Reed Blankenship made a strong impression in his first ever NFL start

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles safety Reed Blankenship (46) warms up during pre-season game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Reed Blankenship was an undrafted free agent out of Middle Tennessee St. and turned heads throughout the preseason and training camp. After waiting in the wings for an opportunity, he was given a chance to shine when Chauncey Gardner-Johnson suffered an injury two weeks ago. Since then, he’s made quite an impact on fans and coaches alike.

The Eagles were dealt a cruel blow in the secondary

Philadelphia has had numerous key starters go down to injury throughout the season: Dallas Goedert, Avonte Maddox, Jordan Davis, and even Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. CGJ’s lacerated kidney injury put him out for a month but opened a potentially major problem for the Eagles going into the home stretch.

After Sunday’s 35-10 win over the Tennessee Titans, it appears CGJ’s replacement, Reed Blankenship is doing plenty to quell those concerns.

Reed Blankenship balls out

Blankenship recorded three tackles and a pass defended, helping the Eagles’ defense give up just 10 points and only 209 yards of total offense. This was also coming off a game where, in replacement for Gardner-Johnson, the safety picked off Aaron Rodgers to keep Philly in the lead in a 40-33 win just two weeks ago. For a first start, and first two games, Blankenship told Philly Sports Network that it couldn’t have gone better.

“I thought I played consistent, played solid but obviously there’s still stuff I got to correct myself on…I just want to play football, it’s just another game and you can’t go out there and put a lot of pressure on yourself”

Reed Blankenship helped set the tone early Sunday afternoon with a big hit on Westbrook-Ikhine to set up the second third down of the game for Tennessee. The Titans ended up going just 4-11 on third down. Still, the 23-year-old felt there was plenty of room for improvement.

“I can’t wait to watch the film to see what I need to improve on. It’s just a learning game every week, just growing.” Reed Blankenship also touted the relationship with fellow starter Marcus Epps as a reason for his success.

“He (Epps) has been a great role model for me and pretty much a big brother. I go out there confident when he’s out there too.”

The bigger picture for Reed Blankenship

Jonathan Gannon’s defense has been one of the best in football all season. The Eagles have used depth pieces like Josiah Scott and Blankenship to keep the group afloat to be top five in yards, sacks, passing, and opponents QBR.

It was against the run and All-Pro Derrick Henry that was the key to winning on Sunday though.

“Guys tend to get a little skittish, a little scared when facing Henry, but you just got to deliver your physicality to him. Let them know that we’re not a team to play with.” Blankenship told PSN.

The Eagles’ defense certainly wasn’t skittish on Sunday, and it helped bring the team to an 11-1 start to the season. As the franchise enters the stretch runs with dreams of a top seed in the NFC playoffs, their secondary will play a major role in that run against teams like Dallas, New York, and Chicago on the upcoming schedule.

As long as the Eagles continue to get good work from their undrafted safety, it appears that they’ll be quite alright. 

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire