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It's been 2 years, but Edwards ready if needed

reuben frank csnphilly

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:48 PM

Frank

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It's been 2 years, but Edwards ready if needed

November 15, 2012, 9:45 am

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Trent Edwards doesn’t hesitate to give an answer. A very detailed answer.

When’s the last time he played in a meaningful football game?

“Jan. 2, two years ago, at Houston,” Edwards said. “We lost … I think it was 34-17?”

He was correct. It was the last day of the 2010 season, and with David Garrard and Todd Bouman both hurt, Edwards went 12 for 25 for 140 yards with one interception and a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis in his only career start in a Jaguars uniform.

That was 22½ months ago.

Edwards has spent the first nine games of the 2012 season as the Eagles’ third-string quarterback behind Michael Vick and Nick Foles, but now, with Vick out indefinitely with a concussion and Foles starting, Edwards is No. 2.

After a rousing preseason, in which he made the roster by outplaying Mike Kafka, Edwards has been invisible, inactive for seven games, third-stringer for the other two.

Now, he’s moved up one spot. One spot closer to getting back on the football field.

“It’s definitely a tough position to be in, just without getting much in terms of practice reps and game reps, but it’s just something you’ve got to be ready for,” Edwards said at his locker Wednesday.

“You’ve got to go back to what you’ve done in the past, what you’ve done in the preseason. It’s a position I’ve played all my life, so your natural instincts are going to take over. You’re studying the game plan all week, and you may not get the reps on the practice field, but on the game field you’ve got to be ready to go in case something happens.”

Edwards was part of the 2007 draft that also included Kevin Kolb. As the Bills’ rookie third-round pick, he started nine games, going 5-4 in place of J.P. Losman, who suffered a serious knee injury when he was hit late by Vince Wilfork of the Patriots.

In three years with the Bills, he was 14-18 as a starter and completed a franchise-record 61 percent of his passes. After one year with the Jaguars, he spent last year out of football before overcoming tremendous odds to stick with the Eagles this year.

“I keep telling everybody that I talk to – my friends, my family back home – I sat out all last year, and I didn’t get to experience this, and it made me appreciate a lot of the little things that you go through on a weekly basis, no matter if you win or lose on Sunday,” he said.

“Whether it’s a Wednesday speech from coach [Andy] Reid or a conversation with Michael Vick on Friday. There’s a variety of different things that I didn’t get to experience last year, and despite being 3-6 I’m still enjoying it a lot.

“I’m preparing each week as if I’m going to play, so the butterflies and the pregame sort of feelings are all still there. Physically, I feel a lot better after games than Nick or Mike do, but my approach has always been I want what’s best for the team, and I want to win.

“These last couple weeks have eaten at me, especially watching Nick and Mike go through what we’ve gone through at our position. But it’s still fun to be a part of, and we’re still working just as hard, if not harder.”

Foles will make his first NFL start Sunday when the Eagles face the Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Vick suffered a serious concussion in the loss to the Cowboys at the Linc Sunday and could be out a few weeks.

The Eagles, 3-6, have lost five straight games since a 3-1 start. A loss Sunday would give them their longest in-season losing streak since the notorious season-ending seven-game streak under Rich Kotite in 1994.

Edwards has spent most of his career as a backup, so he understands how important it is to prepare as if he’s going to play.

“I did it in Jacksonville for 13 games at the end of the 2010 season,” he said. “It’s kind of that hurry-up-and-wait mentality. ‘Is the guy going to get up? Is he OK?’

“But it’s hard when you’re not out there and not experiencing it in practice. You kind of have to get in there and take a couple hits, make a couple throws and move on to the next play whether the previous play is good or bad.

“I feel like the last nine games I’ve prepared as hard as I would [if I were No.] 2, 3, 1, 4, whatever. It’s still very important to me, important to this team, that no matter what string you are, injured guys, practice squad, you’ve got to be ready to go. That’s the mentality you need to have in order to win football games, and that’s the way I’ve always done it.”

It seems like a century ago, but Edwards was terrific for the Eagles during the preseason.

He completed 54 of 80 pass attempts (68 percent) for 489 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 100.5 passer rating.

Reid brought Edwards here to get some good film and have a chance with another team. Now, he’s one injury away from playing for the first time in two years.

“Keep relying on my work habits, my practice habits, my study habits, so if the time comes for me to get in there, I’m going to do my best,” he said. “Whatever that is, we’re going to have to live with, but it’s going to be fun regardless.”

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com