Ravens free safety Ed Reed has upgraded his tackling this season, a direct result of no longer being bothered by a nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder.
Reed delivered some big hits during the Ravens' 31-30 win over the New England Patriots.
"I always know how to play this game," Reed said. "It's about being smart. This is not my 11th year for nothing. It's been a gift and a blessing. I know how to play football. It's not complicated."
Reed drew criticism last year when he had issues with his tackling heading into the playoffs, notably missing a chance to bring down Cincinnati Bengals running back Bernard Scott to prevent a long gain during the regular-season finale.
That doesn't appear to be a problem this year for Reed following a strenuous offseason regimen of weight lifting intended to strengthen his upper body and upgrade his durability.
"I feel good about where I'm at right now," Reed said. "It's still a long season. Like I tell the guys, it's still a lot more games to be played, a lot more football."
Reed recorded nine tackles against the Patriots, including one where he tackled Julian Edelman for a loss of one yard.
Through three games, Reed leads the Ravens with two interceptions.
"Obviously, he did a really good job," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "When you watch a lot of film on these guys, Wes Welker, Edelman, Branch, all of them, they are all smaller guys, but real quick guys. Guys have the tendency to want to try to just blow them up and end up missing them.
"The biggest thing that we really tried to talk about last week is just tackle them, just get them on the ground. I thought Ed really prepared that way all week. I really thought he did a good job in the game."