Ed Reed or Tom Zbikowski: Who Is a Better Option for the Ravens Moving Forward?

Alex BrooksCorrespondent INovember 5, 2010

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10:  Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on against the New England Patriots during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Ed Reed returned last week with two interceptions, but in the process, the Ravens had their worst week in pass coverage throughout the 2010 season.

In recent years, Reed has become more of a cancer in the secondary, and his attempted pass recognition has the Ravens looking at an interesting problem.

Reed is definitely a Hall of Famer; however, his lack of discipline consistently leaves the deep part of the field open and puts the team in danger of being burnt via the long pass.

The team is known for its defensive prowess, and Reed's inconsistency has either surprisingly gone unnoticed or they just can't afford to take that kind of playmaking ability off the field.

Tom Zbikowski, on the other hand, was a perfect stand-in for Reed during his injury and led what was thought to be a weakness of the team to a legitimate strength. The former boxer from Notre Dame was instrumental in the Ravens being the top pass defense over the first five weeks of the season.

Zbikowski has been tagged as the eventual replacement for Reed when he ends up retiring, but there is definite means for that substitution to happen now. After the Bills can put up 374 yards and four touchdowns with Reed back in the Ravens lineup, imagine what will happen when they face a potent pass offense like the Texans or the Falcons.

Zbikowski was injured last week, but with his return impending, it should be interesting to see what type of role he has in the secondary going forward. Also, what will happen to Reed's role in the defense once he returns?

Reed wouldn't have to be absent from the defense, but his role should be cut in half for the sake of the defense. His risk taking has cost the Ravens on multiple occasions, and John Harbaugh and Greg Mattison need to take notice before he costs the team even more than he already has.