Mike Edwards has rather a lot in entrance of him. He’s by no means had a extra direct line to turn into a beginning security for the Bucs than he does now after Jordan Whitehead left in free company. However with new additions in Keanu Neal and Logan Ryan, nothing shall be handed to him.
Regardless of main the Bucs with three interceptions – and including one other within the playoffs – final season, Edwards was nonetheless solely deployed in a restricted function. Do the Bucs belief him sufficient to offer him the reins this 12 months? Safeties coach Nick Rapone answered that query on Tuesday.
“I belief Mike extra now,” Rapone stated. “When you take a look at it, Mike’s had 5 interceptions within the final two years, in all probability enjoying a fourth of the reps a starter would get. I belief Mike extra now. Every security has some sure areas he has to enhance on.”
And what would these areas of enchancment be for Edwards? The principle one is definitely one thing that has been a knock on him since his faculty days at Kentucky.
“With Michael, it’s going to constantly be with the ability to make that open-field deal with,” Rapone stated. “He improved final 12 months, he made extra tackles within the open discipline than he had the 12 months earlier. Ball-wise, Mike can play the soccer, so Mike simply has to maintain maturing and it’s going to be an incredible problem for him.”
Saying that Edwards can play the soccer would possibly even be an understatement. He arguably has one of the best palms on the protection and out of the 4 turnovers he created final 12 months, two have been pick-sixes. They each occurred within the Bucs’ Week 2 win over the Falcons and got here simply minutes aside within the fourth quarter.
Edwards is a playmaker. He shall be given the primary alternative to win the function, based on Rapone. However there shall be good competitors within the room.
“He’ll begin off on the sturdy security place and we’ll see what Neal does,” Rapone stated. “And that’s what Todd [Bowles] wished to do. Todd wished to create so we’ve some competitors there at security. Now [Antoine] Winfield and Edwards, you’re Ryan and Neal, which makes a wholesome group they usually exit they usually compete.”