Trent Edwards knows he's a long shot
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Trent Edwards knows the deal. He’s not kidding himself or anyone else about his situation.
The Eagles' backup quarterback has had a lot of time during training camp to look around and run the numbers in his head. The math is simple enough. The Birds currently have four quarterbacks – Edwards, Michael Vick, Mike Kafka and Nick Foles – on the roster. When the season begins, they’ll carry only three signal callers. That means someone is getting subtracted from the equation in the near future.
Unless something disastrous or unexpected happens, that someone will almost certainly be Edwards.
“It was clearly explained what my role here is, and I feel like I’ve been treated properly,” Edwards said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity.
“They told me, ‘We’ll give you a chance to learn our system. We’ll see what you have.’”
In the Eagles' first preseason game, Edwards – who only two seasons ago began the year an NFL starter for the Buffalo Bills – didn’t have a chance to show what he had until the fourth quarter against the Steelers. Playing with third-teamers and undrafted free agents, Edwards went 12-for-20 passing for 106 yards and a touchdown. He also helped set up the game-winning field goal.
That might have been it for Edwards. That might have been the last we saw of him in Philadelphia. The Eagles don’t usually play more than three quarterbacks in their second preseason game. It was possible that Edwards – who has spent the summer as the last quarterback on the depth chart – wouldn’t take a snap against New England on Monday. He also could have been cut.
Then fate intervened. What turned out to be a bad break (quite literally) for Kafka – who fractured his left hand against the Steelers – has opened up playing time for Edwards. While Kafka mends, Foles has worked with the second team. That, in turn, has moved Edwards up on the roster and allowed him to take more snaps with the third team.
“He’s got a great attitude throughout this whole thing even when he wasn’t getting many reps,” Andy Reid said. “I really think what it’s done is allowed him to get his arm back slowly as opposed to jumping in and wearing that thing out. Every day it looks like his arm has gotten a little bit stronger. He’s got a little bit more workload and added a little bit more the next day and so on to where now he’s back to where he can function at a very high level throwing the football.”
Perhaps, but Edwards remains a long way from landing something resembling a secure gig as a professional quarterback. After being cut by the Bills two years ago, Edwards latched on with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the remainder of the season. In 2011, his career continued to slide when he was released by the Oakland Raiders before the season even began.
That itinerant existence – hopping from one franchise to the next with the hope of rebuilding his reputation and finding a permanent job – figures to continue for Edwards. The 28-year-old has more than twice as many career starts (33) as Kafka has NFL passes (16), but Edwards’ time with the Eagles will likely be over before long.
“I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of years,” Edwards said. “I feel like I’ve taken some things away from where I’ve been in the past to make me a better player, better team player, better guy in the locker room. I don’t have any doubt at all that I can still do this. You need to be confident in this position.” E-mail John Gonzalez at email@example.com