Jets’ New ‘King of Strain’ Sounds off on Low Madden Rating

D.J. Reed Jr.

Getty New York Jets cornerback D.J. Reed Jr. is ticked off about his Madden rating.

With professional athletes, you always wonder if they ever play the same video games that we fans and observers do — or if they ignore them altogether.

It’s generally a mixed bag, some do and some don’t. For New York Jets projected 2022 starter D.J. Reed Jr., the popular NFL video game franchise, “Madden,” could turn into his latest motivational tool.

“Dayum Madden,” Reed tweeted on June 1 after a leak revealed his 78 overall grade, “I was ranked top 10 in most [cornerback] categories [in 2021]. I should as least be in the 80’s dayum.”

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Nothing New for Reed


"I'm Just Soaking Up All The Knowledge" | DJ Reed Media Availability | The New York Jets | NFLCB DJ Reed speaks to the media on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 during OTAs. Subscribe to the New York Jets YT Channel: bit.ly/2KRtBJd For more Jets NFL Action: bit.ly/2rkCbal #NewYorkJets #Jets #NFL For more Jets action: newyorkjets.com/2022-06-01T23:57:42Z

Of course, this Madden rating shouldn’t come as a huge shock to the former San Francisco draft pick who broke out in Seattle. Jets head coach Robert Saleh himself admitted that he made a mistake with the 49ers when he assumed Reed could only play the slot.

Like many coaches and analysts, Saleh underestimated Reed due to his 5-foot-9 frame and all the intangibles that he lacked. He discounted the cornerback’s heart and tenacity, and that was his major error.

Saleh was fortunate enough to get a second chance at Reed and he didn’t let it slip, encouraging general manager Joe Douglas to pay the defensive back $18 million in guaranteed money on the open market. The Seahawks offered him significantly less to re-sign, and the corner later told reporters that he felt disrespected by their proposal.

Now, Reed couldn’t be happier in New York. “I’m excited,” he voiced on June 1. “I think [this secondary] is special. I think we have the guys to do more than just get the job done, but I think we can dominate.”

“As far as the cornerback group,” Reed continued, “I feel like this is the best group I’ve been a part of.” Safety addition Jordan Whitehead agreed, claiming that this could be the best secondary he’s been a part of “in five years.”

As for signing in New York, Reed noted that “it wasn’t just about the money.” He wanted to see a plan for the future and Saleh was able to give him one. Now it’s full steam ahead.

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Jets Coaches Won’t Overlook Reed Again


DC Jeff Ulbrich Press Conference | The New York Jets | NFLDefensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich speaks to the media on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 during OTAs. Subscribe to the New York Jets YT Channel: bit.ly/2KRtBJd For more Jets NFL Action: bit.ly/2rkCbal #NewYorkJets #Jets #NFL For more Jets action: newyorkjets.com/2022-06-01T19:32:12Z

Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich both spoke glowingly of Reed on June 1, as the veteran of the cornerback room settles into his starting role on the outside.

“There’s not a stone he leaves unturned,” Ulbrich told the media. “A lot of people throw that term around — ‘he’s a dawg, he’s a dawg’ — he is a dawg. He epitomizes it in every way. Obviously not the stature of a guy you think — okay, that’s what it looks like — it doesn’t matter. He overcomes all of that.”

The Jets DC continued: “[Reed has] overcome a lot to be where he’s at today and he will only get better [at age 25]. I don’t think this league has seen what he can become.”

Saleh had a similar opinion: “D.J. is one of the hardest-playing — we’ve got this thing in the building [called] ‘King of Strain.’ Are you straining in the way you work, are you straining on the football field? You could almost hear him grunting on tape and the volume’s on mute.”

The Jets HC also described the cornerback as “locked-in” and “laser-focused” in the meeting room, as well as an unbelievable teammate and person around the building.

Those comments concurred with an interesting note from Ulbrich. After explaining that it’s not uncommon for Reed’s position to take on an “island” mentality that isn’t the most “inclusive,” the coordinator countered that the ex-Seahawk has the opposite personality.

“He’s not that way at all,” Ulbrich concluded. “He’s a guy that’s constantly challenging the group, constantly bringing guys along. Brings energy, brings passion — he will make everyone better, not just the corners, he’s going to make our entire defense [and] our entire team better in that way.”

Any player that brings all of that to the table deserves at least an 80 in Madden.

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