Russell Baxter: ‘Ed Reed Gives Texans’ Defense A Playoff Edge’
HOUSTON (CBS Houston) The Texans defense, with its Bulls On Parade moniker and the 2012 Associate Press Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, is still trending upwards according to NFL writer and ProFootballGuru.com founder Russell Baxter. Baxter, who joined SportsRadio 610’s The Fred & Ted show Wednesday, said the Texans defense had one major area that needed improvement.
““Even with the improved defense over the last two years, they’ve never been a big takeaway team where they’ve gotten a ton of turnovers.”
The Texans, who addressed that need with the signing of Ed Reed, needs takeaways to gain the edge against playoff teams.
“Here’ what you see in the playoffs, opportunistic defense: the Saints of 2009 with their 8 takeaways in 3 playoff games,” Baxter said.
While quarterback Joe Flacco threw for 11 touchdowns, zero interceptions, and was named Super Bowl XLVII’s MVP with a total quarterback rating of 95.1, Baxter says that the Ravens defense was underrated and Ed Reed did something no other player has done in the Super Bowl.
“Everybody forgets the Ravens had ten takeaways in the four playoff games and more significantly, eight of the ten came at the expense of the four starting quarterbacks they played against: Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Colin Kaepernick,” said Baxter. “Ed Reed made history. He was the first player ever to intercept a 49ers quarterback in the Super Bowl.”
Reed led the Ravens defense with four interceptions, one of which was for a touchdown, during the 2012 regular season. Reed’s lone interception in the postseason came in the Super Bowl. His takeaway against Kaepernick was the ninth of his career in the postseason, which tied the postseason interception record, shared by Ronnie Lott, Charlie Waters, and Bill Simpson. During the regular season, Reed has a career 61 interceptions, ranking him tenth of all-time in the NFL.
The Texans defense came away with fifteen interceptions for three touchdowns during the 2012 regular season but just two in the postseason. The Texans signed Reed to a 3-year, $15-million contract in March in the hopes that he could for them, what he has done for the Ravens. Despite having arthroscopic surgery on his hip for a torn labrum, expectations remain high.
Baxter attributed Reed’s keen ability to get to the ball a combination of athleticism and “great football instincts.”
“He’s one of the great ball hawks of all time.”