Note: This interview was conducted in the middle of December, but with the Poinsettia Bowl, the holidays, and the 2012 season review I have been unable to complete the write up until now. Therefore, questions about Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid and BYU assistant coach Lance Reynolds, his father, were answered in the context of their status one month ago.
Amdist the Philadelphia Eagles worst season in 14 years, former Brigham Young Cougars offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds got his first playing experience in the NFL. Near the end of the season, BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL had the privilege of asking Reynolds a few questions about his experience this season.
Reynolds left BYU after the 2008 season. The next three seasons he was a practice squad player for the Philadelphia Eagles. This year, he finally made the active, 53-man Eagles roster. For Reynolds, it was a great personal achievement. Two games into the season, he found himself thrust into the starting lineup. When that happened, Reynolds had mixed emotions.
"Personally," Reynolds said, "you are excited for the opportunity to play. I kept waiting for the opportunity to play."
Reynolds was not excited, however, by the way the starting spot opened up. Jason Kelce, the Eagles' starting center, suffered a season ending knee injury in a 24-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Reynolds came in and started the final 14 games.
During his 14 starts, Reynolds and the Eagles faced another dilemma. They were losing, a lot. After a 2-0 start, the Eagles only won two more games the rest of the year.
"Losing has been hard and frustrating," Reynolds explained. "Andy Reid has done a good job to keep us on task and focused on winning."
Once the season concluded, Reid, another former BYU offensive lineman, was not retained by the Eagles. At the time of the interview when asked about Reid's future, Reynolds said, "I hope he stays here. He is one of the greatest coaches in the league. ... I hope and pray that he is here, and I continue to play under him."
Now that Reynolds has NFL experience in practice and in games, he thinks the biggest difference between college and the NFL for offensive linemen is the quality of every offensive lineman.
"The people you go against every day [is the biggest difference]," Reynolds pointed out. "The speed and quickness of the guys at this level. You come in and realize that everyone is here for a reason. Everything you do has to be your all or you won't make it."
One person who didn't make it, at least not yet, is Reynolds younger brother Matt. Matt finished his playing career at BYU in 2011, and was expected to be drafted. He wasn't drafted, but did sign a free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers. Matt did not make the Panthers' 53-man roster for 2012.
The experience of Matt Reynolds is just one of many former BYU offensive linemen who have had high hopes for a NFL career, but fell short. Dallas' reaction to the recent shortcomings of BYU linemen is that it is very hard to prepare for the jump to the NFL.
Reynolds recalled, "It is an adjustment no matter where you are. When I was getting ready people would tell me this and that, but until you experienced it is hard to be ready for it."
Reynolds' father Lance has been an assistant coach at BYU for ages. There were some questions, at the time of the interview, about his future with the school. Dallas had no knowledge of what his father's plans were (he has since retired from coaching), but he did have this to say about the value he had as a coach.
"He can bring poise and confidence and knowledge to the players."
With the change in leadership in the Philadelphia Eagles' organization, Reynolds' future is a little unknown. BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL will provide an update should his status with the team change.
In the meantime, congratulations Dallas on making the active roster and seeing so much playing time in 2012.
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