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Heading into Ed Reed’s first game back with the Ravens – Week 7 against the Buffalo Bills – the Ravens’ pass defense ranked No. 3 in the NFL.
In three games with Reed, Baltimore’s pass defense has fallen to 14th in the league.
But don’t read too much into those stats says Head Coach John Harbaugh. You may also want to get your dictionary.
“It’s a spurious correlation,” Harbaugh said when asked for an explanation by a reporter.
“It means that’s not the connection. That’s not the reason. If we’re not playing as good of pass defense – which I’m not sure that’s true – but if that’s the case, then it’s not because of Ed Reed or that he’s back there or that we’ve got to find some formula with Ed. It’s specific things to specific plays.”
The Ravens have gained more turnovers as a result of having Reed back. Baltimore’s secondary had two interceptions before Reed returned. In the past three games it has five, with Reed notching three himself.
“Ed has played well,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t think there’s any play you can point to and say, ‘Well, Ed’s not playing well.’ He’s had three interceptions. He’s a factor pretty much in every play. So, if there’s anything specific in the passing game that we haven’t done a good job with, it doesn’t really relate to Ed.”
Harbaugh did say that the way the defense operates is different with the six-time Pro Bowler. Safety Tom Zbikowski started with Reed out, but isn’t the same player with the same playmaking skills.
“You build around your players, I think,” Harbaugh said. “You build around the guys you have. It probably builds differently around Ed Reed than it builds around another safety.”