Chris Reed making up for lost time with the Carolina Panthers

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Chris Reed
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Chris Reed /

Chris Reed looks intent on making up for some lost time after a standout display for the Carolina Panthers in his season debut.

It was something of a surprise to see Chris Reed in the starting lineup for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The offensive lineman came off the COVID-19/reserve list prior to their game at the Los Angeles Chargers and it was clear that the player had a real point to prove.

Reed was kept around after a solid if not spectacular performance during training camp. This was an area that did come with some depth concerns from the Carolina Panthers’ perspective and he is keen to make the most out of a surprising opportunity.

His performance at SoFi Stadium was outstanding when one considers this was his first taste of competitive action for quite some time. Reed was an assured presence on the interior who looked a real upgrade over Michael Schofield, who started the first two games and looked shaky at best.

Chris Reed helped bring the Carolina Panthers together

This forced Matt Rhule’s hand and throw Reed in at the deep end with Dennis Daley missing another game through injury. The former sixth-round pick is scheduled to come back in the near future, but given how long the player has been out it might be a good idea to blend him back into the lineup gradually rather than put too much on his shoulders from the outset.

The performance of Reed on his Panthers’ 2020 debut could allow them to do this if he continues this encouraging play going forward. His contribution to their first victory of the season resulted in a respectable 62.9 grade from Pro Football Focus and there could be even more to come from the former Minnesota State standout once he gets fully up to speed.

It has been a difficult few weeks for Reed, who revealed that he was forced to self isolate from his pregnant wife before receiving the all-clear to get back to some semblance of normality.

This is something the lineman shared with other roster members during a crucial player meeting that was instigated by free-agent signing Rasul Douglas. The cornerback was concerned with the team’s lack of closeness after he was picked up off the waiver wire following his release by the Philadelphia Eagles and it had a hugely positive impact if their togetherness in Week 3 was any indication.

His strong character allowed him to not only see out this turbulent period from a personal standpoint. But Reed’s resolve allowed him to hit the ground running once he was given the green light to rejoin his teammates.

If Reed can maintain this in the coming weeks, it is going to make it very difficult for the coaching staff to demote him to a rotational role. The undrafted player is in the final year of his current deal and will make a base salary of $1.37 million in 2020. However, should he catch the eye further as the campaign progresses, then a longer-term commitment might not be out of the realms of possibility.

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There is a log way to go, and it is just one game. But Reed is clearly come into the Panthers with a view to making up for some lost time and this was a breath of fresh air on their interior protection last weekend.