View Full Version : Ray Edwards: Getting the job done

08-29-2006, 07:13 AM
Posted on Tue, Aug. 29, 2006

Getting the job done (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/sports/football/15385032.htm)
Edwards is excelling on D-line, which is emerging as one of Vikings' strengths

Pioneer Press

Through three exhibition games, the Vikings are fifth in the NFL with 12 sacks.

That statistic is encouraging, especially because the defensive line is leading the way with eight sacks.

"It's our job," starting left defensive end Kenechi Udeze said matter of factly of his unit's preseason success.

In recent years, though, the Vikings' defensive line has done a subpar job in leading a substandard pass rush. The Vikings ranked 22nd in the NFL last season with only 34 sacks, well behind the league-leading Seattle Seahawks (50). And they bid farewell in the offseason to one of their top producers, veteran Lance Johnstone, who had 35 sacks in the past four seasons.

Heading into training camp, the Vikings were confident in their starting interior tandem of Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. But their starting defensive ends, Kenechi Udeze and Erasmus James, have excelled in the exhibition season, and rookie Ray Edwards has emerged as one of the standouts of the Vikings' draft class.

"Of course we're excited," Udeze said. "But it's the preseason, and as much as we're doing, we can still get better. We just need to put a better effort every time we go out there."

That was the question about Edwards, who was projected to have first-day talent in the draft but slipped to the fourth round because of concerns about his character at Purdue. But Edwards has been a model rookie with the Vikings, and he leads the team with two sacks in the exhibition season.

Against the Baltimore Ravens, Edwards had a hand in both of the Vikings' defensive touchdowns. In the second quarter, while spelling James, Edwards closed in on Steve McNair from the right edge when the Ravens' quarterback directed a ball toward receiver Mark Clayton. Cornerback Fred Smoot intercepted McNair's pass and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, Edwards sacked Ravens third-string quarterback Brian St. Pierre and forced a fumble, which defensive end Khreem Smith recovered and returned 29 yards for a touchdown.

But Edwards is humble about his success, and he is quiet about his past.

Asked about his role in the two touchdowns, Edwards said, "I was out there doing my job.

"I think I did some good things, but I saw some things I need to get better at."

For instance, Edwards said he needs to work on keeping his hands tighter when linemen try to block him.

As for his days at Purdue, Edwards said he embraces a new start.

"Things happen for a reason," he said. "I want to let people know who I really am."

Edwards said he would welcome a chance to start at some point. But he added, "I'm just glad I'm here.

"Being a backup to these guys isn't a problem for me," Edwards said.

Udeze said Edwards has been a great infusion to the depth of the Vikings' defensive line.

"He's playing lights out. He's light and quick, and the thing is, he's still very raw," he said. "He's only 21 years old. The sky is the limit for him."

Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin said he is pleased that Edwards doesn't get overwhelmed in games.

"The game isn't too big for him," Tomlin said. "His personality doesn't change when the lights come on, and he's a very confident young man."

James said there is no drop-off when Edwards comes into the game, which bolsters the depth the Vikings have throughout the defensive line. In fact, the Vikings likely are going to be cutting linemen who will be picked up by other teams. Quality veterans such as C.J. Mosley, Ross Kolodziej and DeQuincy Scott are on the bubble.

"It's a good problem that we all strive to have," Tomlin said. "It's the nature of this business. It's a problem when you're looking for people to keep. It's unfortunate for them personally, but it's good for this football team."

Regardless, Tomlin said his players must keep their blinders on.

"We just focus on our next opportunity to get better," he said.

Next exhibition game: Vikings at Cowboys, 7 p.m. Thursday, KSTP Ch. 5, KFAN-AM 1130

Read Sean Jensen's Vikings blog at www.twincities.com.

08-29-2006, 08:32 AM
CJ Mosley seems to be one of the odd man out which is to bad as he looked really good last year subbing for P-Will and K-Will.
I thought that Mosley would be the heir apparent for P-Will and in 3 years would be our starting nose tackle.

08-29-2006, 08:48 AM
Go get 'em, Ray!!!
(Opposing QBs, that is...NOT skanky football groupies!)

08-29-2006, 11:56 AM
sometimes taken chances on "troubled" players payoff.
Hopefully the gamble works in the end on Edwards, since we've had some bad luck in that area over the last few years.

08-29-2006, 03:33 PM
Childress made emphasis that the the lines were the starting point for offense and defence. Looks like that at least the DL is starting to follow his ideas and making strides forward. It's good to see a Vikings DL start to get pressure on a QB - its been something that has been long overdue

08-29-2006, 03:40 PM
if he plays , he'll get to the qb...