As he stood on the sideline in street clothes for the season finale against Carolina, Atlanta Falcons offensive guard Garrett Reynolds looked over to a reporter during pregame warm-ups and shrugged his shoulders.
Reynolds wasn't exactly sure how to explain falling from starting right guard to being inactive to end the season. The demotion spoke to his struggles throughout the 2013 campaign.
With Reynolds due to count more than $1.5 million against the salary cap in 2014, his days with the Falcons seem likely to be over. Reynolds understands the reality of the business, although he has kept a positive outlook throughout.
"It is hard not being a starter,'' Reynolds said. "Your role changes throughout the year. It says a lot about you ... sometimes, things don't work out how you want them to, but what you do then says a lot about you. I just kept coming to work and tried to keep getting these guys ready as can be. It's not about me. It's about the team and the team doing well.''
Here's Reynolds' self-evaluation of the ‘13 season:
Position: right guard
Contract status: Signed through 2014 ($1,578,750 cap number in ‘14)
2013 games played/starts: 15/10
Overview: Reynolds, a former fifth-round draft pick from North Carolina, started the first nine games of the season at right guard before benched in favor of demoted starting center Peter Konz. Reynolds briefly regained his starting spot but was benched again in favor of Konz. The 6-foot-9, 310-pound Reynolds got pushed back way too many times. His inability to block consistently became clearly evident early in the season, particularly against the New York Jets. Reynolds played just eight snaps over the last five games, mainly as the extra lineman in the heavy package.
Reynolds' self-evaluation: "For me, I have to keep working on some things. I've been playing for a couple of years so I have learned a lot, but I still struggle with just sitting on a bull rush sometimes. So, that's something that I have to continue work on.''
Thursday: Justin Blalock