Edwards benefits right from the start

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Defensive tackle excels filling in for Pryce

October 30, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

Dwan Edwards' season of career highs continues to unfold.

Having already recorded a personal best in starts (four) as well as his first sack and interception, the Ravens defensive tackle said he has gained exponentially from his time filling in for injured starter Trevor Pryce.

"It's just more experience, more reps," Edwards said yesterday after practice at the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills. "That's really what I need to get better as a player - to get out there and play."

Edwards could get another chance to improve on those numbers. Although Pryce, who has not played since Week 2 because of a fractured left wrist, is expected to play in Monday night's showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers, coach Brian Billick said the team might ease Pryce's return by limiting the defensive end to obvious passing situations.

Edwards "has played very, very well for us, and it's great to have that depth now that we'll have Trevor back," Billick said.

Edwards said he intends to prepare this week as if he will make his fifth start.

"You just never know," he said. "You never know how he's going to react or how his wrist is going to feel. You're always one play away, and you just have to focus. Things happen and you've got to be ready at all times."

Edwards, a second-round draft choice in 2004 who had totaled one start in three previous seasons with the Ravens, has started four of the past five games. He has 24 tackles this season and registered his first career interception against the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 14 and his first career sack against the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 21. He said getting game experience has boosted his confidence.

"When you make plays, that's stuff that you can build on for the next week," he said. "It's the first year I've been able to play every game. It's nice to be able to just keep improving throughout the year."

Wilcox: No IR, please

Daniel Wilcox has not practiced since spraining the big toe on his left foot against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 30, but the tight end said he is doing everything he can to avoid being placed on injured reserve.

Eight days ago, Billick suggested the team might have to consider ending Wilcox's season if his toe does not improve by Monday night.

"To me, IR is not an option," said Wilcox, whose toe will be re- examined by doctors today. "I've just got to get better and get my butt ready to play. I'm just praying every day and keeping my faith. It's out of my control. It's just really time and patience. I hope Brian is as patient as I am."

Asked whether he would be ready to play against the Steelers or the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 11, Wilcox said, "I'm praying for this Monday."

Rusty return

Billick said it was apparent that players had some rust after having most of last week off preceding the team's bye.

"They've got to get back into the rhythm," he said. "There were a few things where you could tell that they were away from it a little bit. Coaches as well. That's what today and tomorrow are about - kind of get back into the rhythm so that when we start up on Thursday, we've not missed a beat."

A passing fad

For the third consecutive season, wide receiver Mark Clayton dipped into his high school playing days as a quarterback when he threw a pass intended for quarterback Kyle Boller in the fourth quarter of the loss to the Bills.

"Just trying to have a little fun and get into the end zone somehow, some way," said Clayton, who was listed as the team's third quarterback last season. "We were good, we were money. We just couldn't connect."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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