Do the Ravens need to worry about Reed?

November, 12, 2012
11/12/12
9:30
AM ET
The only major concern coming from the Ravens' 55-20 win over the Raiders was the play of Ed Reed.

The Pro Bowl safety's missed tackle led to Darrius Heyward-Bey's 55-yard touchdown. Another Raiders touchdown -- a 30-yard pass to Denarius Moore -- came when the receiver split Reed and cornerback Corey Graham.

Reed
Even though Reed grabbed his injured shoulder after failing to wrap up Heyward-Bey, what was more disturbing was Reed's comments after the game. Asked whether it was coach John Harbaugh's decision to pull him from the game before the fourth quarter, Reed said, "I was having a pretty bad game as an individual, and I really didn’t want to go back out there as a competitor playing the way I was playing today."

You have to admire Reed's blunt assessment of his play. But it's a strange statement coming from a future Hall of Fame player. Most competitors want to redeem themselves and will fight to stay in games. If you're a Ravens fan, you have to be worried about the fact that he was playing so poorly that he didn't want to go back into the game. As I've written before, Reed shouldn't play if the injury is going to make him a liability in the secondary.

The Ravens, though, desperately need Reed to step up and not bow out. This defense is already without its leader (Ray Lewis) and best cornerback (Lardarius Webb). Plus, one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL (Haloti Ngata) didn't play one snap Sunday because he isn't at full strength. There were questions about Reed's commitment to football when he skipped all of the spring workouts, including the mandatory minicamp.

The shoulder injury has affected Reed's ability to tackle for most of the season. But it shouldn't affect missed assignments. There were a handful of times when it seemed like cornerbacks were expecting deep help from Reed and he was trailing on the play. Reed addressed his play to fans on Twitter.

 

Just like last week, Reed will be limited in practice all week. But he should be available for Sunday night's game at Pittsburgh.

“I’m fine," Reed said about holding his shoulder after the missed tackle. "It was just a minor stinger, not very serious.”

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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