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Reed Recovery From Toe Surgery; Should Be Ready For Training Camp
We first heard from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden at last week's NFL owners meetings that he didn't expect Jordan Reed to participate in the team's OTAs. Now we know the start tight end won't be on the field before training camp.

Gruden said Reed had a "procedure done on his toes ... hopefully we'll see a 100-percent healthy Jordan by training camp."

Reed played only six games last season as a fractured toe led to him compensating and then other issues with his leg and hip. And as ESPN's John Keim reminded readers, in five seasons, thanks to various injuries, Reed has played more than 12 games only once.

Keim went on to note the reason the Redskins continue to stick with Reed through all the injuries is rather simple. And it comes back to what Gruden said at the owners meetings.

"Jordan's a special guy," Gruden said. "Not many tight ends can do what he can as far as running option routes across the middle and breaking people down and lining up on the outside and beating people deep. He's a special talent."

Indeed, when he's on the field, he makes a big difference for everyone. And he'll be paired with a new quarterback in Alex Smith who likes throwing to the tight ends (just as Kirk Cousins did the past three seasons).

Per Keim (citing ESPN Stats and Information), no quarterback attempted more passes to the tight end than Smith did in 2017 (165). He also led the NFL with 1,285 yards passing to this position. Of that, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce accounted for 121 of those targets and 1,038 of those yards.

And in the past five years, only three quarterbacks attempted more passes to tight ends: Philip Rivers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Each of those passers threw at least 50 touchdown passes to tight ends during this time compared to 32 for Smith.

But it's a position Smith clearly likes targeting and he'll have a familiar one to throw to in addition to Reed -- Vernon Davis. They played together for seven seasons in San Francisco, connecting on 229 passes and 30 touchdowns. Smith had a 115.2 passer rating when targeting Davis.

Those numbers prompted Keim to suggest that while Reed will have a big role, it's Davis who might benefit from some of the downfield throws.

In the past three seasons combined, Reed was targeted 15 times on throws of 20 or more yards, with six receptions. In two years with Washington, Davis was targeted a combined 23 times on such throws with 10 catches.

Still, the passing game revolves around Reed when healthy. Smith would throw contested passes to Kelce, knowing he'd come down with the ball. Reed has a similar knack and should benefit from such passes as well.

But first and foremost, Reed needs to be healthy.

That being the case, Keim pointed out the Redskins don't need to rush Reed back before camp.

It makes sense to take a cautious approach in order to ensure there are no issues when camp begins in late July. Even though he hasn't played with Smith, Reed already knows the offense well and is an easy target for quarterbacks. And Gruden won't enter the season limiting how many games he thinks Reed ultimately plays.

The same is true of left tackle Trent Williams, who also won't participate in the spring workouts after having knee surgery.

"I'm going to expect them to play 16 games, 20 games if need be," Gruden said. "If they happen to get an injury we have to adjust and get guys ready."

Of course, fantasy owners are going to believe Reed can be on the field all 16 games when they see him on the field all 16 games.

In the meantime, however, we do benefit from the discount that comes from that injury history. And if we plan in advance for some down time (by drafting another viable tight end -- or perhaps even handcuffing with Davis assuming the premium for this insurance isn't too high), you could come out ahead.

As ESPN's Mike Clay pointed out, Reed handled a 21 percent target share (7.5 per game) and was fantasy's No. 6 tight end during the four games he ran a route on at least half of the team's pass plays last season. His share was 23 percent (8.6 per game) in 10 games in 2016 and 26 percent (9.0) in 14 games in 2015.

More importantly, Reed was fantasy's top scorer at the position during those weeks in both seasons.

We all know the upside is there. We just have to plan ahead to mitigate the risk to the degree possible (and affordable).