JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser spent time with Jaguars guard Chris Reed this week and asked three questions as he prepared for what could be his first NFL start Sunday against Baltimore
The topic:The debut
The background:Reed, who joined the Jaguars an undrafted free agent shortly after the 2015 NFL Draft, could make his first NFL start Sunday. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad and has been inactive in the first two 2016 regular-season games. With center Brandon Linder and offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum not practicing Thursday, Reed could start at left guard if the Jaguars move Luke Joeckel from guard to left tackle Sunday.
The quote: "This is what you do. This is what you play for – not just a spot on the team, but a spot to play. If I get the opportunity, it'd be pretty awesome. I kind of had that feeling making the 53 … that first (regular-season) game, I wasn't dressed, but I had that sense that I made it. I didn't 'make it,' but I was here. I did something not a lot of people can do. It's a great feeling and to take it a step further possibly is pretty cool."
The topic:The most overwhelming rookie moment
The background: Reed played collegiately at Minnesota State-Mankato, a Division II program. His early days in the NFL were not unexpectedly an adjustment.
The quote:"The toughest moment probably came in the first minicamp. I don't know how to explain it. People are faster. They're stronger. They read better. They have better football knowledge all around and are more detailed. It was going against guys from Division I colleges, and I hadn't done that before. It was a kick in the butt, I guess. I'd never gone through that.
The topic:Where he stands now
The background: Reed spent the first two weeks of the 2015 NFL season on the practice Jaguars' squad and didn't play in Weeks 1 or 2. That means the first snaps of Sunday's game against Baltimore could be his first non-preseason snaps since the end of his 2014 season at Mankato State. How much more ready is he to start in the NFL than he would have been 52 weeks ago?
The quote:"I'm a much better player. I've learned a ton. Going through camp really helped me and being on the practice squad has really elevated my knowledge of the offense. I'm still learning a lot. There is still a lot of stuff I have to do right, but as far as being prepared for Sunday, it has been like that the last six weeks – ever since Preseason Game 1 I want to be as prepared as any starter would be. That's my job as a backup."