The Baltimore Ravens have a trio of defensive players which has become synonymous with the team as a whole: linebacker Terrell Suggs, linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed.
Both Suggs and Reed sat out of Monday night’s game at Green Bay with injuries. Suggs has been limited in practice this week while Reed has not practiced at all.
“I mark my game after him,” said Delmas. “To me, he’s the best safety out there. He communicates very well and he gets the guys going. Just seeing him not play last week, I missed out a little bit because it’s always a sight to see him play.”
Delmas, a Miami native, began following Reed when he was a senior with the Hurricanes. That year, Delmas was only 14 years old, but can remember the first game he ever saw Reed.
It was his memorable performance against Boston College when a ball ricocheted off a Miami cornerback into the hands of defensive tackle Matt Walters.
Walters returned the interception 10 yards before Reed grabbed it out of his hands and outran a Boston College player to the endzone.
“That’s when Boston College still had that turf,” Delmas recalled. “That real hard, real turf and they played with shoes (no cleats) and they wore all white. I remember the interception when Ed Reed took it from his D-Lineman and ran it all the way back.
“From there I was like, ‘Man, that’s a great safety right there.’ From then on I’ve been watching him.”
Delmas has been compared to Reed in the sense that he has the same physical make-up – both players are 5-11 and approximately 200 pounds – and same kind of game Reed has been successful with for more than seven NFL seasons.
“The thing about him that I noticed is that he’s always around the ball no matter what,” said Delmas. “I don’t care where the ball is at. I don’t care if they throw the ball in the stands – he’s going to be in the stands with the ball.
“With that comes interceptions and fumbles and that’s what he’s big on. If I had to mark my game around him, one aspect of his game, that’s one thing I would take –being around the ball.”
Interceptions and fumbles certainly have come for Reed.
He leads all active players with a franchise-record 46 interceptions to go along with 10-career forced fumbles. With six-career touchdowns, he is also one of the best defenders in the league when it comes to scoring.
“Him and Ray Lewis lead that defense – that defense sort of forms around him,” said Delmas.
Another thing about Reed is that he can disguise coverages extremely well.
Offensive players are advised not to look to Reed to try to figure out the defensive coverage, because he tends to stray outside of the current play.
“That right there came in from him getting confidence within his defense,” said Delmas. “He’s basically free to do whatever he wants.
“I’m not saying he goes out there and disrespects the coverage and not run the coverage, because obviously he does. He just has a great disguise and he does a great job of disguising.”
Delmas also says Reed earned that right through extensive work in the classroom.
“I also think that comes from him being a smart guy,” he said. “From what I heard, he studies a lot of film and he spends a lot of time in the facility practicing and preparing himself for the opponent team such as ourselves.”
The idea of playing in the same game as Reed is exciting for Delmas, but the possibility that he won’t play is still looming.
With both groin and foot injuries, it's possible that he will be inactive for a second-straight week. Still, Delmas is hoping the veteran will take notice of a rookie safety from the other team whose skill set could be an awfully lot like his.
“Just to have the opportunity to be on the same field,” he said, “even if he might not play, (it’s good to know) he’s still going to be on the field with my game out there.”