Longtime lurker first time poster.
After the Panthers’ loss to the Jets many people have jumped off the Edwards bandwagon as quickly as many hopped on when various local new organizations started the Edwards hype. After the draft, and due to their respective sizes, Edwards has been hyped to be the future Agent 89 as much as LaFell has been hyped to be the next Moose.
Post Jets game, many negative comments have been made about Edwards being a bust and the Panthers having made a mistake. There are also many comments discussing the fact that we won’t know the wisdom of the trade and pick of Edwards for some time. I tend to fall in the later category.
The Jets game certainly gives reason for concern but it is not unprecedented....learn why after the jump...
On September 30, 2001, the 1-1 Panthers hosted Green Bay and held a half time lead 7-6. A rookie punt returner proceeded to fumble two consecutive kick returns in the 3rd quarter of the game giving the Packers extremely good field position which turned into two touchdowns. This sucked the life out of the Panthers that day and they went on to lose the game 28-7. The rookie returner was pulled from the game and return duties were given to Isaac Byrd and Richard Huntley.
It should be clear to all reading this post that the rookie in question was Steve Smith. The differences between the 2001 Packers game and the 2010 Jets preseason game are that the 2001 rookie had taken the first kickoff of the first game that year to the house. Therefore the fan base and team had more confidence in him. The other difference that we now know is that Steve Smith is a bad ass with all the confidence in the world. Therefore he was able to bounce back easily from a bad day.
Hopefully Edwards will be able to gain confidence in his abilities as a returner or in some other useful area for the team. Clearly the Panthers see something in the kid and I still trust their judgment. I would be surprised if he does not get another chance this weekend. I am glad the team does not give up on a player after one bad game. Clearly it happens to the best, a/k/a Steve Smith. Who knows what type of player Edwards will end up being. I, for one, will reserve judgment for some time.