Coming into training camp, Jordan Reed appeared to be the kind of player who might be too talented and versatile for the Redskins’ coaching staff to keep off the field.
The tight end, a third-round pick from Florida, was recruited as a quarterback and also saw action at running back, wide receiver and H-back for the Gators, giving the Redskins a potential weapon to slide into their diverse offensive sets.
Draft analyst Rob Rang touted Reed’s “unique ability to create receiving mismatches.” With Washington’s tight end situation muddled, the rookie had a chance to make an impact.
But as the Redskins get ready for their third preseason game, Saturday afternoon’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills, Reed remains an enigma, and the tight end position is all locked up by a rejuvenated Fred Davis.
Injuries have been the major factor. Before Reed saw his first action in Monday’s win over Pittsburgh, he’d been sidelined by both knee and foot injuries, reducing his role in training camp.
“I’m feeling good — my body is good,” he said. “I’m just learning the plays.”
On Monday, he dropped a pass and misread a route that led to a Pittsburgh interception. But just getting on the field was victory enough for the rookie, who is open to whatever role he may play this season.
“We ran the spread offense at Florida throughout my years there, so I’m pretty used to working in space, not always having my hand down and using a lot of motion,” Reed said. “It’s a lot of the stuff we do here.”
With Davis looking like his old self, the Redskins now have the luxury of bringing Reed along without having to force him into the lineup.
“I’ve been impressed with him both mentally and physically,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “He’s not there yet, like all rookies, but he’s adjusted well.”
And with all the time he’s spent on the sideline, Reed has been able to form a relationship with another injured dynamo — quarterback Robert Griffin III, from whom Reed has been catching passes since OTAs.
“It’s been cool to show him what I can do and how I can help out the team,” Reed said of Griffin. “I let him know that I have some ability and that he can trust me. It’s a great opportunity for me.”