The Philadelphia Eagles have job wanted signs posted at two starting spots in the secondary this summer. One has been tentatively reserved for second-year safety Reed Blankenship, assuming he can win the job outright at camp. Listening to him talk, he’s ready.
Blankenship was forced to learn on the fly during last season as an undrafted rookie free agent. He saw action in 10 games, including four starts, after C.J. Gardner-Johnson got bit by the injury bug. One year later, the 6-foot-1, 203-pound missile has the inside track on the starting gig for the reigning NFC champions.
“Nothing’s really changed. I love the game,” Blankenship told reporters. “I want to play it as long as my body allows me to and the rent’s due every day, that’s what Sirianni talks about, no matter what position you’re in. I haven’t felt that I’ve arrived yet. I’m still staying humble, staying hungry, and that’s going to last throughout my career.”
If you closed your eyes, it sounded like Jalen Hurts speaking. Blankenship dripped with the right balance of humility and confidence while discussing the 2023 season. It seemed to come natural for him, something Eagles legend Brian Dawkins noticed in him from the jump. Remember, this is the same guy who picked off Aaron Rodgers in his first start.
“Make sure you’re ready at all costs, no matter position you’re in,” Blankenship said. “Somebody can go down and your number can be called and you gotta be ready to go. That’s how I treated every week [last season] as if I was starting, and that goes back to the guys we had in our room. And asking questions, and just learning from them.”
Eagles position coach D.K. McDonald ready for Blankenship to ‘Snatch This Position’
The Eagles promoted D.K. McDonald to defensive backs coach this season following the departure of Dennard Wilson. He enters his third season on Nick Sirianni’s staff, but it’s his first in charge of the secondary. No matter what scheme changes come down the chute, under the Eagles new defensive coordinator, Sean Desai, there will be a place for Blankenship. He’s one of the hardest workers on the squad, according to McDonald.
“One thing that hasn’t changed about Reed is just he’s always been a hard worker. He’s always been curious, and that hasn’t changed for him at all,” McDonald told reporters. “What has changed is, naturally, going out on the field, and having the success that he did, and taking some lumps that he did. And now he’s playing with a little more confidence now that we’re out there on the field, but that’s what you want from a guy who has played in NFL games, been out there at the Linc.
“You want a guy now to be a little more comfortable, working on his communication, taking charge more — like we talked about before, with the changes in the room, he realized this is his opportunity to go and snatch this position.”
In terms of what scheme changes are in store, well, no one’s ready to reveal those. When asked, Blankenship smiled and attempted to provide a blueprint. Spoiler alert: the Eagles’ defense plans to be rated R.
“He talks about being palpable, once people watch it on TV, they’ll feel it,” Blankenship said. “We want to be violent, and so that’s our top goal right now.”
Palpable means the jarring hits you see from your favorite spot on the couch should be felt in your living room, all the way into the kitchen as you grab another beer. Angry. Violent. Tangible. Just the way the 24-year-old scrapper from Alabama likes it.
“That’s how you play football,” Blankenship said. “It’s a violent sport and you run and hit. That’s what I’ve been doing since I was little.”
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