By Kimberly Jones
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Before he spoke to the media for the first time as a New York Jet, Ed Reed had a bit of important business to take care of. Already wearing a Jets T-shirt, he needed a Jets hat.
Seriously, he waited for a hat. White with “Jets” in green, if you’re curious.
Then a smiling Reed offered this: “It feels good. It feels right and it is right. I’m comfortable. I’m happy to be here, great situation for me.”
Certainly it is a comfortable situation, Reed is reunited with Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman from their days together in Baltimore, and Reed in a defense in which he fits like a glove.
That’s why Ryan, when asked about Reed’s instincts and ball-hawking talents, said the safety won’t have to leave the confines of the defense to make plays. And that’s big. At this stage in his career – though Ryan said he believes Reed is moving well and is in great shape – a freelancing Reed isn’t what the Jets need.
And it’s not what they’re getting.
“He’ll be ready to roll,” Ryan said, succinctly, when asked how Reed is picking up the defense.
Reed is an important addition to the Jets for many reasons, his on-field ability – assuming he’s still able to play at a representative level – being the biggest. But he also said the Jets’ playoff potential factored in; imagine anyone saying that three months ago. And he picked the Jets even though the Patriots – and Reed’s longtime admirer, Bill Belichick – showed interest.
“He chose us,” Ryan said. “He chose to be a New York Jet.”
Reed brings a wealth of knowledge to the Jets, not to mention a Hall of Fame resume. Young players watch his every move. His former Ravens teammate, Dawan Landry, has helped him get lined up properly in practice. He can still anticipate, still read quarterbacks.
And, as Muhammad Wilkerson said, “Quarterbacks are going to have to think twice about throwing the deep pass.”
That theory will be tested immediately. In Week 3, Wilkerson said the Bills, with EJ Manuel at quarterback, threw downfield 12 times.
How will the Manuel and the Bills attack the Jets defense Sunday? Surely Manuel will keep an eye, to say the least, on Reed.
Reed, by the way, was asked the most central question, given his offseason hip surgery, spotty playing time in Houston and release by the Texans. Does he have something left?
“I don’t think I’d be here if they didn’t think that,” Reed said. “I know what I know, I know what I feel and I know what I’ve put into my offseason workouts. I’m ready to go. You’ll see. You be the judge of that, too.”
Come 1 p.m. Sunday, we will be.
14/7: A friend asked if the Giant defense really has improved or if the recent numbers are a product of playing some of the least effective offenses in the league.
The answer is yes, absolutely, Big Blue’s defense is better — for many reasons and one bottom-line statistic: The group has given up seven points the last 14 quarters. And that was on a drive that started at the NYG 5-yard-line following a fumbled kickoff.
So the Vikings, Eagles with a hobbled Michael Vick and Matt Barkley, and Raiders don’t light up the scoreboard, you say? Well, that’s true. But look at it this way: Jacksonville, averaging 12.8 points per game, scored 29 last week in finally getting a win. This is, to some extent, an equal-opportunity league when it comes to scoring. The Giants’ last three opponents have totaled 34 points. That’s winning football.
Geno’s world: The bye week probably came at the perfect time for Geno Smith, who said his best part of the time away was the “Florida sunshine” as he spent time with his family.
For Smith, the proverbial “rookie wall” could be a concern both on a physical and mental level. The physical is obvious. But the mental, really, is the key.
As a starting quarterback in the metropolitan area, Smith handles more on a daily basis than any other rookie in the league. One personnel guy told us recently, “Geno will always be fine, based solely on his physical talents.” The takeaway: Smith can play, no doubt. But it’s going to be his advancement in the mental part of the game that, if Smith excels, could elevate him to the level of franchise quarterback.
Sunday will be another good test. It’s a road game and, coming off the bye, the Jets are looking to do something they’ve not done all season – win two games in a row. In talking to Smith on Friday, he addressed the Buffalo defense, saying it’s the same scheme, obviously, as it was in Week 3, but it’s a better defense with the additions of safety Jairus Byrd and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Both will play Sunday after not taking the field against the Jets the first time around. Byrd has four sacks, three pass defenses and one interception in five games.
Quote of the Day: “Eli is one of the smartest guys I’ve been around, especially when it comes to this game. As far as being ‘gun shy,’ Eli’s what, 10 years in the league, two-time Super Bowl MVP. There isn’t anything shy about that, in my eyes, anyway. I think we’re just going to start taking advantage of some things, we’ve got to start coming down with some (catches) to give him that confidence back, and just start being a threat at all costs on the field.” – Giants WR Hakeem Nicks
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