The Indianapolis Colts have been dealt another potentially devastating Training Camp injury, as superstar left guard Quenton Nelson is expected to be out anywhere from five to 12 weeks with a foot injury.
Nelson, a three-time All-Pro, has yet to miss a game in his NFL career up to this point. While it is still possible that he is ready to go in week one, the outlook certainly looks bleak at this moment.
With Nelson down, all eyes turn to veteran guard Chris Reed, a player that the Colts signed to a one-year deal this offseason. Reed, 28, is going into his sixth season in the league. He has made 47 starts over the course of his career, and he is coming off of a productive year with the Carolina Panthers, where he started 14 games.
In today's film room, I dive into why Reed is an excellent depth player to have and why he should be able to hold down the fort if Nelson does miss a significant amount of time.
Reed is a former undrafted free agent who has had the benefit of playing under some really good offensive line coaches in the NFL. He started learning under Doug Marrone in Jacksonville, then worked under Dave Guglielmo (the Colts' OL coach in 2018) in Miami, before learning from Pat Meyer in Carolina last season.
Due to working under some of the best offensive line coaches in the league, Reed has been able to add in a lot of interesting tools into his game. My favorite one to learn about was this technique below to combat hand swipes.
Reed went into detail on how there are times when he can get his hands under the shoulder pads of defensive linemen. When he has them in that position, he can bring his hands inside and push up to stymie the rush completely.
Overall, it seems like a very annoying move to have to deal with as a defensive lineman.
The mental side of the game shows up so much with Reed. He isn't built with the longest arms for an interior player, so he has had to figure out ways to mitigate this potentially fatal flaw.
The NFL is littered with guys who love to go to the bull rush or a long arm. This can be a problem for a player with shorter arms, but Reed has found ways to work around this. He is excellent at knowing when to break the hands of the rusher, and he understands how to use leverage against the defender.
In this clip below, he breaks down some drills he does to help him refine this technique, and we also discuss why this is such a great weapon to have in an offensive lineman's arsenal.
Being in the NFC South last year, Reed had a few tough match-ups on the interior. By far and away the toughest one was against Falcons' defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Jarrett is a premier player in the NFL and gives just about every offensive lineman he faces a hard time.
Reed was honest about his match-ups with Jarrett and definitely mentioned that Jarrett won his fair share of reps. Reed, however, did make it interesting with a few great plays of his own. Here is how he breaks down that battle from last season:
Given that Reed could end up playing against Aaron Donald and/or Jeffrey Simmons this year, it is great that he got that experience against a top player.
Reed has the mindset that fits in with this offensive line, too. A collegiate Hall of Fame player in the shot put, it is easy to see that strength on display in games. I love how he talked about finding work in the passing game and how he likes to stack body blows on defensive players throughout the game.
Here he breaks down how he cleans the pocket for his quarterback and how he wears down defenses with big hits:
Reed is a tone-setting player who is also a top athlete. He isn't perfect by any means and certainly has some areas to work on, but he is a good offensive lineman in a league that lacks quality depth.
With Quenton Nelson potentially out to start the year, Reed is the perfect player to fill in. I loved the signing of Reed at the time and these early season injuries only amplify how smart it was for Chris Ballard to bring in this stable veteran.
If you are interested in the full interview with Chris Reed, check it out at this link below!
Follow Zach on Twitter @ZachHicks2.