Reed or no Reed, secondary is major concern

Reed or no Reed, secondary is major concern
September 20, 2013, 9:00 am
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Flacco, Suggs, Smith reflect on Ed Reed


As the Ravens prepare to face the Texans this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, much of the focus has been on the return of Ed Reed.

Reed, though, has yet to play a snap for the Texans as he recovers from offseason hip surgery. And on Thursday, Reed, as he can often be, was absolutely, positively, unequivocally vague about whether he will play on Sunday.

Whether Reed plays or not, the Ravens will face a formidable Texans secondary, one that is helped tremendously by the pressure J.J. Watt and others apply up front.

" Across the board, they are a very good secondary," Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said at his weekly news conference on Thursday. "When you couple that with an unbelievable pass rush, with (Watt) and the rest of that crew coming after you … they don’t have to cover a very long time because of that pass rush.”

Through two games, the Texans rank No. 3 in pass defense, allowing 156 yards in the air.

Caldwell noted that cornerback Johnathan Joseph usually matches up with the opponent's top receiver, so Torrey Smith can expect to see plenty of him. And quarterback Joe Flacco knows Joseph all too well; no one has more interceptions against Flacco than Joseph, who picked off Flacco for the fourth time last season, returning it for a touchdown.

Fourth-year corner Kareem Jackson will play on the other side and is likely to match up against Marlon Brown.

At safety, veteran Danieal Manning "has made a lot of plays in this league," Caldwell said.

" He’s a very, very good tackler, but then he also defends the pass the very, very well," he added. "Tipped balls don’t usually hit the ground when he’s in the neighborhood."

Then there's free safety. Shiloh Keo has started the first two games, his first career starts, and made eight tackles.

But all eyes will be watching the secondary on Sunday to see if No. 20 is lurking around back there.

" He’s a good player, and we’re going to plan on him being out there," Flacco said. "We’ve just got play our game and make sure we don’t give him the opportunity to take advantage of a lot of things.”

That goes for the rest of the Texans secondary as well.