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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Kendall Reyes Building Off Strong Finish
When talking about Kendall Reyes, everyone wants to talk about that one game in late December. If you’re a Chargers fan, you probably know which one we’re talking about.
Either that or your name is Greg McElroy.
Reyes made major waves Week 16 vs. the New York Jets when he was completely unblockable, ruining the Jets quarterback’s first NFL start by registering 3.5 sacks with countless other pressures. The 3.5 sacks were the most by a Bolts rookie in 26 years.
Understandably, Reyes looks back on that day fondly. But it wasn’t just that one single game that he thinks about. Instead, it is the way he finished his rookie year as a whole that is giving the defensive end confidence as he enters his second season.
“I would say that game puts in my mind that I can do it,” he said. “That I can be a big time player in this league. It’s somewhere in me. I just have to learn to bring it out every single day, and that’s what I’m working toward.”
Reyes’ strong finish actually started Week 11 in Denver, when he recorded the first two sacks of his career against Peyton Manning. As his confidence rose he earned more playing time, and when it was all said and done, Reyes ended up leading the defensive line with 19 quarterback pressures and 15 QB hits. The UConn product finished third on the team with 5.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss while totaling 34 tackles. As a result, ESPN.com gave him All-Rookie honors.
However, if you think Reyes is satisfied with where he’s at, think again.
“I definitely like where the team’s at, but me personally, I think I have a lot to work on,” he said. “I think that’s obvious, but I’m having a lot of fun with it this year, so that’s really good. I’m happy with where I am but I know I can get a lot better.”
Reyes is a piece of a talented front line for the Chargers that has garnered a ton of attention. On the opposite end is another highly-touted youngster in Corey Liuget, while in the middle is Cam Thomas who continues to improve with each season. As a result, the Chargers defensive line figures to be one of the strengths for the defense. They also appear to be one of the hardest working units as well.
“We try to push each other every single day,” said Reyes. “We’re not satisfied with where we’re at. We’re trying to get better every single day. We’re always hungry, and that’s the main thing I like about this group. A lot of what we do is motivate each other to get better. (Defensive line) Coach Don Johnson does a good job teaching us technique, so we drive each other to stay exact in our technique. Us pushing each other every single day is going to make us better.”
To watch Reyes as well as the rest of the defensive line, be sure to visit open training camp dates at Chargers Park as well as FanFest this Saturday. Click here for more details.