Overreaction #3: Joe Reed has his role back
In Week 5, it appeared that Joe Reed had lost his role on the team. Not only was Reed inactive, but Tyron Johnson ran gadget plays, including a reverse, that looked exactly like the plays that should be designed for Joe Reed.
Then, in Week 7, the Chargers suddenly made the choice to insert Reed back into the game plan. In the first half, it seemed that Reed had re-claimed his expected role.
Reed again had his role as a returner (where he did not do much due to a lack of opportunity), and he also got a role on offense. Reed took two reverses, which he turned into 14 yards and a touchdown.
Particularly on the touchdown run, Reed demonstrated that he can play in the gadget role that we all expected him to play in this offense. While Reed was not able to beat the Jaguars defense with his speed alone, he was able to use his unique power and elusiveness to get around some defenders and squeeze the ball into the end zone.
This is exactly the ability that makes Reed unique. Though many thought Reed was drafted to be the “speed guy,” Reed never had that speed. What makes him unique is his blend of speed, shiftiness, and power.
Two plays alone are not enough for Reed to officially re-claim his role. In fact, Tyron Johnson got his own pair of reverse plays. Reed will need to show his ability more consistently in order to validate the need to keep him on the active roster.
However, he likely showed enough to validate re-claiming a gadget role. Furthermore, this should free up Johnson to focus on his role as a deep burner and gunner on special teams, which is where Johnson should thrive.
In his post-game press conference, Coach Anthony Lynn said of Reed, ”We wanted to get him back going because he is so versatile.” It is clear that the Chargers want Reed in the game, and if he keeps producing, he will stay on the field.
Verdict #3: Not an overreaction