When Jarran Reed walked into his first team meeting since August this week, his Seahawks teammates gave him a hero’s welcome.
“He got a standing ovation when he came into the room,” defensive coordinator Ken Norton. Jr. said.
“Amazing. Getting a guy like that back, knowing the impact he has on the game, the impact he has on other players, is very strong...
“It’s a really a big boost.”
But before we get to what Reed will mean and do for a pass rush that absolutely needs him, what did Seattle’s defensive tackle learn from his NFL suspension?
What did Reed learn from the six games he was away from the team, after the league investigated an alleged domestic-violence incident with a 21-year-old woman in his Bellevue home?
“Stay focused, you know. Don’t put yourself in any situations for anything to be done,” Reed said before practicing Wednesday for the first time since late August.
He said this summer when the league handed down its suspension: “I totally disagree with the decision of the NFL.”
“Just learn, and grow,” he said Wednesday.
“Life is a learning experience.”
This incident in his home with a woman in 2017 was a $394,153 lesson. That’s what he lost in six weekly game checks from his $1,116,768 base salary for this season.
He has motivation to start fast, beginning Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens (4-2) at CenturyLink Field. This is the final season of his rookie contract. He could become a free agent in March, and he’s lost six chances to market himself to the Seahawks (5-1), plus a potential future one.
Reed’s motivation fueled what he called intense workouts the last six weeks with Seattle-area personal trainer. He said that has him fully ready to play Sunday.
Coach Pete Carroll said the team had, as of Wednesday at noon, only Reed’s word to go on about his football shape. The Seahawks had yet to seen him practice fully, let along play this season.
“I’m fully game ready. Of course,” Reed said. “I worked my a...tail off. So, trust me, I’m ready.”
The Seahawks need him to be.
The acquisitions of Ziggy Ansah in the spring and fellow Pro Bowl rush end Jadeveon Clowney Sept. 1 have not helped. Not yet. Clowney and Ansah have one sack each so far.
Seattle’s pass rush is 26th in the league in sacks, with 10. Four of those 10 came in one game, the blowout of the last-place Arizona Cardinals last month. Seattle has just 15 quarterback hits through six games. This time last year, with since-traded Frank Clark and Reed leading them, the Seahawks had 16 sacks and 36 hit on quarterbacks.
The last two games, the Rams and Browns have dropped back to pass 86 times. The Seahawks have no sacks and no QB hits in those 86 chances.
The Seahawks haven’t had a sack in three of their six games.
Reed had 10 1/2 sacks last season. That alone should help the Seahawks’ pressure on quarterbacks. Should.
But how soon?
“I have already cautioned him about trying too hard,” Carroll said. “Just coming back, he wants to do everything. He wants to make up for lost time, and all that.
“I just want him to play good technique, good, physical football, and not set his sights something outside of himself. He’s a really good ball player, really instinctive and all that. He’ll be rusty. I just don’t want him to over-try, and try to do too much. That’s what we’ve talked about since the first time I saw him.”
Reed got that message.
“Don’t do too much,” he said, when asked what his goal is this week against the Ravens.
It’s not as easy as just plug and play for Reed in the defensive line.
Clowney was a Houston Texan until he trade to Seattle Sept. 1. He has explained for a month he’s still learning his pass-rushing partners inside him, which for most of this season has been Quinton Jefferson. Jefferson, also an end, has most often played inside Clowney on the defensive line in passing situations. And he’s been Seattle’s most consistent rusher.
Clowney explained because he is still getting to know Jefferson’s moves, his and the unit’s pass rush is not as effective as it will be in November and December. Clowney described he and Jefferson accidentally rushing into the same gap two games against, against the Rams. That unnecessary traffic degrades your ability to get through blockers to the quarterback.
Now he’s got to learn Reed, in the middle of the season.
“Now it’s about getting back to work,” Norton said. “He’s a really, really impactful, physical football player.
“It is really great to have him back.”