Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jayden Reed continues to find ways to help his team win football games. With one game left in the regular season, the Packers have their playoff destiny in their own hands. One reason for this has been the strong and gutsy play of Reed.

Packers WR Jayden Reed Was Needed Badly in Minnesota

Reed entered the Packers Week 17 game in Minnesota nursing chest and toe injuries that caused him to miss the team’s win over Carolina, the first game he’s missed all season.

With Christian Watson and Dontayvion Wicks unavailable due to injuries of their own, it became even more important for Reed to be ready to play against the Vikings.

He came through for the team, catching six passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns. The two scoring plays were both impressive. The first was a perfectly executed post pattern from 33-yards out for a score. Reed used his speed to beat the coverage and find open space in the end zone.

Then, late in the first half, Reed came through again, catching a 25-yard scoring play from Jordan Love. The pass itself went only three yards downfield. Reed broke a tackle shortly after catching the ball and then ran towards the left sideline. He carried defensive back Josh Metellus on his back for the final eight yards to score the touchdown that gave the Pack a commanding 23-3 lead at the half.

“I seen a guy outside,” Reed said. “He didn’t seem like he wanted to come up and tackle. A guy inside. I just lowered my pads. Anytime the ball is in my hands I’m thinking of scoring.”

All Reed’s catches came in the first half. He missed most of the second half after aggravating his chest injury. Reed apparently wanted to return but was not allowed to go back into the game.

The Coaching Staff Appreciates What Jayden Reed Does for the Packers Offense

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur appreciates what Reed has accomplished this season. “He’s battling all season, just fighting through,” LaFleur said after the win in Minnesota. “He’s had a lot of pain, let’s just put it that way. For him to be out there and put on a performance like that was huge, coming away with two touchdowns and just seeing how this guy, how gritty he is. I mean, he’s as tough as they come.”

Reed’s versatility has also been a factor for LaFleur. In addition to catching passes, the former Michigan State star has run the ball on jet sweeps, reverses, and end arounds, 11 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns. “He’s just a heck of a competitor,” LaFleur added. “He’s helped us not only in the pass game obviously, but just getting the ball in his hands on reverses, arounds, whatever it may be, screens. I love how he competes, both in the run game and pass game. He’s made plays when given opportunities.”

Jayden Reed Set a New Packers Franchise Record

Despite missing one game, Reed now has 60 catches for 681 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. That is the most catches any rookie receiver has had in Packers history. The old record was held by Sterling Sharpe who caught 55 passes for 791 yards and one touchdown back in 1988.

Sharpe went on to have an outstanding career, earning Pro Bowl berths five times and being named All Pro three times in his seven-year pro career. Unfortunately, Sharpe was forced to retire at 29 due to neck injuries.

Jayden Reed Has Been Working Hard to Get Better

Reed made a quick impression in training camp. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds which makes him one of the speedier players on the team.

Reed’s work ethic has also been strong. He’s been working hard to learn the playbook and to develop chemistry with Love.

“I just come in here every week,” Reed explained, “I come in here to work. Every week, I talk to him [Love] on things I can do better. I’ll ask him questions on certain things. Just building that relationship on and off the field helps out a lot. Definitely just come in with a work mentality every week.”

Love has been impressed by what he’s seen from Reed. “I think he’s gotten a lot more comfortable with the system,” Love said when asked about Reed. “With the routes he’s running, where to be, the coverages he’s getting for these routes, and I think he’s just playing really fast—he’s not thinking. He knows what he’s doing, he knows where he needs to get to, and obviously he’s a really fast, dynamic player, and I think he’s able to play really fast right now. Obviously, he’s making plays on the back end, catching the ball really well, and making some plays after the catch.”

Reed is quick to credit both Love and LaFleur for their contributions to his success. “He trusts me,” Reed said of Love. “It all starts with that. His trust in me helped me make plays. So, I appreciate that from him. Coach is making great play calls, and it just happens just like that. Most of these things in the offense it ends with trust. When everyone can trust everybody, you’ll get good results. That’s what I’ve learned.”

More to Come for Packers WR Jayden Reed

The Packers will need to beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday to have a good chance at making the playoffs. If they win, they’re in.

The status of Wicks and Watson is still uncertain. Reed has been a big play maker for the Packers all season but especially in their absence. They will need a big performance from Reed again Sunday if he’s able to play.

Thus far, Reed has made a big impact for the Packers as a rookie. If he can stay healthy, his speed and work ethic should help him take his game to the next level in 2024 and beyond.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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