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The Falcon, Expectations And Ray Edwards

The Falcons have shown they have quality depth at defensive end this off-season. John Abraham looks like a stud, as always, and Kroy Biermann is still a starting-caliber defensive end. Add promising rookie Cliff Matthews, steady veteran Chauncey Davis and emerging practice squadder Emmanuel Stephens and you've got yourself a decent depth chart.

Oh, and Ray Edwards. Almost forgot about that guy.

You can forgive me for the mental lapse, considering that Edwards has been little more than a sideline presence up to this point. The off-season knee surgery that has kept him from playing to this point also probably contributed to the sweet deal the Falcons got on his contract, and by all accounts he's progressing fine. In the words of Alfred E. Neumann, what, me worry?

Except I am curious about what, exactly, we should expect from Edwards. There's no doubt that he'll be the starter before long and he's virtually a lock to post 6-8 sacks, and potentially more with Abe as his bookend. But it can be slow-going with knee surgeries, and Edwards hasn't been able to do a whole hell of a lot this off-season thus far. Will he begin the season as one of the team's top two ends, or will Biermann serve as a bridge?

Consider this a discussion post, of sorts. Will Edwards start the season as the...well, starter? What will his final numbers look like for 2011?