Reasons for optimism about Reed Blankenship's third season with the Eagles

Don't forget about this Reed Blankenship fella!
Reed Blankenship, Philadelphia Eagles
Reed Blankenship, Philadelphia Eagles / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

This isn't an exaggeration, and even if you thought it might be, we have kept the receipts. Since the day the Philadelphia Eagles acquired him as an undrafted free agent, we have always believed in Reed Blankenship.

Often, when offseasons begin, we ask ourselves what Philly's plan is to retool and satisfy their needs at the safety position. That was true this year, and Howie Roseman added C.J. Gardner-Johnson. That was also true in 2022.

You remember the vibes. Rodney McLeod was gone. K'Von Wallace hadn't shown us much. We didn't know how confident we should be with Marcus Epps being one of the starters, so we thought Reed had a chance at making the roster, but when he delivered that bone-jarring tackle in Philly's final preseason game, we were all but certain he would make the initial 53-man roster.

We were right.

Fast forward to the present, and Reed, though not perfect, is proving himself with every opportunity. Wouldn't you know it? Time has flown, and he is entering his third season after signing a one-year contract extension on April 1st.

We expect him to soar. Here are some of the reasons why.

He has the best defensive coordinator he has ever had in his Eagles tenure.

Today's sports fan (the haters among the bunch) often find ways to criticize coaches and players for having talent around them. How many times have you heard that Jalen Hurts can only win if he's surrounded by superior talent or Nick Siianni only looks like a good coach because they have good players on his roster?

Why are we acting as if they're supposed to apologize for that?

Vic Fangio has some A-plus talent on his side of the ball this season, but Fangio has also earned his reputation for being a great coach. We've seen tremendous flashes from Reed while having Jonathan Gannon, Sean Desai, and Matt Patricia call the defensive plays. He'll take another step under Vic Fangio. There's no question.

There is already familiarity with the scheme he will be playing in Philly's secondary.

Most of you have already connected these dots, but we mentioned Jonathan Gannon. The scheme he ran as the Eagles' defensive coordinator was derived from Fangio's approach. Now, Reed and his teammates will be led by the architect. It may seem minor, but that little nugget will lead to a few more big plays here and there at some point.

Expect some of those big plays to come from the safety position. The familiarity will help Reed and everyone else continue their maturation.

Football IQ: The game is slowing down, and he doesn't have to do everything.

Blankenship is a student of the game, one who possessed a high football IQ upon arrival. Now, he's part of a secondary that has quality veteran leadership like we have seen from Darius Slay. Reed is soaking everything up that he can. That's a credit to his maturity.

His first NFL interception came off the arm of Aaron Rodgers during a play he diagnosed perfectly while filling in for an injured C.J. Gardner-Johnson. That was two years ago. Last season, he earned a ton of Pro Bowl votes. Expect more personal success as the Eagles become more cohesive and begin stacking wins consistently.

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