At first glance, the Atlanta Falcons’ decision to retain the services of Garrett Reynolds raises its own questions.
At second glance, the questions aren’t readily answered.
Though Reynolds was originally drafted as a tackle in 2009, he was a starting right guard by 2011. His initial performance as a right guard was marginal; he was replaced by Joe Hawley during the 2011 season. Reynolds, however, didn’t let the loss of position drag him down; it spurred him to act, not react.
With that decision to make the loss work for him, Reynolds finally seemed to be coming into his own during the 2012 season. The combination of his own hard work in practice and the grueling (yet valuable) lessons learned on the field were paying off, for himself and the Falcons. A back injury disrupted his notable efforts, but those six games he started in showed a new resolve and an effective—if not yet polished—capability to get the job done.
However, it is quite telling that Reynolds was re-signed only for a two-year deal. Two years should surely be enough time to appraise whether his rationed-but-impressive 2012 performance was a fluke or an indication of greatness to come. Back injuries are not an easy thing to return from at 100 percent; also, back injuries tend to make reappearances at the most inopportune times. At the age of 25, the resilience of youth is on Reynolds’ side; so far, he’s bounced back quite well.
Garrett Reynolds’ best years are yet to come. The Falcons have chosen to invest in that best and move forward. Whether that ‘forward’ is limited to two years is now squarely on his shoulders.