Edwards, a fourth-year pro, has played in just 34 of 55 regular season games since he was selected in the first round by the Packers in 1999.
In the first game of this season against the Atlanta Falcons, he suffered cramps. No big deal because it was hot and humid, and many players were cramping up. In the second game against New Orleans, he was leveled by Saints center Jerry Fontenot, which paved the way for a Saints touchdown. Earlier in the game he suffered a separated left AC (shoulder) joint but played through the injury. The next week against the Lions, he suffered a broken right forearm late in the game and has missed the last four games.
Edwards has proved that he is willing to play hurt, like he did against the Saints. The problem is he often is hurt to the point where he cannot play. This has been a common reoccurance in each of the previous two seasons. Even when the Packers selected him with the 25th overall pick in the 1999 NFL draft he was injured (toe) that limited him in minicamps and training camp.
Still, Edwards has talent. He is a big defensive back with pretty good speed and ability. He played cornerback at Clemson as well as safety. Considering the Packers have two promising younger players in Anderson and Bowen to play safety, the team would be better off with Edwards at cornerback. It's a position that requires more finesse than pop. No matter how much Edwards bulks up and growls at you, he's still a finesse-type of football player. He definitely is not as physical nor instinctive as Anderson and Bowen.
With Bhawoh Jue on injured reserve and Mike McKenzie slowed by a groin injury, this would be a great time to work Edwards back into the mix as a cornerback, and utilize his coverage skills on passing defenses. The Packers need more help at cornerback right now than safety anyway.
Is it fair to strip Edwards of his right to return and start at safety? Maybe not college or high school, but this is the NFL. Players and coaches are paid big money to win. If it is obvious that Anderson and/or Bowen are tougher and playing better at safety than Edwards did when he had the oppor tunity. Edwards will simply have to take a back seat.
Anderson followed up a stellar performance in his first-ever start against the New England Patriots with another solid game against the Washington Redskins. Anderson had nine tackles and had a golden opportunity to take a Patrick Ramsey pass back for a touchdown but dropped the ball.
Sherman says he will judge players "on an individual basis" on whether they are healthy enough to start ahead of a younger player that is 100% healthy. Edwards may be near 100% health-wise, but he and the team would benefit more if he was playing cornerback, where the Packers are less than full strength.
We soon will see what happens in regard to Edwards' future when the second half of the season kicks off against the Dolphins. For now the only question is who will start alongside Sharper – Bowen or Anderson? Edwards can help the team more at cornerback, which could benefit he and the team in the future.