ED REED EXPECTS TO PLAY THROUGH 2015
It is tough to watch how quickly things have fallen apart for former Ravens safety Ed Reed. Less than a year ago he was considered one of the best players at his position, and went on to win his first Super Bowl, where he intercepted San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Soon after free agency began, Reed signed a 3 year deal with the Houston Texans worth approximately 15 million.
Since then, it has been rough for Reed. He had a surprising surgery in May, and the effects of the surgery caused him to miss all of training camp and the first two games of 2013. Reed returned in Week 3, but was cut in November after getting benched and questioning the Texans coaches and play-calling. He then signed with the Jets and has been underwhelming in his short time with New York.
This made it all the more surprising when Reed proclaimed this week that he feels he has two more seasons left in him after 2013, saying “I don’t think there’s much of a difference, outside of having a second hip surgery and maybe not moving as fast.”
Unfortunately for Reed it probably won’t be his decision. Pro Football Focus grades Reed as the 71st ranked safety in the league, and has only knocked down one pass in 10 games this year without notching an interception.
This is even more surprising for a player who was “50-50” on retiring back after the 2009 season almost four years ago because “As a player getting older, you don’t know how much you can last.” THAT Ed Reed was 31 and was still in his prime.
It’s a pretty safe bet he will sign his one-day contract and retire in Baltimore before the end of the 2015 season, despite what he says now.
ALL HE DOES IS WIN
Earlier in 2013, quarterback Joe Flacco earned the nickname “January Joe” after playing a remarkable postseason and eventually winning the Super Bowl last February. Soon later, he signed a six year contract with the Ravens worth $120.6 million, with over $50 million guaranteed.
Since then, things have gone downhill for Flacco, as he has already thrown a career-high 14 interceptions in the 2013 season, (his previous career high was 12) and accumulating a passer rating of 78.5, also the worst in his six year career.
However, Flacco is still in a position to set the NFL record for most wins by a 6-year quarterback if he can win one more game this year. He currently is tied with Ben Roethlisberger at 60 wins from Roethlisberger’s first six years. (2004-2009)
Flacco has drawn a lot of criticism, and deservedly so because he has failed to play to the level of his contract. He did not play his best football early in the season, but he has played better over the last two wins, and nobody doubts he can lead the Ravens to the postseason, especially during a weak season for the AFC.
DUMERVIL IS DOUBTFUL
The leading sack-artist for the Ravens did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and was not present for the media portion of Friday after injuring his ankle last Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dumervil did return to action in that game after suffering the injury leading many to believe that his absence from practice was precautionary. However Dumervil is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday against the Vikings and will be missed if he doesn’t go.
Over the last four games, he has notched four sacks to reach 9.5 on the season, a ½ sack ahead of fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs. Durability has never been a concern with Dumervil, as he has played in 43 consecutive games including the playoffs, and has only missed two games total since 2007.
The rest of the Ravens are getting healthy however, as previously injured DE Chris Canty has been able to practice at times throughout the week, as have WR Brandon Stokley and CBs Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith. Only S Brynden Trawick has not been practicing and is officially out for Sunday.
RAVENS INSIST THERE WILL BE NO LETDOWN
Whenever a team is coming off an emotional win against a bitter division rival, it can be tough to not move on from it and prepare the following week, especially when the next opponent has the second-fewest wins in the NFL. It would seem to be even harder for the Ravens to move on than usual from the Steelers game, because of all the questions they were asked throughout the week about Mike Tomlin stepping on the field and his eventual fine.
However, the Ravens are not concerned about a letdown, especially in front of their home crowd. Harbaugh has never lost a game to a team with a losing record when the Ravens were at home, tallying a 16-0 record in those games since 2008. A less flattering statistic however, is that the Ravens are only 2-3 under Harbaugh in games following a victory against the Steelers.
Harbaugh told the media, “We understand where we are, we understand what’s at stake, we understand what’s at stake for us, so there is no way in the world that those thoughts would ever, ever be anywhere near us.”
Linebacker Jameel McClain added, “We beat the Steelers; that’s that. That’s in the past and we’ve got to move on.”
For a team only holding the sixth and final playoff spot due to tiebreakers, the Ravens cannot afford to lose. Any loss over the next four weeks would likely take away their ability to control their own destiny.
With difficult games upcoming against Detroit, New England, and Cincinnati still remaining, the margin for error this week is non-existent. Expect the Ravens to understand that and take care of business against Minnesota.