Green Day: (Ed) Reed it and weep

December, 3, 2013
12/03/13
7:00
AM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- I'm on record as saying Ed Reed was a good signing for the New York Jets. I was wrong. More importantly, so were the Jets.

The future Hall of Famer has made zero impact in three games. Truth be told, Reed could be hurting the defense. He was directly involved in the longest pass play in each of the last two games, misplaying the ball on Joe Flacco's 66-yard touchdown bomb in Baltimore and missing a tackle on Brian Hartline's 31-yard catch and run Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Coach Rex Ryan sounded so convincing the day he introduced Reed, challenging opponents to throw it deep on the Jets' beleaguered secondary. With Reed at safety, they've allowed six touchdown passes, all longer than 26 yards. It's not like they've faced a Murderer's Row of quarterbacks; they got torched by the Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill and the Buffalo Bills' EJ Manuel.

Ryan, loyal to a fault, believes Reed can do no wrong, quickly dismissing the notion of cutting the safety's playing time.

"He's going to be starting unless he's injured," said Ryan, who coached Reed during their years together in Baltimore. "I think Ed gives us the best shot."

Reed, 35, looked old and slow on the Hartline play. Then again, he is old and slow.

"If you look at it from a statistical standpoint, I can understand the question," Ryan said. "We all saw him miss the tackle on Hartline's touchdown. But Ed did his job, I don't think there's any doubt."

Does that mean Tannehill would've thrown for 400 yards instead of 331 if it weren't for Reed patrolling the deep middle?

I didn't think Reed would be an every-down player when they signed him, but he has played 87 percent of the defensive snaps in three games, reducing safety Antonio Allen to an afterthought. Ryan said he wanted to play Allen more than nine snaps against the Dolphins, but he claimed they had to alter their game plan. What Ryan should do is create a platoon system with Reed and Allen, but that will never happen.

Reed is an all-time great, but he's like Willie Mays on the 1973 New York Mets. You appreciate and respect what they've done, but it's sad when we see what they can no longer do.

ICYMI: Despite a horrendous slump, Geno Smith remains the Jets' starting quarterback. His passer rating for the last three games is 40.7 -- that's combined, not an average. Peyton Manning over the same span -- 282.7 ... Matt Simms supports the quarterback decision: "Geno is the man." Simms is just happy to have a job. ... KR Josh Cribbs suffered an apparent season-ending injury to his shoulder/pectoral area. This is a tough blow for the Jets. Cribbs sparked the kickoff-return unit, returned punts and played in the Wildcat package. Antonio Cromartie did a nice job on kickoffs Sunday, averaging 31.5 yards, but he's their top cornerback and the risk is too great to play him on special teams. They might have to sign a kickoff returner.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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