Head coach Rex Ryan answered three questions on Wednesday, Dec. 4, about Ed Reed, Antonio Allen and the rest of the safeties during his post-practice news conference.
First, Rex said of Reed, "I think we're all waiting for him to hit the stats sheet on interceptions. I'm sure he is, too. It's probably the longest he's gone in his career without a pick. Certainly they know where he is and given the opportunity they throw one out there at him, hopefully he'll be able to make it happen."
Next, he said of Allen, "This young man continues to play at a high level. I have to get him on the field more. That's what I plan on doing."
Finally, he said of Reed's influence on Allen and the other safeties, "It might have impacted some of their plays, their play totals. I think it's been helpful in a lot of areas. I think having him here, they have kind of gravitated to how he studies tape, all those types of things, the positives that you can grasp with his experience."
As anyone who watched Sunday afternoon's 37-27 Jets win over the Oakland Raiders knows, it appears Rex's statements were more than just "coach talk."
The Raiders were backed up to their own goal line after Ryan Quigley's 46-yard punt went out of bounds at the 2. Three plays later, QB Matt McGloin threw a pass Reed's way, and the future Hall of Famer picked it off.
"The guy on the backside had a cut split from my left," Reed said, "the D-line got great pressure and made them scramble. I believe he was in the end zone, so he kind of had to throw it to not take the safety. I just stayed with it. He tried to force it and I made the play."
It was the 62nd regular-season interception of Reed's career, moving him up the all-time INT ranks into a three-way tie for eighth place with cornerbacks Dick LeBeau and Dave Brown.
"I'm happy to have it, happy to have 62 and happy to have a pick," Reed said, "but more importantly just to get a win and — give ourselves a chance going forward."
And as big a contributor as anyone else to the win was Reed's understudy, Antonio Allen.
On the subsequent Raiders possession, after the Jets couldn't punch it in from the 4 and Nick Folk kicked a 23-yard field goal, the Raiders' offense once again stalled and they brought out the punt team.
"Special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica had been talking about the long snapper the whole week," Allen said after the game, "how he doesn't get back to his proper drop. So, we swung Ellis Lankster across his face, and I just hit the gap."
Allen got through untouched and blocked his second punt of the season before falling on it in the end zone for a touchdown and a 20-3 Jets lead.
"It was weird," he said. "Man, they just let me loose. I was surprised. I thought the tackle was going to give me some kind of push, but he didn't even touch me, he just let me go right though. So it was big for us."
The last Jet to block two punts in one season before Allen was DB Donald Dykes way back in 1979.
It was just the fourth time in our franchise history that the same player has blocked a punt, recovered it and scored on one play, done most recently by LB David Bowens at New England in 2007.
Since 1996, only one player in the NFL has accomplished this feat multiple times: Ed Reed — who else? He's done it three times.
The Silver & Black were able to trim the Green & White's lead down to 10 four times as the game continued following Allen's touchdown, but never any closer. The Jets moved to 6-7 on the season, and their playoff push — at least for one week more — is still a possibility.
"I think we were just trying to use all of our guys, and that's what we did," Ryan said. "Ed had a nice pick and did a nice job of communicating and things. Again, we're trying to take advantage of the talent that we have. We knew it would be a physical game, so we tried to put some of the youngsters in there to take some of the heat. The guys stepped up and did a good job."
Allen indeed was back in the rotation. After logging 24 plays on defense in the first three games combined since Ed Reed was signed, Double-A was in for 25 plays against the Raiders.