As cut-down day was approaching, Dallas Reynolds‘ goal was simple: to not get a phone call.
Every year since 2009, as the team was shaping their roster, he was left on the cutting-room floor. For three seasons he was relegated to the practice squad. His practice squad eligibility now up, it was make the 53 or bust. Fast forward a couple weeks, and the 28-year-old is not just on the team, but starting at center in front of Michael Vick for the 2-0 Eagles.
“I’ve been looking to this moment for a long time,” said Reynolds. “A few years on the practice squad and now to be active and have a chance to play and start, I’m excited for the opportunity.”
It should not be understated how important of a role the BYU product is now filling. Jason Kelce — who has been diagnosed with a torn MCL and partial tear of the ACL — was not just valuable because of his skills as a blocker, but also because of the pre-snap responsibilities he shouldered. To ease some of the burden off Vick, Kelce was helping with the pass protection calls at the line of scrimmage. Now, that falls to the unproven Reynolds.
“He did everything that Jason was doing with the calls,” said Andy Reid. “He’s a smart kid and he’s able to handle all that. He had a big, physically and literally, right? He had a big men over him and held his own there, and played good, solid football.”
The intimidation factor of lining up against the Ravens’ stout front or identifying Ray Lewis as the MIKE was lost on Reynolds because he had no time to weigh such things. When Kelce went down, he took a couple warm-up snaps with Vick, who told him, “Let’s go, let’s keep rolling. Let’s pick up where we left off.” In the next instant, he was getting his first snaps in the NFL.
“It wasn’t as tough as I thought it was going to be,” said Reynolds. “You didn’t really have much time to think about anything. Just go in and start snapping. It was kind of nice in that way that I didn’t have time to think about anything.”
There is plenty of time to think now. And with a chance that Kelce doesn’t return this season, Reynolds will get plenty of work at a most critical position.
“He did well,” said Kelce. “It didn’t look like he got pushed back very much [against the Ravens]. It seemed like he was making the right calls. Dallas is a good player, he was good for us in training camp, and he’ll get a good opportunity here — barring how serious the injury is for me — to prove himself.”