Reed 'em and weep, then go for it

Here's a solution to the Jeff Reed saga that's simplistic, satisfying to all, and quite possibly could bring better results.

I stand before you today to neither defend Jeff Reed nor condemn him.

The NFL will ultimately decide if discipline is required. Mike Tomlin, for the time being, is satisfied enough to allow Reed to participate on Sunday against Minnesota. And Reed at least handled himself with dignity and decorum while facing the media music in the wake of being charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication, simple assault and resisting arrest.

He's getting a lot better at this sort of thing.

A couple of seasons ago, in the wake of a picture of Reed "out of uniform" hitting the internet, Reed was less than professional during an exchange with a reporter.

Reed was less than professional to the extent that Sean Morey, who was seated a couple of feet away, felt compelled to apologize to said reporter for his teammate's behavior.

Now, Reed is polished enough in such situations that the Steelers ought to go ahead and move the whole thing up to the media work room the next time.

FSN could televise it.

Ellis could lead the interrogation.

In the meantime, we're left to ponder what might have been. Specifically, what if Tomlin had opted to treat Reed as he did Santonio Holmes a year ago? And what if, rather than temporarily remove someone from the roster to sign a fill-in kicker (you can only dangle Nick Eason in front of the rest of the league so many times and get away with it) the Steelers simply opted to go without for a game?

For one thing, there wouldn't be any field goals kicked from the 1-yard line against the Vikings.

Would that be so bad?

As for the bulk of Reed's work this season, he's 7-for-10 on field goals that have been kicked, on average, on fourth-and-8 (the OT winner against Tennessee was booted on first-and-10, but for simplicity's sake we'll consider that a fourth down here). Eight of those attempts have come with the line of scrimmage at or inside an opponent's 25-yard line (nine from the 28 or closer).

Given such proximity to the goal line and the offense's overall combustibility, why not just go for it for a change?

More first downs leading to more touchdowns half of the time would put the Steelers ahead of the chains. And a 50-percent success rate on two-point conversions would produce at least an even-money exchange on PATs. As for kickoffs, Daniel Sepulveda punts after safeties, doesn't he?

I know, I know, it's crazy. The Steelers would never consider such a thing. Mid-season is no time for experiments and Reed is too reliable to risk it in a big game, particularly at Heinz Field.

But it sure would be thoughtfully non-rhythmic, wouldn't it?

As for any potential distraction in the locker room created by the latest Jeff Reed Saga, fear not. The Steelers appeared much more amused than distracted on Wednesday.

William Gay was even moved to offer a show of support -- I think -- by chiming in from the cheap seats while Reed was meeting the media.

"I didn't do it ... I didn't do nothing ... It wasn't me ... All right, f--- it, I did it."

On second thought, maybe FSN isn't such a good idea after all.


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