Edwards in first practice with Jets
Just over 24 hours after being traded from Cleveland, the wide receiver was on the practice field for the Jets and already feeling like one of the guys.
"It's just a fresh start for me being in a situation where everything is moving in the right direction," Edwards said Thursday. "It's great for me to be a part of something like this. It's good for me, for my mental, for my physical, and I'm expecting to play well in this system."
"He looked tall," coach Rex Ryan said of the 6-foot-3 Edwards. "He's big, fast; he's everything."
He's at least everything the Jets had been missing in their receiving corps. Sorely in need of a big deep threat, New York acquired Edwards on Wednesday for wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, linebacker Jason Trusnik and two undisclosed draft choices.
Edwards will start opposite Jerricho Cotchery in New York's next game Monday night at Miami. Ryan is excited about how his new receiver's presence will open things up for the entire offense.
"If you're going to put nine guys down there or eight guys down there, then we have a chance to run Cotchery and him straight down the field," Ryan said. "We've got one-on-one matchups and we like them on both sides."
Edwards, in his fifth season, had 10 receptions for 139 yards and no scores for the winless Browns. He has familiarity with the Jets' offensive system because it's similar to what former Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski ran. Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer worked for a few years in San Diego with Chudzinski.
"It went well with the terminology," Edwards said. "That's the big thing coming over to a new system. Can you get it? Can you learn it? It went real well today. I feel pretty confident."
Schottenheimer said he has no concerns that Edwards will be ready to go against the Dolphins.
"He's a really sharp guy," Schottenheimer said. "He's ahead, just because a lot of the stuff that we call things he's heard it called the same thing before. It's not 100 percent, but there's quite a bit of carryover."
And, that comfort level showed.
"He was really pretty smooth, to be honest with you, for a first day," tight end Dustin Keller said. "It seemed like he had been doing this for a little while. We know he's just going to get that much better and open things up for us."
Edwards' best season came in 2007, when he had 80 catches for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns. He hopes to return to that elite status, and thinks the first step is developing a solid rapport with Sanchez.
"Mark is the guy here," he said. "Mark's calling the shots. The big thing for me is to just stay on his page, see how he likes to call plays, how he likes to throw passes, his hots, his sights. I really want to get a feel for him."
Edwards said he met Indianapolis wide receiver Reggie Wayne at the Pro Bowl following the 2007 season and asked him what the key to his success with Peyton Manning was. Wayne told him that he and Manning spent so much time together they "know each other like the back of our hands."
"For us two young guys," Edwards said, "that's what we need to do."
Edwards has one year remaining on his existing contract, and the Jets have said they won't offer a new deal during this season. Edwards said that's fine with him.
"I think the biggest thing for me is knowing that right now I'm just playing through the end of this season," he said. "There's nothing guaranteed. It's not about a contract. It's about going out there and proving every play that I deserve to be here and I deserve to be the guy that he's throwing the ball to."
Edwards' character has come under fire because of a series of off-field problems, including his alleged involvement in a nightclub fight early Monday morning in Cleveland. His unhappiness with losing with the Browns, and questions about his desire to play football also dogged him.
"I don't even want to talk about what I've experienced because that's over with," he said. "Cleveland is Cleveland and now I'm in New York. It's just fun."
Lapses in concentration also led to Edwards dropping some passes in games, a reputation he's trying to eliminate.
"He had one drop today, so I'm sure we'll focus on that," Ryan said with a laugh. "He caught about 50 balls and dropped one. It was funny because right when he did drop one, I was like, 'Oh, boy.' He's going to drop some passes. He's human, just like anybody else, but I don't think we need to be overly concerned if he drops a ball."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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