There’s this thought circulating that the Baltimore Ravens are trying to replace Ed Reed. Reed, who left for the Houston Texans in free agency, can’t be replaced nor do the Ravens want to replace him specifically; they want to replace their entire defense of years past.

Albeit successful, the Ravens defense was a bit stale at times, lacking the multiplicity of some of the NFL’s best defenses, hence why they appeared unstable. They were able to get away with their staleness because of Reed’s unusual ability to quickly cover real estate and cover up mistakes, but now things are changing. Now they have Michael Huff and Matt Elam manning the two safety positions, both of whom are now interchangeable in their defense.

That versatility is precisely why the Ravens are going to be a more dynamic and potentially better defense than in years past, even without Reed.

The defense may cover less ground in the back end now that Reed’s gone, but they’re more versatile because of their interchangeable safeties. That’s something head coach John Harbaugh alluded to in a recent interview, and it’s something that all defensive coaches wish to have. Why? Because the more versatile pieces a defense has, the more versatile it is, and the more unpredictable it becomes.

Huff and Elam’s versatility will be the key to the Ravens’ defensive overhaul. The former, especially, is one to watch because he’s a seasoned player who has played both safety (free and strong) and cornerback (perimeter and nickel) positions dating back to his days at the University of Texas. What’s impressive is that he’s played well at them over the past few years, which is incredibly difficult to do, and he now gives the Ravens flexibility to play him in the deep centerfield like Reed did for so many years or in the box or slot, which Reed didn’t do much.

One reason Huff’s been able to succeed at multiple positions is because of his ball skills. He does a good job of tracking the football, enabling himself to make plays on the ball even though he doesn’t always force turnovers. One turnover he did force last season was an interception against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6.

He was lined up on the “nub” (tight end only) side of the offensive formation as the field (wide side) side cornerback. The Oakland Raiders defense had two deep safeties, one of which was free safety Matt Giordano. Giordano was lined up to the receiver side and set to bracket Julio Jones with the cornerback at the top of the screen. Opposite of them was Huff, a deep third zonal defender who had the freedom to eyeball quarterback Matt Ryan.


Deep third.

At the snap, Huff slowly shuffled with his back to the sideline as he watched Ryan dropback. He then shifted his eyes to the route combinations being ran up the middle of the field, where tight end Tony Gonzalez ran a dig route away from him and Jones ran a post route at him.


Tracking, tracking, tracking…

When Jones crossed the middle of the field, Huff sped up and tracked the route, running outside the near hash where he’d ultimately intersect the pattern and the thrown ball.



Now that Huff is going to be playing safety again, he’ll have more opportunities to make plays like those. He does a good job of tracking the football, making him potentially a quality single-high safety, and he also has the ability to matchup in man coverage with receivers because of his experience as a perimeter and slot cornerback.

That versatility will allow the Ravens to be more multiple this season, hence why they’ll be using interchangeable safeties between Huff and Elam. It’s not something they’ve done in the past, however, because of Reed’s range, which they won’t be able to replicate. As a result, they’ve had to change their defensive structure, which may ultimately be for the best.

Comments (27)

  1. Hi, the first letter was sent to my billing address, not my shipping address. I don’t know if it is just me or other people today had this problem but I just wanted to let you guys know. It was definitely disappointing not getting the letter where I’m proper now!

  2. Really distinct and also special! Best talk piece.

  3. When someone writes an article he/she keeps the plan of a user in his/her brain that how a user can understand it. So that’s why this post is outstdanding. Thanks!

  4. I visited several web sites but the audio quality for audio songs existing at this site is actually excellent.

  5. Your means of explaining everything in this article is actually nice, every one be able to effortlessly be aware of it, Thanks a lot.

  6. I enjoy, cause I discovered exactly what I used to be having a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  7. Good career. It is best to produce a lot more such content. You’re really proficient at creating.

  8. Very interesting details you have remarked, regards for posting . “History is a cyclic poem written by Time upon the memories of man.” by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

  9. Cool I can correctly say that this news was interesting. If you want a 3rd look contact me.

  10. I and my friends watch the football game clips at YouTube for all time, because they have in fastidious quality.

  11. You are so interesting! I do not think I’ve read through something like that before. So nice to discover somebody with a few genuine thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!

  12. I love blogging and i can say that you just also really like blogging.-`.`

  13. you are going to have an important weblog ideal here! would you want to make some invite posts on my blog?

  14. Its not my first time to visit this website, i am browsing this web page dailly and take pleasant information from here all the time.

  15. Enjoyed reading this, very good stuff, thankyou . “It requires more courage to suffer than to die.” by Napoleon Bonaparte.

  16. Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your site by chance (stumbleupon). I’ve book-marked it for later!

  17. Everything is very open with a precise explanation of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is very useful. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Good blog post. I absolutely love this website. Keep writing!

  19. Quite nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing about your weblog posts. Following all I is going to be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write once more soon!

  20. It’s practically impossible to locate knowledgeable males and ladies about this topic, but you appear to be what takes place you will be dealing with! Thanks

  21. If some one wishes to be updated with latest technologies after that he must be pay a quick visit this web page and be up to date all the time.

  22. I just wished to appreciate you again. I don’t know the things I could possibly have taken care of within the absence of those elements discussed by you regarding that region. Completely was the depressing condition in my position, but seeing a new specialized method you solved it produced me to leap for delight. I’m grateful for the work and in many cases hope that you just recognize what a powerful job your are putting in teaching people today through a internet site. Possibly you’ve under no circumstances got to understand all of us.

  23. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you are utilizing? I’m experiencing some minor security issues with my latest site and I’d like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any suggestions?

  24. Thank you for your whole hard work on this website. Debby loves carrying out internet research and it is obvious why. We all hear all concerning the powerful way you create helpful thoughts by means of the website and as well increase response from some others on the area of interest then our child is undoubtedly discovering a whole lot. Enjoy the rest of the new year. Your doing a superb job.

  25. Hi there, all the time i used to check web site posts here in the early hours in the break of day, since i like to learn more and more.

  26. You really make it appear really easy along with your presentation but I to find this topic to be actually one thing which I believe I’d never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward to your next put up, I’ll attempt to get the hold of it!

  27. Way cool! Many extremely compelling tips! I appreciate you writing this post and also the other parts of the internet site is quite good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *