Ravens safety Ed Reed totaled five tackles last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he wishes he could have netted three more.
Three times, Reed failed to fully wrap up his man and the one-armed tackles were broken up.
It was a stark contrast to the de-cleating blow he dealt to Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno two weeks ago, something for which he is much better known.
Reed said he was simply attempting to strip the Bengals' ball-carriers.
"I was going for the ball, just trying to get turnovers," Reed said. "It's putting extra pressure on myself. I put the defense in a bad position. I just have to be smart about it."
Reed did get one turnover in that game, forcing a fumble when the Ravens badly needed possession. In the fourth-quarter at Paul Brown Stadium, Reed met wideout Chad Ohcocinco at the Ravens' 36-yard line, punched the ball out and ran 13 yards with it before pitching it to Chris Carr for another 4 yards.
Even though the next series ended on a missed Steve Hauschka field goal, it was a testament to Reed's playmaking ability.
Still, Reed's missed tackles had many fans and pundits questioning if he was fully healthy after dealing with a nerve impingement in his neck that has plagued him for over a year.
Head coach John Harbaugh believes the ailment is not affecting Reed, and Reed made a good case when he laid his shoulder into the 210-pound Moreno and jarred loose a fumble.
"I think he's tackled very well this year up until this game," Harbaugh said in his weekly press conference on Monday. "Obviously, the hit against Denver was as good a tackle as you're ever going to see. From my understanding, the neck is as good as it's been in two years, but I think it's a factor. But, it's not a dangerous type of thing where he's at risk, or he wouldn't be playing."
Reed concurred, saying, "I wouldn't go out there if I wasn't 100 percent to play."
Reed was diligent in the weight room last offseason to build a protective armor of muscle in his upper body. It shows in his bulked-up shoulders and neck.
"He's worked extremely hard in the weight room," continued Harbaugh. "He's as muscled up as he's been in the last two years since we've been here. I think Ed's worked really hard to get himself in position to play really well. I'm sure he's disappointed with those three tackles. I mean, those three tackles are tackles that you normally see him make."
Even so, Reed's body of work in 2009 is impressive.
The five-time Pro Bowler is currently fourth on the team with 39 tackles, owns two interceptions with one touchdown and has forced an impressive three fumbles over the past four games.
In addition, Reed occasionally returns punts when Baltimore needs a spark.
And as far as making tackles goes, Harbaugh is confident that Reed – and all members of the defense – will not have any problems wrapping up moving forward.
"There are certain techniques and fundamentals that go into it that you expect to see applied," Harbaugh said. "Ed knows what those are. We talk about them all the time. We work on them. We don't work on them live too often at this stage, but we do work on them.
"We expect to be a good-tackling defense."
That is the only way Reed knows how to play.
"That's not the way to tackle," stated Reed. "You can't go in with one arm. It's a mentality, and I know how to do it. It's nothing I have to work on to change."