Improved Conditioning, Preparation Aided Seahawks DT Jarran Reed's Development

Looking to bounce back after a poor 2019 campaign, Reed has endured some highs and lows so far this season but through it all, the fifth-year defensive tackle has continued relying on the lessons he learned during his second season in Seattle.
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With the Seahawks defense turning their rough season around recently, there’s no question defensive tackle Jarran Reed has played a major role in the resurgence. But it appears he wouldn’t have been able to make such a huge impact without making some vital adjustments off the field earlier in his career.

Despite coming off a disappointing 2019 campaign, the Seahawks decided to keep Reed around for a couple more seasons, handing him a two-year, $23 million contract extension over the offseason. Needing him to bounce back strong, the fifth-year pro enjoyed an encouraging start to the season, producing five solo tackles, two quarterback hits, one forced fumble, and a sack through three games, although he struggled mightily after that point and went the next four games without a single quarterback hit or sack.

Though Seattle has performed to a 2-2 record over the last four games, the 27-year old has found a way to break out of his mid-season slump during that stretch, which has helped his club generate a combined 19.0 sacks since Week 9. Utilizing the tools he gained following his rookie campaign, the 6-foot-3 defensive tackle explained how his game has changed since coming into the league along with how those additional skills have helped him turn the corner this year.

“Just preparation, how you prepare, how you take care of your body - your mental aspect of the game,” Reed discussed. “Just how to become a complete pro athlete.”

Considering Reed was focused on making up for lost time last season after missing the first six games due to his suspension, it seems he might have lost touch with those crucial tools and didn’t pay enough attention to the mental aspect of his game. That being said, it’s clear that hasn’t been an issue for him this season, especially since he was able to start on time with his teammates this time around.

While it took time before he realized he needed to make some adjustments to bring out the best in his game, the former second-round pick certainly had quality mentors to learn from, as he leaned on former players Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril for advice. Taking in everything they suggested to him, the Alabama standout discussed how they helped him improve his conditioning and mentioned how they proved to him it’s extremely important to have a strong work ethic during both game days and practices.

“I really used to watch my vets - Mike B [Bennett], Cliff Avril,” Reed detailed. “Those guys did a great job taking care of their bodies and doing the little things that you have to go out there and perform every day not just on Sunday, that’s Wednesday, Thursday, and on Friday. I’d usually peak at what they were doing, I used to take knowledge from them, ask them different types of things, techniques, and massages, those types of things that I could do.”

“I made me a routine and now I got my whole routine down to what I know to do to get ready for Sunday, or Monday, or Thursday.”

Over 11 games in 2020, Reed has started in every game, generating 29 total tackles, 15 solo tackles, 15 quarterback pressures, eight quarterback hits, 3.5 sacks, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one batted pass, and a 4.0 percent pressure rate.

In comparison, the former Crimson Tide star made 10 starts in 2019, generating 27 total tackles, 15 quarterback pressures, 10 solo tackles, eight quarterback hits, 2.0 sacks, one forced fumble, one pass breakup, along with a 5.4 percent pressure rate.

Entering this final stretch of the regular season, it’ll be critical for Reed to continue producing at a high level, as the Seahawks will be counting on their pass rush to maintain their stellar play from the last four weeks into the postseason. Even though the defense has created plenty of havoc for opposing quarterbacks as of late, he feels the unit still has some room to improve and can apply even more pressure moving forward.

“We can do better,” Reed explained. “We can get more. I feel like we leave some on the table and we’re hungry. We’re never satisfied nor are we content with what we’re doing right now, we want to do more.”