Panthers defensive player to watch: Dwan Edwards, defensive tackle

Dwan Edwards

Panthers’ DT Dwan Edwards rushes Bears QB Jay Cutler. (Bob Leverone/Associated Press)

How he beats you… Edwards has 4-1/2 sacks in seven games this season, an unusually high total for an interior defensive lineman. It’s even more eye-catching because Edwards, who’s in his eighth NFL season, never has been a standout interior pass rusher. He had 2-1/2 sacks last season for the Buffalo Bills. Before that, he totaled only three sacks in his first six NFL seasons for the Baltimore Ravens and Bills.

“Dwan is a very athletic d-tackle,” Redskins guard Chris Chester said. “He has a lot of moves in his repertoire.”

The Carolina defensive line rushes the passer well as a group. Charles Johnson has 5-1/2 sacks and fellow defensive end Greg Hardy has five sacks. The Panthers had six sacks against the Bears in their last game—three by Hardy, two by Johnson and one by Edwards.

“They play very hard,” Chester said. “They definitely play through the whistle, as the cliché goes. Those guys play really hard.”

The Panthers rank 11th in the league with their 20 sacks.

“They’re very active,” Redskins left tackle Trent Williams said. “They run a lot of games. They don’t stop…. Like the last game against Chicago, they gave [Jay] Cutler a lot of heck…. They got a lot of hits on him. They were really physical up front. They made some plays. Their front four is playing really well right now.”

How to stop him… Edwards suffered an ankle injury against the Bears and could be limited or sidelined against the Redskins. If he’s out, that means one less worry for the Redskins’ offensive line. If he plays, it makes things tougher, but the Redskins must win their one-on-one blocking battles. The Panthers’ array of pass-rushing threats means that the Redskins can’t simply double-team one top pass rusher and not worry about everyone else.

“I’m just trying to block him,” Chester said. “I try to block them every week. It’s very cliché but you want to play your best regardless of who’s out there. You don’t want to get too caught up in the stats.”

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