Seahawks CB D.J. Reed striving for he and teammates to be ‘legendary’
The Seahawks’ defense is full of star and big names with perennial All-Pros in linebacker Bobby Wagner and safety Jamal Adams and Pro Bowlers like defensive end Carlos Dunlap, safety Quandre Diggs and linebacker K.J. Wright, but one player who has really stood out this season is cornerback D.J. Reed.
Reed is in his third NFL season and his first with the Seahawks. He was drafted in the fifth round in 2018 by the San Francisco 49ers where he played safety and cornerback, and after suffering a pectoral injury, he was waived as the 49ers didn’t think he’d play this year.
The Seahawks quickly claimed Reed, stashed him on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and he made his 2020 debut against San Francisco, picking off a pass on the 49ers’ first drive. That was as a nickel cornerback, and now Reed is starting opposite 2019 Pro Bowler Shaquill Griffin and has played a huge part in Seattle’s defensive turnaround.
“Honestly, it’s been fun,” Reed told Jake Heaps, Stacy Rost and Dave Wyman on 710 ESPN Seattle’s The Huddle Wednesday. “It’s been a journey, but we’re gelling together, especially at the right time because the playoffs are this Saturday.”
Reed’s been able to step up in a big way for the Seahawks in 10 games this season, totaling 62 tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and seven pass deflections. Reed said coming to Seattle from San Francisco was “smooth” as 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who coached with the Seahawks under Pete Carroll from 2011 to 2013.
“Obviously there are little tweaks that are different, but the first game when I played the ‘9ers, I was playing nickel and for the most part, everything was similar,” he said. “… It was pretty smooth and playing (outside) cornerback is pretty smooth as well … so the transition is really good.”
Something that was clear in Reed’s interview was his appreciation for his teammates, pointing out how critical Dunlap and Adams have been to the defense’s recent success. Reed said his goal coming to the Seahawks was to “do my job and just be a great teammate.”
“I feel like all of us bring that swag and I feel like bring that confidence,” he said.
Reed said that communication has been the biggest part of the defense’s turnaround from one of the NFL’s worst to one of the league’s best over the last eight weeks.
“When we communicate, I feel like nobody can beat us, nobody can play with us, so we’ve just got to keep communicating and keep having fun,” he said.
Since Carroll took over in 2010, it’s been clear he loves players who may not fit the typical NFL mold and who have chips on their shoulders. Reed, who is undersized at 5-foot-9 and 188 pounds, fits that bill, and Carroll said a few weeks ago that Reed reminded him of former Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, who was undersized and entered the league as an undrafted free agent before becoming Seattle’s No. 1 receiver.
Reed said he has a “big chip” on his shoulder and he plays like that, too. He also wants his teammates to play the game that way and prepare in that manner as well.
“Obviously we have to do our job, but I tell the guys, I challenge them too to do your job with purpose,” he said. “… If you do your job with purpose, with intent, being detailed, knowing what’s coming before it’s coming, running to the ball, visualizing yourself making those plays, getting interceptions, that’s legendary. I just want to be legendary and I want my teammates to be legendary.”
Listen to the full interview, which includes Reed’s thoughts on returning punts and kicks as well as Rams backup quarterback John Wolford, at this link or in the player below.