Reed’s Return Makes Secondary Elite

July 23, 2012 | Jeffrey Gilley

The Baltimore Ravens need Ed Reed.  Reed is widely considered the best ball-hawk the NFL has seen in sometime and his numbers reinforce that fact.

But, Reed has been contemplating retirement for a few years now mainly due to a neck injury.

In a recent interview, Reed said he missed mini-camps because he wanted to spend more time with his family.  This might be a reason why Ed Reed has been considering retirement recently.  The NFL commands a vast majority of each player’s time and all of them miss significant family events and holidays.

Now that Reed is committed to playing football, the Ravens secondary is going to be one of the team’s biggest strengths.

Lardarius Webb had a breakout performance last season and is the team’s best cornerback since Chris McAlister.  Webb should be one of the best cornerbacks in the league for years to come.

Lardarius Webb isn’t the only cornerback on the roster that teams should be scared of.  Jimmy Smith has the ability to be one of the best corners in the NFL and Carry Williams could start for a lot of teams.  The corners are special and Ed Reed makes them even better.

Ed Reed no longer has the pressure of making up for mistakes the cornerbacks make because there won’t be as many this season.  Reed will be able to play more freely and make plays.

The secondary will struggle at times because of the loss of Terrell Suggs.  Without Suggs, the secondary will be forced to cover for a longer amount of time.  While this sounds like a bad position to be in, the Ravens can counteract this with Jimmy Smith and Carry Williams.  Smith and Williams specialize in press coverage and can disrupt the timing of passing routes.  Thus, the Ravens young outside linebackers and defensive linemen more time to get to the quarterback.

If the Ravens put Smith and Williams on the outside, they can disrupt routes of two wide receivers on each play.  Webb is then free to play off coverage where he is more effective because of his ability to recognize routes and jump them to make a play.

Bernard Pollard is another player to keep an eye on this season.  Pollard is known for his hitting ability but is also dependable in coverage.  If Pollard had better hands, he could have had about three or four more interceptions last season.  I think Pollard is one of the better safeties in the league but is never in that conversation because of his years in Houston where he had little to no help on defense.

The only question mark for the Ravens secondary is the fourth cornerback spot.  Players like Asa Jackson, Chykie Brown, and Corey Graham to compete for the fourth cornerback spot.  Graham has the early edge because of his experience but Brown impressed a lot of coaches in training camp last year.