Thursday, November 06, 2008

Just say no to Ed Reed

Given his neck and shoulder nerve impingement that has really put a cramp on his playing style and effectiveness in 2008, I was somewhat shocked to see Ed Reed on the field set to return a punt against the Browns this past Sunday.

I get that Reed is a playmaker and has shown in the past that he can break a game open with his ability to navigate through the ensuing chaos of punt coverage teams. But from my vantage point it looked to me like Yamon Figurs was getting a little rhythm going and he needs to do that. He needs to recapture the mojo he found in the back half of the 2007 season and bring it back to life in ‘08. That makes the Ravens a better football team.

Reed, particularly with the plethora of secondary injuries the Ravens have, has to stay on the sidelines during punt returns. Not John Harbaugh, not Rex Ryan nor Jerry Rosburg can cave in to the requests, begging and pleas of Reed to get in the game to return a punt. It’s just not worth it and to do so shows weakness from the coaching staff and serves as a reminder of the later stages of the Billick era when the inmates ran the asylum – you know, in a figurative sense.

That said, inserting Reed in key return situations could weaken the resolve and confidence of Figurs. The Ravens can’t afford the reincarnation of Lamont Brightful. A Ravens’ team with an injured Reed and a shaky Figurs is far less productive than one with Reed in the secondary (despite his conservative play) and a more confident Figurs.

Harbs, next time just say no to Reed!


jj said...

I have always been a fan of motivation by benching. Sit down son and watch. That is how I think it should be when a guy makes a mental mistake in the return game or the QB making a dumb throw.

Figurs running backward 6 yards on a 2nd half punt return was enough motivation for Reed to step up and the coaches to let him go in.

Playing FS is more dangerous than returning punts. Reed can not call fair catch when Jamal is bearing down on him and he is the only one between him and the endzone. Reed looks like he is back to playing with confidence in contact. He blasted a couple guys in the Oakland game and seems much more willing to drop his shoulder on tackles now.