Head coach Rex Ryan and inside linebacker Demario Davis said free agent safety Ed Reed helped fuel last year’s New York Jets.
Shortly after inking a three-year deal worth $15 million to become a Texan, the 35-year-old Reedblindsided Houston and underwent minor hip surgery in March 2013 to repair a small labral tear.
The Texans ultimately released Reed eight months later following seven unproductive games as an employee in “Space City.”
On November 14, Reed became a Jet for essentially the veteran minimum.
Although slowing, graying and gimpy, Reed bolstered Gang Green’s defense and improved the squad’s overall psyche.
An eight-time All-Pro selection that was voted a member of the 2000s NFL All-Decade Team, Reed finished with 22 tackles, 4 passes defended, and 3 interceptions in seven contests as a Jet.
“It was big when we had Ed Reed here,” said Davis, who New York selected 77th overall in 2012. “He showed us how to really watch film. The big thing he told us was, you know, you learn something, you see something, just trust what you see.”
Ryan, who worked with Reed as a Baltimore Raven from 2002 through 2008, agreed with Davis’ assessment.
“A defense is built on communication,” said Ryan, 51, who has gone 42-38 with Gang Green since being hired in January 2009. “You have to be able to communicate, you have to know what your teammate’s going to do and where he’s going to be, to be effective. I think that’s what Ed [did].”
Unfortunately for the future Hall of Famer, Reed has garnered virtually zero interest from NFL executives.
Somewhat ironically, despite drafting 12 players from May 8 through May 10, it remains evident that New York should again offer Reed a contract.
Wasting the efforts of a standout front seven, the Jets’ secondary was unsteady and yielded roughly 4,000 yards in the air last autumn.
To strengthen that weak unit, general manager John Idzik acquired badass Calvin Pryor and cornerback Dex McDougle.
Pryor is an utter menace and, provided his shoulder is healed, McDougle could mature into a solid cover man.
Regardless, for the price of a Vernon Gholston jersey, Reed and Ryan should again reunite in East Rutherford.
Reed can still produce on the gridiron and the legend would be an ideal mentor for Pryor, McDougle, Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson.
As the Seattle Seahawks proved in the winter, defense still wins championships and the importance of safeties can’t be understated.
No longer grounded by the league’s 29th ranked offense, the Jets could qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
To better their chances for takeoff this autumn, John Idzik should “communicate” with Rex Ryan and Demario Davis and then call Ed Reed tonight.