Ravens' Reed gives eye-opening critique of Flacco

642628.jpg

Ravens' Reed gives eye-opening critique of Flacco

Bill Belichick has always admired Ed Reed's on-field handiwork at the safety position. This week, he may be able to step back and look at all the good Reed did for Belichick's Patriots by dropping a bombshell on the Ravens offense. Speaking on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday, Reed criticized quarterback Joe Flacco's performance, the play-calling of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and the work of the Baltimore offensive line.

"I think Joe was kind of rattled a little bit by that defense, said Reed according to Mike Floriofrom ProFootballTalk.com. They had a lot of guys in the box on him. And, I mean, they were getting to him. I think a couple times he needed to get rid of the ball. I dont know how much of the play calling, he could have made audibles or anything like that, checks or whatnot, man, but it just didnt look like he had a hold on the offense, you know, of times past. You know, it was just kind of like they was telling him to do, throw the ball or get it here, you know, get it to certain guys. And he cant play like that."Disregard the fact that Reed was absolutely spot-on in his criticism. Flacco was a mess on Sunday against Houston, regardless of what his final numbers said. The panic on his face while the Houston pass rush closed on him looked more like a spinster stuck in a mosh pit than an NFL quarterback. That Reed would say that days before the AFC Championship and add fuel to the criticism of Cameron and Flacco was shortsighted. And stupid. But Reed got specific. You know, one particular play that sticks out to me is when Ray Rice came out of the backfield, he got pushed down and Flacco still threw him the ball and you got one-on-one with Torrey Smith on the outside," said Reed via PFT. "But its hearsay for me. I can say that sitting on the sidelines, you know, or sitting in the stands. You just never know what somebody else is seeing.Moving on to the guys in front of Flacco, Reed said, "The offensive line gotta block better. You know, they gotta communicate better, gotta pick up blocks, Joes gotta get the ball out of his hand. We gotta do a good job of using our weapons. I think Ricky Williams should have had the ball a little bit more yesterday. You know, I mean, Ray Rice was running it, too, but you gotta be able to mix those guys in back and forth."Its a lot of things that we all need to correct going into New England because they do such a great job of making adjustments, you know, in-game adjustments. Its not just coming up with a scheme and playing the game. You gotta be able to make adjustments while the game is in the flow," Reed concluded. Now the Ravens have something else to adjust to. The Hall of Fame safety finger-pointing at the already downtrodden offense six days before the AFC title game.

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Don’t count the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the Paul George sweepstakes just yet.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes, the Cavaliers are still working on a way to get George with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Ohio.

The latest rumor involves a three way deal being discussed between the Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets. According to Hayes, the deal would send George and Kenenth Faried to Cleveland and Kevin Love to Denver.

Presumably, Indiana would end up with good picks and a few young assets.

Click here for the complete story.

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

David Harris is expected to be a savvy middle linebacker who will line up his teammates when they help. He's expected to provide some level of leadership, even in his first year in New England, as an accomplished-but-hungry 33-year-old who has not yet reached a Super Bowl. 

What Harris is not expected to do is improve the Patriots pass rush. He was in on one sack in 900 snaps last season.  

But in a roundabout way he might. 

MORE: How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

There are dominos to fall now that Harris has been added to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. How much will Harris play, and whose playing time will he cut into? Those questions don't yet have answers, but one of the more intriguing elements of the Harris acquisition is how he will benefit Dont'a Hightower's game.

If Harris can pick up the Patriots defense quickly -- and all indications are that there should be few issues there -- he could take some of the all-important communication responsibilities off of Hightower's shoulders. 

Ever since taking the reins from Jerod Mayo as the team's signal-caller, Hightower has had to be on top of all requisite pre-snap checks and last-second alignment changes. It's a critical role, and one that Hightower performs well, but those duties place some added stress on the player wearing the green dot. Perhaps if part of that load can be heaped onto Harris' plate, that might allow Hightower to feel as though he's been freed up to focus on his individual assignments.

Harris' presence might also impact where on the field Hightower is used. Hightower may be the most versatile piece on a Patriots defense loaded with them, but with Harris in the middle, Hightower could end up playing more on the edge, where he's proven he can make a major impact (see: Super Bowl LI).

For Belichick and his staff, having the ability to use one of their best pass-rushers -- and one of the most efficient rushers league-wide, per Pro Football Focus -- on the edge more frequently has to be an enticing byproduct of the move to sign Harris. Especially since there are some question marks among the team's end-of-the-line defenders behind Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich. 

We'll have to wait for training camp before we have an idea of how exactly Harris fits in with the Patriots defense. But the effect he'll have on his new teammates, and Hightower in particular, will be fascinating to track.