To the non-Bills fan, just skimming through box score, you might look at No. 1 wide receiver Lee Evans' numbers, or Trent Edwards' big day or possibly even how running back Marshawn Lynch did for your fantasy team, but as a fan of the team, one guy sticks out like a sore thumb and that man is Josh Reed.
Reed was out three straight games after he was injured back in Week 8 against the Miami Dolphins. During his time out, young quarterback Trent Edwards struggled and the offense looked off key. Not only that, but in Reed’s three game absence, Lee Evans caught only six passes for 63 yards combined (and that includes a game against the Browns were Evans had zero receptions).
The Bills during that same three game stretch went 0-3.
Now Reed isn’t a flashy wide receiver, he is far from it. What Reed does excel at though is getting open on third downs. I have never seen a wide receiver on the Bills that just finds a soft spot in a zone and sits there.
Edwards knows with Reed in the lineup, he can look deep down the field to Evans, and still pick up the first down because Reed is somewhere on the field wide open.
Now it is hard to tell that if Reed would’ve played, the Bills would have won those games. All I know is that against the Dolphins, the game he went out, the Bills really could’ve used a guy that could get them down the field. Same goes with the game against the Jets and Patriots when Edwards looked as if he couldn’t find anyone down the field.
And with the Browns dropping eight back every play, who do you think would have made the difference finding spots in zones? Certainly not tight end Robert Royal who is the man Trent turned to in his time of need.
The only thing you can say about Reed is the Bills play differently when he is in the lineup. For starters, Trent Edwards looks a lot sharper and when you have to focus on Reed running precise patterns, it takes a little bit of coverage away from Evans. With Reed in the lineup, Evans averages 4.5 receptions and 93.4 yards a game.
Reed was also off to the best start of his career this season and still has put up some respectable numbers for the number two wide out on the team (31 receptions, 338 yards, 1 TD).
One last thing to think about, in games Reed has played from start to finish, Buffalo has gone 6-1.
He is definitely a guy you want in the lineup when your team’s next games are all must wins on their steep road to the playoffs.
Good thing they have a guy like Reed on their trip, to find the holes in traffic.