Dec/24/13 08:35 AM Filed in: Ed Reed
In the week leading into Sunday's victory over the Cleveland Browns, Jets coaches said the game would offer a showcase for some seldom-used players. With the playoffs no longer within reach, the Jets would present those players a chance to experience increased snaps in practice and the game.
Two players cited by Jets defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman were Josh Bush and Jaiquawn Jarrett. Both safeties have played sparingly this season on defense, mostly as a part of substitution packages. Official snap counts released Monday, though, show that Bush played on eight defensive snaps and Jarrett two.
Instead, Antonio Allen was the young safety who received a majority of increased plays against the Browns.
Allen's playing time has dipped, since Ed Reed's arrival during Week 11. After Reed was signed Nov. 14, the most participation Allen had seen prior to Sunday was two weeks ago against the Oakland Raiders, when he played on 36 percent of the defense's snaps.
Against the Browns, Reed's playing time plunged while Allen's shot up. Reed was on the field for 30 plays Sunday, or 46 percent of the Jets' 65 defensive snaps. The total was Reed's lowest since joining the team, and for the first time he did not start.
That designation fell to Allen, who lined up alongside Dawan Landry for the first two plays of the game. Allen participated in 69 percent of the defense's plays, 45 in total.
Last week, Thurman noted that rotation on defense -- particularly among the Jets' defensive backs -- is more a reaction to a particular week's opponent than a player's form.
"We try to take advantage of what our guys do (well) and what they do best," Thurman said last Thursday. "A lot of it is match-up driven."
It is possible, then, that Jets coaches felt Allen simply offered a better foil to the Browns' offense compared to Reed, who declined to speak after the game.
Rex Ryan addressed criticism of Reed last week, saying the 35-year-old safety has lost mobility. However, the Jets coach said that the team considers Reed a high-caliber player.
"This is still a good football player, he’s an outstanding player," Ryan said Friday. "Is he as good as he once was? No."
Reed made the most of his diminished playing time, though. On his 30th and final snap, he tracked a Jason Campbell throw, slipped in front of it and intercepted the ball, clinching the Jets' win. On the sideline, Ryan walked over and hugged Reed.