Redskins need Jordan Reed to stay healthy

ASHBURN, Va. -- Fear crept in after two months, with tight end Jordan Reed wondering when the symptoms would end. Nausea. Sleepless nights. Headaches. It was the price Reed paid for suffering a concussion during the season.

He wondered when it would end.

“I started to get a little scared -- like, ‘Maybe I’m going to be like this forever,’ or something like that,” Reed told reporters after Thursday’s OTA workout. “But it ended up going away.

"Some games, I wasn't being completely honest in telling them how bad [the symptoms] were, so that was kind of why I was able to come back [for practices] and then getting kicked out again."

The key for Reed and the Redskins is that it stays away -- and that he's able to stay on the field. Reed entered the NFL with questions about his durability -- he suffered two concussions in college, but missed time for hamstring issues, a sprained ankle as well as his knee. His first NFL season did not help matters: he dealt with a bruised foot, bruised right quadriceps and a hip pointer.

He ended up missing seven games. He still wound up catching 45 passes for 499 yards. Last season, Reed said one of the things he was most proud of after his nine-catch, 134-yard game against the Bears was returning to the game after hurting his hip. He understood the durability concerns.

But Reed said there is no concern on his end about the concussion.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen again,” Reed said. “I don’t think it’s going to be something that I’m going to have to deal with my whole career.”

Of course, there is no way to know if that will happen again. Regardless, he’s a talented part of their passing attack and a matchup headache for defenses. Just before getting hurt Reed was starting to become more of a downfield threat, as the Redskins had anticipated. With the added talent at receiver, Reed will be more of a nuisance for defenses. It will be hard to double him as they did occasionally in 2013: linebackers would cheat in his direction, opening narrow lanes for a receiver behind them.

Reed also gives quarterback Robert Griffin III another receiver with a wide catch radius. The other wideouts are good in this area as well, unlike last season when only Pierre Garcon could bail out Griffin by catching an off-target throw.

Reed has to become a more consistent blocker. He would be helped by adding more strength, but also by having more consistent technique, too.

“He is obviously a force in the passing game,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Reed. “We got to work him a little [on] being more stout in the running game. But overall he’s had no drawbacks from his concussion. We have, obviously, one of the more talented young tight ends in the league. He is going to be a great guy up in the middle of the field. If people want to [focus on] DeSean [Jackson] or [focus on] Pierre, he’s a guy that is very much needed in the passing game. We just got to keep him healthy.”