The Ed Reed debate

The Ravens know that any time Ed Reed has the ball in his hands after forcing a turnover, he’s a threat to take it to the house.

By now, they’re also well aware that any time Reed has the ball in his hands, he’s a threat to give it right back to the opposition.

Reed has a sick obsession with lateraling after coming down with an interception or recovering a fumble, even when there is absolutely no reason to do so, as was the case on his fourth quarter pick in Sunday’s win over the Browns.

He can’t help himself. No, seriously. I really think the man has an addiction to pitching the ball to a teammate.

He’s as smart a football mind as any in the NFL (we hear this all the time from those in the know), but when it comes to the simple art of knowing how to take care of the football, Reed is severely lacking.

Often times it works in the Ravens’ favor. He’ll pitch the ball, a teammate will catch it in stride, and will rumble in for a touchdown.

There are times, however, when this obsession comes back to bite the Ravens, like in their loss to the Colts last November. Reed botched a lateral on a punt return with under 30 seconds left and the Ravens trailing by two, and the Colts recovered, clinching the Week 11 win. (Here’s the video for those who want to relive the horror.)

But because the odds of Situation A (a big play) seem to outweigh those of Situation B (a turnover), the Ravens are willing to live with Reed’s lateral antics.

“There’s a clip in the (Patriots) game - I think the playoff game last year, I think it is - where I’m like, ‘No, no! Yes, yes! Great job!’ ” said head coach John Harbaugh when asked for his take on Reed’s laterals. “It just depends on how it works out. That’s how I feel about it. (It was) the same thing in the Carolina game. I was a big ‘no’ until he flipped it and (Dawan Landry) ended up scoring a touchdown.

“Sometimes, with a player like that, you do have to trust their judgment a little bit. When Ed steps up after the fact and says it was not a good decision, then I can accept that because he’s earned that. I think he knows how important it is not to turn the ball over once you get a turnover.”

Reed stepped up following the win over Cleveland this last Sunday and said he made a mistake lateraling the ball after what looked to be a game-clinching interception.

But will that mistake stop him from looking to lateral the next time he has the ball in his hands?

No chance in hell.

That’s both a plus and a minus for the Ravens. They love the points, but hate the silly turnovers.

And all they can do at this point is cross their fingers, hope for the best, and keep some heartburn medicine nearby.

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