For Josh Reynolds, the last three weeks have been all about adapting on the fly.
The fifth-year receiver was claimed off waivers after being released by the Tennessee Titans. Since coming to Detroit, he’s played in two games, and has caught three passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.
As he strives to fit in -- and do so quickly -- he said Lions wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El has been a huge asset.
“Juice,” Reynolds responded, when asked about what Randle El has brought to the receivers room. “I’m big on energy, and he brings it every day. He’s a great coach, and he’s a good guy.”
The Texas A&M product has took it upon himself to learn the offense quickly. On a team strapped for depth at wide receiver, his talent places him among the best on roster. The sooner he learns it, the better for the Lions.
In his career, Reynolds has caught 126 passes for 1,610 yards and 10 touchdowns. This is an experienced body of work that other Lions receivers, such as rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown and young wideouts Kalif Raymond and KhaDarel Hodge, don’t have.
But, first, it’s about learning the playbook.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” Reynolds said of the toughest parts of learning a playbook. “A little bit of all of it. Mostly the little details on the routes, or supposed to be two yards outside the numbers instead of three and stuff like that. Just kind of having to flip my brain and hearing a dig, and now, I’ve got to be a certain amount of yards outside.”
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Reynolds has also been helped in his process by Lions quarterback Jared Goff, who was his signal-caller when the two played for the Los Angeles Rams. Both are in their first year as Lions, so they’re working together to learn the nuances of head coach Dan Campbell’s playbook.
“He can kind of compare it to the Rams' playbook,” Reynolds said. “The Rams' offense. ‘This is like this.' So, he helps a lot.”
The pair of former Rams connected for a 39-yard touchdown on the Lions’ first drive in Week 12. The moment was important, because it showed the chemistry that has been sustained by the duo.
“It’s awesome to be able to kind of get that trust factor back again and start to hit these downfield passes,” Reynolds said. “Because ultimately that opens up the short game and the run game, so I think it’s big for the offense.”
Challenges of game planning without running back D'Andre Swift
Losing a player of D'Andre Swift's caliber will certainly impact the Lions offense.
For Campbell and the coaching staff, it means an opportunity for others on the roster to showcase their capabilities.
"Everybody deals with injuries and it’s been that way for years," Campbell said.
“Look, it’s not easy to replace a guy like him, as dynamic as he’s been. You’re making a good point, and so I think it really becomes that production is by committee now," Campbell explained.