Mario Edwards Jr.: Seahawks’ chemistry ‘most well-put-together’ in NFL

Aug 27, 2023, 10:15 AM

Seattle Seahawks Mario Edwards Jr....

Mario Edwards Jr. warms up with Kendall Randolph before a Seattle Seahawks preseason game. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

After finishing last year with the eighth-worst scoring defense in the league, the Seattle Seahawks used both the draft and free agency to shore up its defensive struggles, including bringing in veteran defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. to stifle opposing rushing attacks.

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For the 29-year-old former second-round pick, the decision to come to Seattle was too easy.

“It was a lot of familiar faces,” Edwards Jr. told Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on why he chose Seattle as his professional home during the offseason. “Even with the player development with (Seahawks football ops and player engagement liaison) Lamar Campbell, who just came here. I played with Neiko Thorpe. The special teams coach was my special teams coach in Oakland, so it felt like home. And then, when I actually got here, had the chance to meet with Pete (Carroll) and I got a chance to meet a couple of the players who kind of sealed the deal.”

Edwards signed a three-year, $11.5 million contract extension with the Chicago Bears in 2021 but was released just 18 months later. After joining the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad, he was later snagged by the Tennessee Titans, where he started seven games last year – the most in his last five professional seasons.

He registered 17 tackles, 11 quarterback hits and three sacks last year before signing a one-year deal with Seattle.

“This is probably the most well-put-together team as far as the chemistry here and the way the coaches respond to the players and the players responding to coaches,” Edwards said. “With all the other places that I’ve been, it’s probably the best one. I just like how Pete treats his players. He’s a real player’s coach. I like the way they practice here. He kind of lets the players take control. He doesn’t let the coaches say too much. It’s really like a player-led team and the players speak up for the most part.”

Edwards, who claimed one of the two starting defensive end spots after standing out in training camp, will be occupying the role Shelby Harris had last season. Harris came to Seattle via the Russell Wilson trade, and he started 14 games in 2022 to record 44 tackles, two sacks and four passes defensed before being released in March.

Lining up alongside Edwards is another free-agent acquisition, Dre’Mont Jones, who signed with Seattle on one of the biggest free agent deals the franchise has given out: three years for $51.53 million. The tandem will look to improve the team’s run-stopping abilities after the Seahawks allowed the third-most rushing yards per game last year (150.2).

Despite Seattle’s struggles stopping the run last year, Edwards can’t wait to see this unit show out in front of the faithful 12s.

“They all make plays,” Edwards Jr. said. “(Boye) Mafe is going to be amazing with his speed off the edge where he works his hands and he’s so physical. Dre is just so shifty, quick twitch, fast getting off that ball. And then with Jarran Reed, he brings a little bit of everything. He’s going to bring you that hard-nosed, nasty type of football.”

The Seahawks also brought BT Jordan onto the staff as a pass rush specialist in March after one season at Michigan State, a coach who has plenty of experience working with Edwards.

“I worked with BT when I was with the Saints, so I’ve worked with him for about two or three years,” Edwards said. “He’s doing great, man. When we’re going to go out there with him, he’s going to work the pass rush. A lot of times, people will tell you to go out there and pass rush, but they don’t teach you how to pass rush or the steps to pass rush or what to do when you get in a sticky situation. He breaks down each part of the pass rush.”

Listen to the full conversation with Mario Edwards Jr. from Wednesday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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