SANTA CLARA – Braylon Edwards chose to speak at his locker this afternoon. Here are selected quotes from that interview.
Q: Playing a full game, how much was that a learning experience for you to learn about your teammates and what works offensively?
EDWARDS: I think it was good for all of us. Just to see what we can do, what we can’t do, what we need work at. What we need to scrap as well as what we need to utilize more, so it was a good experience for us. We learned from it. We’re still trying to learn, and we’ll be able to take a bigger step going into this week.
Q: What makes you feel like this passing game can be effective against the Cowboys?
EDWARDS: We’ve done enough. We’ve made plays. We’ve seen Vernon make plays in practice, Delanie, myself, Ted, Crab, I mean we’ve seen these plays made. We’ve seen these plays run in practice. We know we can utilize them. It’s just a matter of calling them, being confident in them. We’ve watched them on film and we know what pass plays we think will work, and we’ll just get better and better this week at that, and try to execute those on Sunday.
Q: Does it make a difference to you who’s playing the Cowboys secondary?
EDWARDS: Not really. When you have a system, you run a system the same way. This is what you tend to run. These are your coverages. It’s not going to be that much different from person to person with the exception of Newman, who is a pretty outstanding corner. With the exception of him, you’ve just got guys going in there filling spots.
Q: Is it frustrating for you as a wide receiver when this teams runs the ball so often on third downs?
EDWARDS: I don’t know about the average receiver, but I like winning. So, for me, we won. We got the job done and we were scoring points. It wasn’t the prettiest on offense but we got it done. We did the necessary things to win. We had the big drive when we needed it, and then we didn’t get a chance to put the offense back on the field to see how we would have fared in the waning moments because of Ted Ginn, which isn’t a bad thing. When we needed a drive we got a drive, and I think that’s something to build upon. As a wide out, of course wide outs want the ball, every play to be a pass play, but it can’t happen like that. And you learn patience, and within patience you become better as a team.
Q: Do you think if the Niners got into a shootout that this offense could keep pace?
EDWARDS: I believe so. I believe we have the potential – I don’t even like the word potential. I know that we have what it takes to be in one of those shootouts. We have the offensive line, we have the receivers, we have the running back and we have the play calling ability from the coaches to be able to be in that.* Luckily we haven’t had to be in that situation, but we will eventually. That’s how this league goes, and we’ll show you guys then if we can or if we can’t.
Q: Do you think the offense will have a higher level of efficiency this week?
EDWARDS: We weren’t very good on third down, so we want to get better at that. That’s definitely something we want to improve on, but if I’m not mistaken Alex was 15 of 20. I think missing 5 out of 20 passes isn’t bad. I think we’ll continue to expand on that, maybe throw some deeper passes. Take some shots, maybe. If we do, execute it. If we don’t, execute the run or whatever else we do.
Q: Do you guys have to do that in order to take some of the heat off Frank?
EDWARDS: It has to go both ways. Frank, when he’s successful, it allows Vernon to get open. It allows the passing game to be open. And then when we do well, it takes it for Frank. It goes both ways. So that’s what we have to do. We have to go out there and establish both sides so we can keep them guessing and keep both sides effective.
Q: What do you have to do against their front seven?
EDWARDS: They’re pretty stout of front. They have guys that make plays. Obviously, 94 is one of the best, if not the best in the business, so it’s just about attitude and will. You go into that game, don’t psyche yourself out. Just watch him on film, watch his weaknesses, his tells – What does he do? What do they do? And getting up under their pads. I think that’s the biggest thing on other side of that of that front. Who’s going to play with more leverage? Who’s going to come off the ball harder?
Q: Do you see this as a measuring stick game for how good this 49ers team can be?
EDWARDS: I would think so. Especially coming off their loss last week in which they believe they gave the game up. They’re going to be looking for blood as well as to get on the right track. So I know they’re going to come out here and give us all they have. By the same token, we’re going to be looking to show people that we can score points. We can get first downs and pass the ball. It will be a good measuring stick for us, like you said. If we can do the things necessary to win the game now we’re looking at 2-0 going forward into Cincinnati.
*Bonus question for the reader: Braylon Edwards says he’s confident the Niners can win a shootout, and then he gives a list of reasons why feels that way. Is there anything strange about that list?