Ravens Reed Leads All Safeties In Interceptions Since 2008

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 11: Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens runs back an interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 35-7. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

SAFETIES KEY IN SLOWING DOWN PASSING ATTACK

Offenses are trending towards an NFL-record passing yards total in 2011. How can defenses combat the explosion of the passing game?  Effective play from the safety position.

 

"The job is absolutely harder," says New York Jets safety JIM LEONHARD on playing safety in the NFL. "Offenses have morphed from using two-back, power-running formations to where they're always spreading you out. You used to be able to have a safety who could play in the box and one playing free but now that big safety is getting run out of the league."

Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back and Oakland Raiders assistant coach ROD WOODSON recorded 71 career interceptions, the third-most all-time. Woodson, who played cornerback and safety during his 17-year NFL career, certainly agrees with Leonhard’s premise.

 

"I think the great safeties in this league today understand the game," says Woodson. "There are not many box safeties like there used to be back in the old days where they are real, real big. They’re very agile, they can cover in space. This game has become a spacing game and I think the great safeties today have a very good idea of what they need to do on the field. Basically taking a coach’s mind, putting it into them, and letting them go play football."

 

CBS NFL Today analyst and former NFL general manager CHARLEY CASSERLY says one of the first attributes required in today’s game for a prototype safety is athletic ability.

 

"I think the number one thing that you have to look at is athletic ability," says Casserly. "In an ideal situation you want someone that can cover and that has range and then has instinct. Usually a guy with instinct can make up a couple of steps if he lacks a little speed.  Athletic ability, speed and instinct would be the perfect safety." 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers safety TROY POLAMALU, who is tied for second among safeties in the NFL with 17 interceptions since 2008, recognizes the major shift of the requirements for NFL safeties.  

 

"If you can’t have that open space movement that is required in today’s game, it’s too tough to play," says Polamalu. "You have to be able to cover a lot of ground when you are back there. Football is evolving into those spread offenses with three-to-five wide receiver sets."

 

The safeties with the most interceptions since 2008:                                           

 

 

While athletic ability and cover skills are vital for NFL safeties, the importance of dissecting offenses is not overlooked.

"You have to be very cerebral back there," says New York Jets defensive coordinator MIKE PETTINE. "You need to be able to stay on top of things because the game is so complicated now. There are a lot of moving parts because teams don't just line up and run at you. There are stacks, bunches, shifts, motion and tight ends and running backs lining up in places they never did before. It's a lot to keep up with."

 

 


X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Baltimore Beatdown

You must be a member of Baltimore Beatdown to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Baltimore Beatdown. You should read them.

Join Baltimore Beatdown

You must be a member of Baltimore Beatdown to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Baltimore Beatdown. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker