Falcons’ startling admission: Ray Edwards was a blunder

Here's Ray Edwards without pads. No reason to show him with pads because he seldom did anything with them. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Here's Ray Edwards without pads. No reason to show him with pads -- he seldom used them. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

(Updated: 10:15 p.m.)

Say goodbye to one of the few significant personnel mistakes of the Thomas Dimitroff-Mike Smith era.

Defensive end Ray Edwards, the epitome of a free agent bust, was drop-kicked by the Falcons Monday night. How bad does a supposed high-profile player have to be for him to be found useless by two defensive coordinators (Brian VanGorder and Mike Nolan) in two seasons?

The Falcons alibied for Edwards last season, when he managed only 3.5 sacks after recording 16.5 the previous two seasons in Minnesota. They said he wasn’t healthy. There also were suggestions that he wasn’t being used right by the since-departed VanGorder.

Well, excuses apparently weren’t being accepted this season – and Nolan presumably was given a bigger hammer to swing than VanGorder.

Edwards had become a highly paid part-time player. He was brought in to help the pass rush. He devolved into early-down player to defend the run. He wasn’t even doing that well. This for a guy who was signed before last season to a five-year, $27.5 million contract (more than half of which fortunately never will make it into his pocket).

How much had Edwards disappeared? According to Football Outsiders, which tracks the total snap counts of every player, Edwards was in for only 14 plays total in Sunday’s game at New Orleans, and four of those came on special teams. He played on only 10 defensive snaps, which equated to 18 percent of the game.

Meanwhile, Nolan has found ways to use younger players in Edwards place and Kroy Biermann has been used in pass-rush situations and even dropped into coverage. Edwards’ days clearly were numbered.

There was a growing belief that if Nolan couldn’t find much use for him, Edwards would be gone after the season. He gave the impression he just didn’t care. Some wondered if he was putting greater effort into his modeling career. (Here’s a link to his 2012 Edwards’ modeling calendar. Not sure if they’re still $8.)

He also wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around for the media, not that a team would factor that into a personnel decision. Besides, by this point, nobody really wanted to talk to him anyway.

The fact the Falcons made this move now is remarkable for an NFL team just past the halfway point of the season. But if they are going to get pounded publicly for the signing, they should be credited for making such a bold move now. It’s actually a good sign that they were not going to let a problem fester and potentially ruin the season.

That said, signing him was a big mistake.

By Jeff Schultz

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152 comments Add your comment

Sluggo

November 12th, 2012
10:04 pm

It’s about time. Onward and upward.

zzggyy

November 12th, 2012
10:04 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

November 12th, 2012
10:04 pm

The highlight of Ray Edwards’ Falcons career is still the classy portrait he made with his Magic City stripper girlfriend.

Sam

November 12th, 2012
10:06 pm

First! make room for OVIE!

robertussen

November 12th, 2012
10:07 pm

i am a little shocked by this move but what can i say the guy did not do his job, when you don’t do your job you get fired

m.penoyar

November 12th, 2012
10:07 pm

m.penoyar

November 12th, 2012
10:08 pm

m.penoyar

November 12th, 2012
10:10 pm

Bold move indeed. Hopefully the injury prone/aging/easily gased Abraham doesn’t get hurt.

LanFan

November 12th, 2012
10:11 pm

Proud to see the Falcons making a real statement. Everyone better strap it on.

Thanks for that.

NikkiFree

November 12th, 2012
10:12 pm

“How bad does a supposed high-profile player have to be for him to be found useless by two defensive coordinators (Brian VanGorder and Mike Nolan)?”

Wow, Jeff. Hadn’t thought about it like that. Ray was a mere bust to me. Now he seems like a bust on a whole new level. LOL!

JP

November 12th, 2012
10:20 pm

Honestly, if no one had reported on this, how long would it have taken most fans to notice he was gone? On the rare occasions where he has actually made a play, I found myself going, “Oh yeah, I forgot we had him.” What a bust.

Big Ray

November 12th, 2012
10:29 pm

It was a mistake. One not known to the media any more than most of the fans at the time….then again, we could have overpaid for Mario Williams or Charles Johnson.

How’s ol’ Super Mario doing for Buffalo these days? What’s that? Less production than old azz John Abraham?

Ouch…there went $100 million….no wonder the Texans didn’t bat an eyelash when he went out the door.

Joseph

November 12th, 2012
10:33 pm

bring OVIE back NOW before its too late

tmc

November 12th, 2012
10:33 pm

i agree with Mike Bell (790 the zone), they should have tried him out as the short yardage ball carrier before the cut him. Maybe he could have taken the place of Michael Turner! Hopefully, he is next. Turner sure acts like he don’t care either…

slydog

November 12th, 2012
10:35 pm

apparently he must have become too much of a liability in the locker room since he could not perform on the field.

Ron

November 12th, 2012
10:36 pm

Ya know this move should have been made he has done nothing this year I feel like he has taken precious playing time away from one of the younger more hungrier player I wanna see sidbury and the rookie massaqoui let’s see what they can do I feel like one of those guys plus bierman maybe they can be a force

TrishaDishawareagle

November 12th, 2012
10:40 pm

Glad to see Nolan takes no crap.

as for “Everyone better strap it on”, it made me shudder and think of a party at Janet Napolitano’s house

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

lowdownjj

November 12th, 2012
10:41 pm

Jeff, do ya know what the cap hit for next yr will be?

falconfan 84

November 12th, 2012
10:44 pm

He was too into himeself and not enough into his team….if he spent time chasing quarterbacks like he he did girls, he would had a lot more production.

