Chargers receiver Joe Reed brings a new dynamic to the team
During the offseason, the Chargers had some holes that they needed to fill. They had a notable hole at the receiver position after Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. They needed more offensive weapons. The team's brass drafted a receiver to add a different dynamic to their offense and special teams.
In the fifth round, the team drafted receiver Joe Reed out of Virginia. While at Virginia, the rookie receiver was the ultimate swiss army knife. Reed, in his senior year, had a total of 1,517 scrimmage yards and nine total touchdowns.
After he was drafted, Reed told the media that the Chargers brass wanted him to do the same for their team. They wanted him to play at different spots on the offensive side and return kicks.
"When I saw him, 'My goodness this is a big return man,'" special teams coach George Stewart said. "He has that physical strength. He has great vision, and he has big-time speed, so those three things will give him an opportunity to be successful."
Stewart spoke to the media for about 10 minutes last Monday, and he kept raving about Reed's return skills and how dynamic he is. Reed electrified Virginia's return game having over 3,000 return yards, which is a school record, and returning five touchdowns.
"Kick returns haven't been as successful, that's one thing in terms of going to get a guy like Joe Reed," Stewart said. "He has great vision, but he's a strong returner. He has playing strength. He's able to run through tackles. He's bigger than what you think."
Stewart mentioned that he was disappointed that the offense started drives on average on their 26-yard line. They hope he can bring a different dynamic to the return game.
Now on the offensive side of the ball, the plan is for Reed to play all over the field. So that is no different from what he did in college.
"My whole career from high school to college up until now, I have been able to bounce around and play different positions," explained Reed. "Whether it is in the slot or out wide or in the backfield especially returning kicks. You know, for me, it is just getting used to this system. Use to the play calls. I feel more than comfortable being versatile and play different positions."
During training camp, Reed has played with the running backs and receivers, so he has had to learn two different positions. The former Cavalier said that he has made flashcards to learn the "kill" calls and whom he has to pick up on blocking assignments.
"When I watch Joe (Reed), I feel like he reminds me of Percy Harvin not quite as explosive as Percy but a guy who can do multiple things," Lynn said. "He can line up at receiver or in the backfield. He is a kick returner. We can use Joe in multiple ways, but right now at receiver and in the backfield, there is a lot of good competition going on there, so Joe has got his work cut out for him."
If Reed could become half of what Harvin was for the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings, then the Chargers could have a more dynamic offense and special teams.
During practice, the young receiver has made some plays. Lynn mentioned that even though the team is excited about what he brings, he will have to fight for playing time.
The team is down receiver Mike Williams and return man Darius Jennings with injures; it is unknown when either will return, so the team will be looking for someone to step up. That could be a receiver who can do it all and is ready for the challenge.