It’s the most exciting time of year, the NFL Playoffs is underway. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the world gets turned upside down as Tim Tebow and the Broncos eliminated the Steelers this past weekend. The action is only just getting started, and we had seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Reed, who is a Hall of Fame finalist this year, weigh in and share his thoughts on how things might play out. Join Andre Reed for Over The Middle on ProPlayerInsiders to get his thoughts on the playoffs, Super Bowl and his OTM recipes to enjoy while you watch the games.
ZB: With Tim Tebow’s win over the Steelers, is it time for people to start looking at him as a legitimate threat in the league?
AR: He’s always been a legitimate threat. You just look at the way their offense is geared to his strengths… he’s not conventional, he’s not a drop-back passer. You have to give the offensive coordinator in Denver credit for going to his strengths and using them to their advantage, and they’re getting results from it. The kid’s a winner; for every deficiency he has, he’s a winner. He did it in college and he’s doing it in the pros. Believing is 99.9 percent of what you’re doing, you gotta believe in what you’re doing and you gotta believe in your players. Denver probably wouldn’t be in the thick of things if they didn’t use Tebow’s strengths.
ZB: There’s a divide between the teams that focus on offense and putting up points (Packers, Saints, Patriots) and the teams that focus on defense and shutting down their opponent (Ravens, 49ers). So what wins championships, offense or defense?
AR: I’m an offensive guy so I’m going to say offense, but I think there has to be a 50/50 balance, maybe even more towards the defensive side. If you have a team that can score points, it’s really up to your defense to slow them down. That’s going to be the key this weekend for the Giants and the 49ers. Can you slow down Aaron Rodgers? Can you slow down Drew Brees? Can you limit their capabilities and try and make other players have to step up to beat you?
The Giants have a pretty good defense, their two ends in Umenyiora and Pierre-Paul have been doing a great job all year at putting pressure on the quarterback. That’s what they’re going to rely on, that pressure. The 49ers do the same thing, they rely on turnovers and on trying to bait the quarterback into making a mistake. Rodgers and Brees are always in their comfort zone and are always proficient if you look at their quarterback ratings. So if you want to beat them, you need to get them out of their comfort zone and force throws that they aren’t used to making.
- When Andre Reed retired after the 2000 season, he ranked third all-time in receptions (951), sixth in receiving yards (13,198) and seventh in receiving touchdowns (86). He made three NFL All-Pro teams and he was elected to the Pro Bowl seven times. Reed and Jerry Rice are still the only receivers in the history of the league to catch at least 50 passes in 13 different seasons.
Notorious for his ability to turn short catches into long gains, Reed was equally as devastating to opposing defenses in the postseason. In 19 playoff games, he had 85 receptions for 1,229 yards and nine touchdowns. In the Bills’ historic comeback against the Houston Oilers in the 1992 postseason, Reed caught eight passes for 136 yards and three touchdowns. His 27 catches for 323 yards in four Super Bowls rank second and third all-time, respectively.