Baltimore Ravens All-Pro safety Ed Reed has come under a lot of heat and criticism following a lackluster performance in the team’s regular-season finale at Cincinnati.
Two plays stood out in particular for the eight-time Pro Bowler.
In the first half of Sunday’s game, Reed whiffed on an attempted tackle of Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham. Reed had a chance to wrap up Gresham, but failed to do so and that let Gresham run right through him for a few extra yards.
The other play came in the fourth quarter, when Reed took a poor angle on Cincinnati running back Bernard Scott, which led to a 25-yard touchdown run for the Bengals running back. On the play, Scott lowered his shoulder for impact, and Reed appeared like he wanted no part of the running back as he tried to bring him down with a weak arm tackle.
The play raised questions about whether Reed’s missed tackle was due to injury during Head Coach John Harbaugh’s Monday press conference.
“Better question for Ed,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in Ed Reed and I’m sure everybody else does,” via BaltimoreRavens.com.
Following the game, Reed told reporters the impingement in his neck isn’t as much of a problem as his shoulder. Either way, it didn’t play a factor in the missed tackle on Scott.
“On that particular play, when I hit the guy and bounced off, it was just a bad angle,” Reed said. “I can’t do that. I understand that. I’m just as hard a critic as anybody. Just got to have better angles.”
Reed, 33, finished the season with 52 tackles, his most since the 2006 season. Also, the 10-year veteran finished the season with three interceptions, a sack and a forced fumble.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said last week that while Reed’s numbers are down, he is still an important piece to the Ravens defense because he continues to take away the deep middle of the field from opponents.
“They are staying away from him and taking shots down the sidelines, Pagano said.”