Mike Edwards Currently A Starting Safety But He Will Be Pushed

May 6th, 2022

Ballhawking rewarded.

Earlier this week when Bucs safeties coach Nick Rapone wandered along the stage of the Bucs’ media studio fielding questions as if he was in a townhall setting, he pretty much announced that Mike Edwards is the starting strong safety.

How long that lasts depends on three people: Keanu Neal, Rapone and Edwards. Rapone said Edwards earned the chance to start, but it is hardly a lock.

“I trust Mike more now,” Rapone said. “If you look at it, Mike has had five interceptions in the last two years probably playing a fourth of the reps a starter would get. So I trust Mike more now.

“Each safety has certain areas he has to improve on. With Michael it is going to consistently being able to make that open-field tackle. He improved last year. He made more tackles in the open field than he had the year earlier.

“Ball-wise, Mike can play the football. So Mike just has to keep maturing and it is going to be a great challenge for him because he will start off at that strong safety position and then we will see what [Keanu] Neal does.”

Rapone added Todd Bowles is a big reason why Neal is with the Bucs because Bowles wanted competition at strong safety.

With Logan Ryan and Neal in the safeties room, Rapone noted, it creates “a healthy group and now they go out and they compete.”

Edwards possibly has developed into the best ballhawk on the team. The guy always seems to be around the ball and often makes key plays at big moments. Last year Edwards chased down Colts return man Isaiah Rodgers from behind on a 72-yard kick return with 10 seconds left to preserve a 38-31 win. It was one of the biggest plays of the season and a play that personified hustle.

21 Responses to “Mike Edwards Currently A Starting Safety But He Will Be Pushed”

  1. adam from ny Says:

    i’m thinking the back end might no longer be the weak link on defense this season…

    they might come together and be a very pleasant surprise

  2. D-Rok Says:

    If Neal can stay healthy, I think he helps our safety room, if for nothing else than experience. Ryan is a consistent vet and may not be as elite an athlete, but his smarts knowing where to be and when, coupled with his veteran presence as a communicator should help us. I am optimistic that our secondary will be (perhaps much?) better this year. As always, barring injuries.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If our secondary is healthy this year, I’m confident they will perform well….and they have depth……My concern is more with the pass rush.

  4. Buc92’ Says:

    Mike Edwards at strong safety, no wayyyy … maybe free safety , Neal will definitely win the strong spot .. Don’t mess this up rapone pls dude


  5. D-Rok Says:

    Agree, Buc92. Neal is/was more of a thumper than Edwards and can play near LOS in run support. Winfield and Edwards seem better suited towards pass defense in the FS spot. I think Neal is somewhat of a replacement for the departed Whitehead. Maybe the Bucs knew this too when they got Neal? LOL.

  6. Buc92’ Says:

    Yessir DRok, I’m thinking the same … We may need to apply for one buc place lol


  7. sasquatch Says:

    If Neal is healthy and his movement isn’t hindered by injury history, he would be a better fit at strong safety than Edwards. Edwards can play on obvious passing downs. I’m happy we drafted Logan Hall, but I would not have minded Lewis Cine back there at SS.

  8. D-Rok Says:

    Buc92 my dream when young was to play in the league but I was too slow. Now, almost 40 years later, if someone at One Buc was to offer me a job as coffee-fetcher, I’d pack my bags tonight and leave my day job as a Microbiologist!! Man, I love football.

    GO BUCS!!

  9. D-Rok Says:

    Sasquatch, I had hoped we would land Cine also. We got McCollum, so who knows, maybe he will be a good player for us.

  10. geno711 Says:

    Bowles requires his safeties to be combination guys. No safety on the Buc’s team since Bowles has been here has been assigned just a free safety or strong safety position. He floats the safeties in and out based upon the play design.

  11. BUCman Says:

    Like Keanu Neal as the starting Strong Safety with Mike Edwards coming off the bench in obvious passing situations. This would play to both players strong suits.

  12. steele Says:

    Bowles is going to have fun with Neal. He’s going to flatten guys. Come on over, Cooper Kupp.

  13. Craig Says:

    Mike Edwards has always been a Swiss Army Knife. He can play almost anywhere in the back end.

    With him, Neal, and Ryan they can keep QBs guessing.

    If the CBs learn to make changes between the pre-snap group and the post-snap group, a lot of teams will try to run more.

  14. Tony Says:

    Still have to draft a S next year. Didn’t even draft one. Need to draft another S, another CB, probably another DE, probably another DT, probably another OL & I wouldn’t be surprised if they consider drafting another LB next year, too!

  15. SOEbuc Says:

    Am I wrong??? From what I see is a third year pro bowl safety with Neal, right? How the hell has this guy been moved around three times. Or am I missing something???.

  16. teacherman777 Says:

    Edwards and Winfield are good but SLOW.

    They both run 4.6 in the 40.

    I wish we had a FS with 4.3 speed.

    Winfield is more of a SS than a FS.

  17. 1#bucsfan Says:

    I like Edwards. He is consistently around the ball. Get the tackling right tho. What I like best is Neal n Ryan bring competition n depth. Like Neal with he John lynch style of play. You know knock the snot out of people lol n Ryan is a savy vet who brings leadership and experience which we do have now that all our corners have bin in the league for several years but comp and depth is what I love. We need the same at corner back. Obviously SMB n Dean have just bin handed jobs. If they have competition it makes them work harder instead of just handing them the jobs

  18. Buc1987 Says:

    Tony why are you talking about next years draft already?

  19. Tony Says:

    Buc1987 Says:
    May 7th, 2022 at 1:10 pm
    Tony why are you talking about next years draft already?

    What was the big deal? Was just saying how they should just consider doing that next year also.

  20. Steve Says:

    Teacherman777 Winfield ran a 4.45 at the combine and Edwards a 4.5 at his pro day (Winfield claims he hit 4.3 in combine training)

    Neither of these two slow safeties by NFL standards…maybe not elite it’s not two 4.6 guys back there.

  21. Brandon Says:

    Of course he’ll be given a shot… he’s been our best safety in pass coverage the past two seasons…. letting him sit is insane.