Ed Reynolds resurfaces after big game
PHILADELPHIA - There's off-the-radar and then there's grounded. For Eagles second-year safety Ed Reynolds, he would have preferred either of those options versus where he stood with the team's coaching staff entering Sunday's preseason opener against Indianapolis.
Reynolds might as well have been a ghost, an apparition of a once fifth-round pick who was buried deep on the team's depth chart at perhaps its weakest position.
Two interceptions in the 36-10 rout of the Colts have resurrected Reynolds a bit because Philadelphia desperately needs competent options behind starters Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond.
“I wanted to just prove to the Eagles today that they didn’t waste a draft pick on me in the fifth round last year,” Reynolds said. “I’m ready to play.”
And defensive coordinator Bill Davis took notice.
“We’re looking to see guys separating each other from the pack,” the defensive chief claimed. “Ed took a big step today just doing his job. He was where he was supposed to be and the ball came to him and he made his play. I’m happy for him. It was fun to see him have some success out there.”
To the surprise of no one Earl Wolff wasn’t able to dress Sunday, meaning special teams stalwarts Chris Maragos and Chris Prosinski were the top two options behind Jenkins and Thurmond. That’s a level of depth that’s just not acceptable in this league, making the position the one spot to focus on at the final cutdown for a potential waiver wire pickup.
Unless Reynolds continues to show up like it did against the Colts with the two picks and three pass breakups.
"It felt amazing," Reynolds said. "It made me feel like I was back in college (at Stanford) again. That was my thing in college -- to go out there and be a ball-hawk and give our offense more opportunities. It felt good. It was just playing our scheme, having good eyes on the quarterback, breaking and believing in what I saw.”
Reynolds often believed what he saw with the Cardinal and was a top-tier playmaker at the collegiate level, finishing his career in Palo Alto with six interceptions and 301 return yards, one shy of the NCAA's single-season record for interception-return yards.
On Sunday Reynolds' heroics weren't against the Colts' big dogs like ex-Stanford teammate Andrew Luck, TY Hilton and Frank Gore but his nose for the football shouldn't be dismissed.
During his rookie campaign, Reynolds spent his time on Philadelphia's practice squad after failing to make the final 53-man roster. He was hurt by Stanford's use of the quarter system instead of a traditional semester system, something that limited Reynolds' offseason work, a hurdle he was never able to clear.
“I just felt like I didn’t feel comfortable last year for the early part of it,” said Reynolds, “Now being here for the whole year, being on practice squad was actually a lot of help for me. I played corner. I played nickel. I did a little bit of everything. I was on special teams. I was doing it all. I was in the best shape of my life. I felt good, and I carried that into the offseason and tried to show these coaches that I’m ready.”
Sunday was a small step in the right direction but Reynolds understands that Davis is looking for more than just the occasional positive day.
"I just need to be consistent," Reynolds surmised. "It can't just be his one week. I need to show up this week, then show up the week after that, and hopefully carry it over into the regular season and then into the playoffs."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen