Despite recent history dealing with a string of injuries, the Redskins are confident Jordan Reed can carry the bulk of the load from the tight end position this season.
At the very least on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, the Redskins will expect Jordan Reed to be the primary producer from the tight end position.
Reed – now in his third season with the Redskins – has no problem making the acrobatic catches. He's also been a valuable security blanket for all of the team's quarterbacks.
Now he must show he can be a dependable receiver for a full slate of games.
"We're counting on Jordan quite a bit," head coach Jay Gruden said Wednesday afternoon. "I think he's up for the challenge, I really do. I think his body is stronger, he's in great shape. Obviously Derek [Carrier] has got a lot on his plate also for only being here a couple weeks. It'll be a great challenge for that position."
The Redskins' tight end position experienced an uncharacteristically high amount of turnover this preseason, way before the games started counting.
Veterans Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen were placed on Injured Reserve with ankle and foot injuries, respectively, durng training camp.
The collective cast of youngsters in Je'Ron Hamm, Chase Dixon and Devin Mahina – all with the team through OTAs, training camp and the preseason – did not make the 53-man roster with only Hamm being retained to the team's practice squad.
Carrier, meanwhile, was acquired in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers, and Anthony McCoy was signed this week after spending five seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.
Reed will be the tone-setter moving forward, though.
"I feel like Jordan is up for a lot of reps," Gruden said. "We still have to protect him a little bit. He can't play the whole 70-80 plays of the game. We have to get Carrier going and if McCoy can go, get him going."
A countdown of the Top 10 images of Redskins tight end Jordan Reed during the 2014 season.
Despite his past history dealing with injuries, Reed's confidence remains high, knowing that once the games start, few defenders can keep up with his blend of size, speed and route running ability.
"I've been in the NFL for two years now, and I trust my ability on the field and I've just been working hard," he said. "Hopefully it pays off."
The Redskins' offense, now led by Kirk Cousins, will face a formidable foe in the Dolphins' front seven on Sunday.
Led by returning Pro Bowler Cameron Wake, newcomer Ndamukong Suh, a perennial Pro Bowler himself, and Earl Mitchel, the Redskins need to find a way to get them on their heels.
"They've got a good front and they've got some real good athletes over there, and we've just got to have confidence in our ability and our preparation and go out there and perform," Reed said.
Sunday could be the start of a fantastic season for Reed.
"You've seen it click over the last couple of weeks for J-Reed," Paul said recently. "He understands now with Logan and me out he really has to step up big, because the team has put more of a load on him from an all-around tight end perspective and I think he gets it. I expect a big year from J-Reed and I think he's gonna put up some amazing numbers."