OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens are rapidly discovering that defensive end Dwan Edwards is well-suited for his job.
The unheralded former second-round draft pick has emerged as a key role player in the defensive line rotation.
He scored a touchdown against the New England Patriots when he recovered a Tom Brady fumble forced by outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.
And Edwards notched his first sack of the year when he got a rare start in a 33-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, tackling Brett Favre for a two-yard loss.
"I’m trying to do everything I can," Edwards said. "I continue to improve. Hopefully, we’ll get this thing turned around."
The Ravens started Edwards against the Vikings to rest Pryce up for passing downs.
And the gambit seemed to work as Pryce registered a sack of his own against Favre.
"We want to use all our guys," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I felt like more reps were good for Dwan and for our defense because of the run defense. Fewer reps make Trevor more effective in what he’s doing, especially in the pass-rush game.
"It turned out to be the case. Trevor played really, really well. Now we want Trevor to get more reps than that, but I was happy. I thought Trevor played very well in the snaps he was in there and made a difference. And Dwan played well."
For Edwards, his contribution is a testament to his patience.
He missed all of last season after undergoing surgery to repair a bulging disc in his neck, the same procedure that Samari Rolle and Dawan Landry underwent.
"They said I couldn’t play until I got it fixed," he said. "It was kind of a freak deal. You get a little nervous at first about hitting at training camp.
“I think I knocked off the rust. I feel good about everything. I think it’s going pretty well."
Playing at roughly 290 pounds, Edwards’ quickness is evident on the field.
He’s been able to shoot gaps and penetrate the backfield much better than at his previous weight of a hefty 315 pounds.
"I definitely feel a lot quicker with much more energy to be a 3-4 end," Edwards said. "It makes it a lot easier to move, change directions and rush the passer. I love what I do.”
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.