Reed was placed on the list at the start of training camp thanks to a sprained left big toe. He also had sprained his left ankle, compensating for the toe issue. But all along, Reed maintained optimism that he would return soon and was eyeing this week. On Aug. 13, Reed started wearing a wider cleat and using orthotics to better cushion his toe. After doing so, he said he did not feel the toe when making hard plant-and-cuts.
Reed and coach Jay Gruden both have been optimistic from the start of camp that he would be back in time for the Sept. 10 season opener vs. Philadelphia. The offense needs him. In two preseason games, the Redskins' starting offense has yet to gain a first down in four series against the opposition's No. 1 defense. It hasn't helped that Reed couldn't play and that receivers Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson played for the first time Saturday night in a 21-17 loss to Green Bay. Considering that the Redskins lost receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson in the offseason, they know Reed and Crowder in particular are key to their success.
Reed has been the top target in the Redskins' passing offense for most of the past three seasons. In the past two seasons, quarterback Kirk Cousins owns a 121.4 passer rating when targeting Reed. During that time, he has caught a combined 153 passes with 17 touchdowns. He has also missed a combined six games because of injuries in those seasons -- and 20 for his four-year career. The Redskins like using two-tight-end sets, knowing that with Reed and Vernon Davis, the defense must honor both the run and the pass.