Whopper Dawg

November 12th, 2012
10:44 pm

TD has done some good things on the skill positions. His work on both lines has been atrocious. And it is the lines that will not allow this team to beat the better ones come playoff time. First and goal at the one, and three passes, what does that tell you?

At least they know. No more turner next year.

puff

November 12th, 2012
10:46 pm

If Edwards is Free Agent Bust 1, Dunta is 1-a.

As for Turner, when his # got called on that last 3rd down, I couldn’t believe it. The Saints must have tampered with Matty’s earpiece.

Dave

November 12th, 2012
10:46 pm

Turner next?

Jeff Schultz

November 12th, 2012
10:49 pm

Najeh Davenpoop — Haha. Thanks. Had forgotten about that “portrait.”

Jeff Schultz

November 12th, 2012
10:50 pm

Lowdownjj — Not off hand but I don’t think it’ll be as bad as you’d think. His signing bonus was only $4 million I think, three years of proration is $2.4 million. That might be it.

meme

November 12th, 2012
10:52 pm

a not so free agent is only free to go, players with problems & and this Black Magic city hmm

UGA ECONOMICS MAJOR

November 12th, 2012
10:54 pm

he wasnt the most plesant to be around…the article says..why does this not suprise me??class of the falcons??that would be MR TONY GONZALEZ and a darn good football player always giving 100% in games played…1 more yr MR TONY GONZALEZ…

Mora less Petrino

November 12th, 2012
10:56 pm

Should have checked him out on Angie’s List before hiring him. Live and learn.

Joe

November 12th, 2012
10:57 pm

Can the Falcons please do the same thing for Dunta Robinson tomorrow? Both of these guys are squarely in the mold of Nick Esasky, Ed Hartwell and Speedy Claxton-all 5 of them should be in jail for stealing from Atlanta pro sports teams.

meme

November 12th, 2012
10:58 pm

only 4 million! what a deal, about a million a sack

chasjons

November 12th, 2012
10:59 pm

Good riddance. I think I have watched every game that he has played and I feel like I have only noticed him make a tackle or sack in one or two games. Maybe he didn’t understand that he could be cut?

meme

November 12th, 2012
11:02 pm

hey Joe where ya goin with that gun without shootin John Koncak

Joe

November 12th, 2012
11:04 pm

How could I forget Koncak, oh gracious, think that I had tried to erase that from the memory banks.

Peerless Price?

Joe

November 12th, 2012
11:07 pm

Joe

November 12th, 2012
11:08 pm

Raul Mondesi?

Joe

November 12th, 2012
11:09 pm

Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson?

DBN11

November 12th, 2012
11:11 pm

Falcons is really going in the right direction……..

No More Slackers……….

Steve Duke

November 12th, 2012
11:11 pm

Turner needs to follow him…

Rupe in DC

November 12th, 2012
11:14 pm

@ Najeh …. That portrait is priceless ;-) .

Dave

November 12th, 2012
11:23 pm

how could Turner follow Edwards? he can not even follow a blocker.

Mora less Petrino

November 12th, 2012
11:25 pm

Jeff “Boy” George and Isiah “DA” Rider.

raysnill

November 12th, 2012
11:25 pm

well now that Ray’s gone the defense is gonna be awesome, and we’re gonna start converting those 1st & goals. message received!!!!

Mora less Petrino

November 12th, 2012
11:31 pm

When looking at the Edwards portrait, I could hear KC & the Sunshine Band.

Scooter

November 12th, 2012
11:39 pm

For all of y’all comparing Edwards to Dunta, yeah, Dunta may be burned too often but he’s actually a pretty good tackler and it’s not lack of effort on his part.

Billy Ray

November 13th, 2012
12:00 am

The move was made after Edwards told them he was auditioning for next season’s America’s Next Top Model…

O'Ventbrel

November 13th, 2012
12:10 am

A stripper named LaStarya. You can’t make this stuff up.

Even with how little of an impact Edwards had, I’m a little surprised they kicked him to the curb. That’s business though.

Ron Roberts

November 13th, 2012
12:18 am

Now, let that be a wake up call to Michael Turner. Personally, I think Jason Snelling should be getting his snaps TFN, anyhow, with Ja’Quizz Rogers being the change-of-pace.

Thomas Dimitroff

November 13th, 2012
12:23 am

Now how do I admit I drafted the wrong qb that is in Baltimore?

Michael M.

November 13th, 2012
12:59 am

I like it when they keep shaking things up………………after losing that game yesterday by 1 point and having the chances to beat up on the sub par Caints and make a huge statement they failed. I hope they get on some players this week about the mis-cues and mistakes in yesterday’s game. Atlanta Falcons can play way , way better than they performed yesterday on the football field. They let the New Orleans Team whip them in that one. It was just too obvious to see after watching the highlights.

It is bad to lose and break the undefeated season but to lose by just one point when they could have piled up some points on those nasty stinkin Caints is just unacceptable to me anyway. Bet they play a different ballgame this coming next game up !

It is onwards and upwards with this new Coaching Staff or you will find yourself showed the door………………………hahahaha………………I just love it !

ylojkt

November 13th, 2012
1:02 am

D*MN does LaStarya have a caboose on da loose. Good thing Ray has big hands!