Edwards looking for breakout season at left end
By now you've probably heard of the lofty predictions for Michael Strahan-like numbers from Vikings DE Ray Edwards this season. Especially considering he registered a solid, but modest, five quarterback sacks in a suspension-shortened 12-game season playing right end last season.
However, double-digit sack totals from Edwards are not unrealistic for this coming season, with three factors pointing toward at least some level of productivity improvement:
1. Edwards should be more effective as a pass rusher from left end than he was at right end simply because the level of competition will not typically be as good. Teams usually have their best pass protector at left tackle, and that's who Edwards often faced a year ago. Playing left end, the caliber of his opposition over the course of (hopefully) a 16-game season should account for more sack opportunities.
2. The presence of Jared Allen, who led the NFL with 15.5 sacks (in 14 games) a year ago provides pressure off the other edge that simply was not there consistently a year ago for the Vikings. Edwards figures to collect at least a few sacks simply as the beneficiary of Allen's impact.
3. Edwards should be a better player. He is still a player with room for improvement.
"I think Ray (Edwards) has had a real good offseason to this point," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said recently. "He really came back in January. He's been working since our season ended and hasn't missed one workout. His body looks good. He's really training and he's looked very well. I think he's on pace to be an improved player. We'll move him to a different position than played a season ago, left defensive end, but it doesn't seem like it's going to slow him down. Of course, we don't have any pads on yet, but his attitude has been tremendous."
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