The Ed Reed Deficiency: 'Skins In Need Of Safety Leadership
Upon hearing that S Ed Reed had been released by the Houston Texans, I had two thoughts: One was who in their right mind would release Ed Reed, and two was that the Washington Redskins need to sign him pronto.
Those who support the Redskins were probably salivating at the idea of having the nine-time Pro Bowler on their team. But, of course, the latter of my two thoughts did not occur. Redskins fans are probably used to being let down by now, so it doesn't come as a shock to them.
Picking up Reed would have been a huge acquisition for Washington. It may not have translated into a successful season this year, but it could have positively impacted the Redskins' future.
Reed is a vastly experienced and talented safety. He would have had an impact on this Redskins team on the field and in the locker room. Reed brings leadership that the Redskins seem to be missing right now. He could add some discipline to a very disorganized defense and get them to play as a unit — something they haven't done since last season.
With his experience as one of the league's premier safeties and ballhawks of the past decade, he could be a great mentor to the young safeties on the team. Currently, the 'Skins have two veteran starting safeties: Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty. However, their backups are very young. Backup FS Bacarri Rambo is a rookie, and backup SS Jose Gumbs is in his second year. If Reed was added to that backfield, he could provide some of the best coaching that the NFL could offer, and he's not even a coach. Being as successful as he has been, he could really teach the young safeties how to play the safety position and instill in them the subtle nuances of safety play that sets the greats apart from the rest.
If Reed could effectively develop Rambo and Gumbs (or any other young defensive back in Washington for that matter), the Redskins would be set at the safety positions. They wouldn't have to worry about trading for or drafting talent at safety, and they could improve the team elsewhere.
Reed also came from an extremely disciplined and successful defense in Baltimore. He was a leader on one of the NFL's greatest defenses. If he could lead that defense, one with the likes of LB Ray Lewis and NT Haloti Ngata on it, then he could surely lead the Bad News Redskins. Through his leadership, he would be able to bring together a defensive unit that has lost its identity and is ranked 28th in total defense after 11 weeks. Reed could tutor new leaders for the defense, who could take over after he and MLB London Fletcher would depart (hopefully through retirement).
Reed's impact on this team would have been tremendous. But, alas, it wasn't meant to be.
With Meriweather seemingly one illegal hit away from being served a long-term suspension and Reed Doughty being your average safety, the Redskins could use an additional safety. I suggest a veteran that could impact the team now, on the field and off.
Here are three free agent safeties that the Redskins could, and should, pursue (because they didn't get Ed Reed!).
I mentioned Rhodes in an earlier article on free agents the Redskins should acquire; looks like Washington didn't take my advice.
Rhodes is a 31-year-old free safety that has previously played for the New York Jets (2005-‘09) and Arizona Cardinals (2010-‘12). He stands at 6-3, 212 pounds, and was an All-Pro in 2006. In his eight-year career, he has recorded 608 tackles, 13 sacks, 23 interceptions and eight forced fumbles. Additionally, he has playoff experience from his time with the Jets and Cardinals.
Your ears probably perked up a little bit when you pronounced his name in your head. Ring any bells? Williams played for the 'Skins last season, and was named the starting safety after S Tanard Jackson had been suspended for the year.
Before joining the Redskins in 2012, he had played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers. Williams is 32-years-old and stands at 6-1. As of 2012, he has recorded 587 tackles, 41 pass deflections and 13 interceptions. Additionally, he was awarded the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2010 for his community service.
The last intriguing free agent safety is Jordan Babineaux. Babineaux is 31 and has spent time playing for the Seattle Seahawks (2004-‘10) and Tennessee Titans (2011-‘12).
Babineaux would bring nine years of NFL experience to the Redskins' backfield. That experience would include seven years on the defensive stalwart Seahawks, and one of those years would include a trip to the Super Bowl (2005). During his time in the NFL, Babineaux has accumulated 600 tackles, four sacks, 12 interceptions and eight forced fumbles.