use the computer – basically complete rest for the mind. Also supposed to eat 200% normal caloric intake. Rest and get fat – great prescription.

        • Skulb - Jul 1, 2015 at 7:54 PM

          Nobody should be on an NFL field after concussions. There`s enough evidence linking playing football with late life brain damage now anyway, although the NFL doesn`t much like to talk about it. Playing while concussed is not a good idea on top of that.

        • bangkokben - Jul 2, 2015 at 12:53 PM

          I certainly didn’t mean to imply returning before complete absence of any symptoms. Portis was never the same after his concussion and that was missing the rest of the year. Reed may be the same way. I agree with you but it seems like those who haven’t experienced a significant concussion can chalk it up to work ethic when his body continues to break down.

      • ET - Jul 1, 2015 at 12:22 PM

        The questions about work ethic, to me, are about his conditioning. I would never begrudge a guy for staying out because of a concussion. Some players probably still return too soon after one, despite the new protocols. Reed did the right thing there.

        Reed has a consistent history of leg issues, though, and that’s a red flag. Some of that may be on the previous strength and conditioning regime, but some of it has to fall on the individual players as well. It’s a pretty stark contrast to see Niles Paul get bigger and stronger each year, while Reed seems to have the same issues.

  7. shermanp79 - Jul 1, 2015 at 10:56 AM

    Why they didn’t upgrade this position makes little sense. Last year they took a TE in the 7th round. They have one guy who has regressed and the other 2 aren’t close to a true #1 TE. I know they can’t fix it all at once but they could of brought some other talent into the mix. I have heard it said Reed runs poor routes which he has to improve. I doubt he ever stays healthy, even just in a WR role. If he tried to block he probably would be beat up more. They have Paulsen to block, lets hope he can improve catching. Too many balls bouncing off his hands. It seems he was better a couple of years back, maybe he can improve to play a bigger role. We need a big target in the RZ. I thought there were a couple of FA who could of helped for a year, they could of grabbed a young guy but as a building team, I understand it but a Thomas could of solidified the position. It will have to be addressed at some point soon, I don’t think what we have is sufficient.

    • abanig - Jul 1, 2015 at 11:00 AM

      Because it wasn’t a good draft for tight ends and there wasn’t a great tight end that was available in free agency either. At least not anyone that was leaps and bounds better than the three we have on the roster

    • Skulb - Jul 1, 2015 at 7:57 PM

      Assuming that they`ll use one TE most of the time both Logan and Paul are fully qualified starters at the position. Paul was even slightly impressive last season, at least when catching and running. He could do with some work on his blocking and Logan could do with some work on his catching and they`ll both be fine. Archives

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