With More Snaps Likely, Mike Edwards Expects To Raise His Game

May 31st, 2022

Ballhawking rewarded.

When the Bucs added a pair of defensive backs in the 2019 and 2020 drafts, AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht was able to get two ballhawks in selecting Mike Edwards and Antoine Winfield, Jr.

While both play safety, Edwards is more of a hybrid, though he often lines up at safety.

The guy is always around the ball and has a knack for big plays. Aside from his picks, remember his potential game-saving tackling on a kickoff return late in the win over the Colts? Edwards will tell you his goal on every play is to get his mitt(s) on the football.

With former starting safety Jordan Whitehead gone, it’s very possible Edwards gets more playing time. And since this is a contract year, that means more opportunities to change games and earn pot of gold will be there at the end of the rainbow.

“I have just progressed every year,” Edwards said. “And I expect to make a big jump this year. I’m trying to impress and get my hands on the football. I understand the defense pretty well now.”

That last statement intrigued Joe. As long as Edwards has been here, Todd Bowles has been his defensive coordinator. Joe guesses in theory Bowles will still be in that role, though he is now the Bucs’ head coach.

This also suggests Bowles’ defense can be complex. Like any good coach, Bowles adds wrinkles to his defense each year. And it seems Edwards learned more each year as well.

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8 Responses to “With More Snaps Likely, Mike Edwards Expects To Raise His Game”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    Mike Edwards, like Jamel Dean, is quite underrated. Reminds me of a Swiss Army knife back there; can do it all, but not necessarily great at any one thing. Lacks size (only 5’9″ – 5’10”) & speed to a degree (4.54 sec 40-yd) BUT … he just seems to have a ‘nose for the ball’.

    Barely used in 2020 for some reason (188 def snaps in 16 games), but still did pretty well (2 INTs & 50% completion rate allowed). Got a LOT more work in 2021 though (531 def snaps in 14 games) and did pretty well then too (3 INTs & 54% completion rate allowed).

    Still, I think Keanu Neal (maybe Logan Ryan) will ultimately beat Edwards out for the starting safety role. Neal in particular seems to be more ‘physical’ as a safety, and the Bucs need that.

  2. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Mike Edwards has the best hands of all the Bucs DBs. If he can step up his tackling, he’d be one heck of a safety.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Mike Edwards is a really good solid player……a ballhawk for sure……If healthy, Keano Neal should beat him out, though.

  4. Craig Says:

    It is so good that he is finally healthy. He is so versatile that he will almost always find a niche to play in.

    I doubt he will win any one position, but he might win three or four situational spots.

  5. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Agreed defense need more of a physical safety. Neal is a better version of whitehead I hope. I’ve always liked Edwards. Seems like he’s always around the ball. Bowels needs to have all these play makers on the field. Windfield n Edwards making ints n Neal sending people to last week while LVD n D.white chasing down ball carriers n hopefully JTS Shaq vea n hall terrorizing QBs let’s gooo

  6. Dooley Says:

    Mike Edwards is more versatile than Keanu Neal, because he can play FS, SS, or line up as the 4th CB in the slot, plus he’s got a 3 year head start on the playbook. Everything positive in Edwards scouting report before being drafted has been backed up with his play and I’m looking forward to how he reacts to the opportunity to carving out a bigger role in 2022.

  7. Brandon Says:

    Keanu Neal isn’t beating anybody out for anything. It is Edwards’ job to lose. Neal will be lucky to make the team. He is a strong safety ONLY while Edwards and Winfield can play everywhere and make the defense truly unpredictable. Neal is a limited athlete and has been a liability in the passing game for years. This is a passing league, teams will be playing from behind… I don’t see Neal winning a spot.

  8. Goatfarmer Says:

    Not very many are as smart as Todd. Here’s a suggestion Todd – it’s better that the guys know their assignments than trying to be so unpredictable to fool the offense. You fool your own guys too. Please work on man coverage skills and have a program to ensure the lads remember their assignments play to play.

    Watched the last 35 seconds of your Rams debacle lately?