Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed picked up where he left off last season Friday night.
Reed, a former Florida player, caught two passes for 28 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown, in his preseason debut for the Redskins.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins found Reed streaking toward the end zone on the second-quarter score against the Buffalo Bills. It was the second of Cousins’ three touchdowns in the period.
Reed missed the Redskins’ first two preseason games – against the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 11 and New York Jets on Aug. 19 – due to a sprained thumb.
Reed, who emerged into one of the NFL’s top tight ends last season, had 11 touchdown receptions last season, tied for seventh most in the league. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski also had 11 and only the Cincinnati Bengals’ Tyler Eifert had more among tight ends with 13.
Last season, Reed also caught 87 passes for 952 yards despite only playing in 14 games, with both totals (along with his touchdown count) ranking as team bests. He also had an additional nine catches for 120 yards and one touchdown in the Redskins’ NFC Wild Card loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Washington coach Jay Gruden was asked earlier this month what Reed needs to do to take his game to the next level.
“He’s almost there already,” Gruden said. “He’s stronger. He was a puppy when he came in here physically, but now he’s filling out and he’s a bigger guy and playing with a ton of confidence. He’s a smart player. He can see coverages. He’s got big, strong hands and he’s excellent after the catch.”
While his injury was relatively minor, it does make sense for Washington to err on the side of caution with Reed. Last season, Reed missed two games due to a concussion, his fifth in five years dating back to his time at Florida.
“Really, the sky is the limit for Jordan,” Gruden said. “I really have all the confidence in the world that when the ball is thrown to him that he’s going to be in the right spot and he’s going to make the catch and he can beat a lot of people. He’s getting better and better and more and more confident and he’s blocking better too. He’s a heck of a player. No doubt.”
At Florida, Reed was a quarterback through the first two seasons of his career, even seeing action at the position in 2010 after redshirting a year earlier. But he transitioned to tight end ahead of the 2011 season before getting drafted in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
For his Florida career, Reed had 79 catches for 945 yards and six touchdowns.
The Redskins beat the Bills, 21-16, in both teams’ third preseason game.
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