Thursday, November 14, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Ed Reed makes sense
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Jets' decision to sign future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed:
1. Worth the risk: Many in the league believe Reed, 35, coming off an unproductive, nine-game stint with the Houston Texans, is washed up. But if the Jets use him properly, as a complementary player in certain packages, this could work out nicely. The Jets' pass defense is ranked 24th, and their current group of safeties has only two interceptions. Reed is one of the greatest ball hawks in NFL history. He has lost some speed, and he's not an aggressive tackler (to put it kindly), but he has rare instincts. If he makes one big play to change a game, it could mean the difference between making the playoffs or sitting at home.
2. Malcontent? Reed turned off a lot of people last week by criticizing the Texans' coaching staff, saying the team was "outplayed and outcoached" in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Could this be another Derrick Mason situation? Two years ago, Rex Ryan lobbied hard for the former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver, and he was a bad influence in the locker room; the Jets dumped him at midseason. Clearly, Ryan is sticking his neck out by acquiring Reed, but I don't think he'll be a malcontent. Reed and Ryan go way back -- seven years together in Baltimore -- and Reed respects Ryan too much to cause problems.
3. Familiarity: On the surface, it makes little sense to acquire a 35-year-old safety with seven games remaining in the season. But these are extenuating circumstances. Reed knows the system. He knows Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, two former Ravens assistants. He also knows safety Dawan Landry, a former Ravens teammate. In other words, there won't be a difficult transition for Reed, who practiced Thursday and could be available to play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Oh, by the way, the Jets play the Ravens next week. You know they'll get Reed's best in that game.
4. The power of Rex: When John Idzik replaced Mike Tannenbaum as the Jets' general manager, it was assumed Ryan would lose all his power with regard to personnel decisions. Not so. Ryan wanted Reed from the moment he became available Tuesday, and he discussed it immediately with Idzik. To his credit, Idzik showed an open mind, deferring to his head coach.
5. Just win now, baby: This is by far the splashiest veteran acquisition of Idzik's brief tenure, and it shows that the Jets -- a surprising 5-4 -- believe they can do some damage this season. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Well, guess what? A rebuilding team doesn't sign an aging safety in mid-November unless it thinks it can make a serious playoff run.