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Edwards shines as Eagles end preseason 4-0
August 30, 2012, 11:10 pm
If Trent Edwards doesn’t survive final roster cuts, then there was just no possible way he could have beaten out Mike Kafka.
Because he couldn’t have played any better. And if performance on the field is taken into consideration, it was no contest.
“I’ve been asked, if you don’t make it here, do you want to be somewhere else,” Edwards said Thursday night. “But that’s not what I want. I want to be here. This is the team I want to play for.
“I feel like I can help this team. I feel like I can help these guys [other quarterbacks]. People ask me about getting plays on tape. No, this is where I want to be.”
Edwards, who was out of football last year and looked lost in OTAs and early in training camp, finished a stellar preseason with another terrific performance, this one against the Jets at the Linc.
The veteran, supposedly competing with Kafka for the Eagles’ No. 3 quarterback spot, completed 22 of 32 passes for 197 yards and touchdown passes to Mardy Gilyard and Brett Brackett in the Eagles’ 28-10 win over the Jets at the Linc.
The Jets led 7-0 when Edwards entered the game at the start of the second quarter. He then led the Eagles on TD drives of 69 and 54 yards before halftime.
“It was really nice to get into a rhythm there,” he said. “I think the momentum of the game was kind of going in their direction. There wasn’t a lot of energy, that’s the way it is in the fourth preseason game, where the guys aren’t motivated to play.
“They see all the starters on the sideline in their tennis shoes, and it’s really hard not to be lethargic to start, and I was excited we were able to respond and put a touchdown up on the board.”
The Eagles finished the preseason 4-0 for the first time since 1995, their first season under Ray Rhodes. They went 10-6 that year and won a wild-card game.
Whether he's here or somewhere else, Edwards proved he can still play in the NFL.
"I'm happy for Trent," head coach Andy Reid said. "If he's here or somewhere else, I'm happy for Trent."
Edwards on Thursday evening played seven drives and generated four touchdowns and a short field goal miss.
In three preseason games, Edwards completed 54 of 80 passes (68 percent) for 489 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions, good for a 100.5 passer rating.
“I think of it as a golfer,” he said. “You think about a four-round tournament. This is the fourth preseason game, and you want to finish on a strong note, much like a PGA golfer wants to finish on Sunday the right way with a low score, and I feel like for the most part I was pretty consistent through those four games, and that’s what I’m happy about. If I was golfing, I feel like I shot a good round.”
His preseason shows 18 possessions, with six touchdowns, four field goals and two other drives that generated modest field goal misses. The Eagles didn’t go three-and-out on any of his drives in the preseason.
Edwards even showed a knack for scrambling Thursday night, with a 26-yard run on a 3rd-and-24 down to the 11-yard-line to set up his TD pass to Brackett.
If Edwards gets cut on Friday so the Eagles can keep Kafka, then the game was fixed. He never had a chance.
Asked if he feels that he did everything possible to win a roster spot, Edwards evaded the question.
“I don’t even like looking at it that way, to be honest with you,” he said. “I like to think I got better as a player every day here. A big reason I came here was to play for these coaches and with the offensive skill players in the locker room. I feel like I was given a lot of opportunities this preseason to go out and play.
“I wasn’t getting a lot of reps, but guys got dinged up and the next man up has got to perform. I’m really happy with the way the guys around me played. The best quarterbacks in the league get the guys around them to play at a high level and are able to do that on a consistent basis, and I felt like through the four games I was out there, the guys around me did a great job.
“Being in a rhythm with receivers, putting balls where they need to be, for the most part, in the four preseason games, with the chances I’ve had, I feel like I’ve had a pretty good preseason.”
Kafka, who seemed to inherit the No. 2 job behind Michael Vick when the Eagles cut ties with Vince Young, played in only one preseason game and was an ineffective 5-for-9 for 31 yards with an interception and a 23.2 passer rating against the Steelers before breaking his left (non-throwing) hand. He hasn’t played since, and the Eagles aren’t even sure he’ll definitely be available for the opener on Sept. 9 against the Browns.
Rookie Nick Foles played only the first two series Thursday night, going 4-for-6 for 46 yards. He finished the preseason 40-for-63 for 553 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions, a 110.1 passer rating, and presumably goes into the regular season as Vick’s backup.
Reid has said he’s only going to keep three quarterbacks, so the question is whether Edwards did enough to unseat Kafka, a fourth-round pick in 2010. That No. 3 spot is generally reserved for a young quarterback and not a veteran, but the numbers are difficult to argue with.
"I want to go back and evaluate it and kind of churn over it a little bit here," Reid said after the game. "I'll visit with [General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and the coaches, and we'll come up with what we think is best and go with it. We'll sit down and hash it out. Tough decision, but that's good. That's what we want."
Still, everything points to the Eagles keeping Kafka and not Edwards.
“I get paid to play the quarterback position, I get paid to go out and execute the game plan and practice in the afternoons, and those decisions are above my pay grade,” Edwards said. “I want to be here. They know that, I know that, you guys all know that.
“Those decisions are out of my control. I’ve worked my tail off during this process, thrown some good balls, thrown some bad balls. It’s out of my control. Wish I could give you a better answer, but that’s all I concern myself with.”
E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org