PHILADELPHIA -- Reed Blankenship is in a significantly different position than he was at this time last year. Just another undrafted free agent signing, Blankenship was just looking to make the Philadelphia Eagles roster -- hoping to get noticed by the coaching staff.
Thanks to uncertainty at the safety position throughout training camp, Blankenship got his chance. He played his way onto the Eagles' 53-man roster and ended up playing a significant role in the team's run to Super Bowl LVII.
"Make sure you're ready at all costs, no matter what position you're in," Blankenship said Thursday on his experiences from last season. "Somebody could go down and your number could be called. You gotta be ready to go.
"I treated every week as if I was starting. That goes back to the guys we have in our room, asking questions and just learning from them."
An injury to C.J. Gardner-Johnson thrust Blankenship into a starting role, and the rookie shined immediately. Blankenshipand ended up starting four games for the Eagles, recording 34 tackles, two passes defensed, and an interception in the 10 games he played. Opposing quarterbacks had just a 58.3 passer rating targeting Blankenship last season, and he only allowed one touchdown.
Even though Blankenship did enough to earn the Eagles' trust, there still was a lot to learn this offseason. A strong communicator, Blankenship wants to thrive in Sean Desai's defense, picking the brains of his two star cornerbacks (Darius Slay and James Bradberry) any time he can.
"Be more in anticipation (that) stuff was coming," Blankenship detailed on what he needs to improve on from last season "Last year, there was a lot of times where I was learning the plays and what position I'm in. But now, I'm being more attentive to what's going on.
"That's why I ask more in-depth questions to James (Bradberry), asking what's going on more on the outer edge, and now I know Terrell (Edmunds) being with me -- just learning from them."
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Blankenship's performance earned him a first-team safety spot this offseason with Edmunds, a free agent signing from the Pittsburgh Steelers. He'll compete with Edmunds, K'Von Wallace, free agent signing Justin Evans and 2023 third-round pick Sydney Brown for one of two starting safety spots.
If Desai decides to play three safeties in certain formations, Blankenship will certainly be in the mix for playing time there. Blankenship is not taking that first-team spot for granted, knowing the Eagles are constantly looking for ways to improve.
"Nothing has changed. I love the game and I'm gonna play it as long as my body allows me to," Blankenship said. "Rent is due every day, that's what (Eagles head coach Nick) Sirianni talks about. No matter what position you're in.
"I haven't felt like I've arrived yet. I'm still staying humble, staying healthy. That's gonna last throughout my career."