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The second coming of Edwards, who played with the Jets two seasons and left as a free agent in 2010, is supposed to help the entire team but no one more than Sanchez. With Sanchez in 2009 and then in 2010, Edwards enjoyed two solid seasons with a combined 88 catches for 1,445 yards and 11 touchdowns. Now with his return, he’s expected to help a quarterback who is No. 34 in ESPN.com’s QBR ranking.
There is a clear familiarity between the two parties that even head coach Rex Ryan notices.
“I think obviously he’s familiar with him. I think that’s good that the quarterback is familiar with the receiver. The receiver, all they have to do is run the route and catch the ball, so I don’t think it matters who’s throwing it. For a quarterback, there’s a comfort level and, quite honestly, with the receivers there’s connections with the quarterback,” Ryan said. “Receivers will want a ball in certain areas. And if I’m running a slant there, maybe a receiver that wants the ball in front of them maybe wants it higher. There are some that want it lower, all those types of different things. I think obviously, he has that, spending two years here, he should have that kind of connection or rapport with the quarterback.”
The connection goes beyond the football field.
On Thursday after practice, Edwards referred to a friendship with Sanchez that has gone beyond his two season with the Jets and continued until this week when he was claimed off waivers. As such, it was Edwards who took to Twitter last week to defend Sanchez when there was a rumor of his former teammate being benched. Edwards tweeted in support of Sanchez and called Jets management “idiots.”
The Jets overlooked those comments in bringing him back but there is clearly a bond between the quarterback and the wide receiver. It is a bond that the Jets hope will lift the 6-7 team into the postseason.
“We’ll be good. He’s one of those guys that he just knows how to run routes, he’s played for a long time, he understands coverages and he picks up things quickly. I know he’ll pick up the system fast, a sharp guy,” Sanchez said. “We’re excited to have him back and that will only help the rest of the guys, Chaz [Schilens] an JK (Jeremy Kerley) and Mardy [Gilyard], all of those guys, Jordan White, and the tight ends, everybody. So it’s a big help.”
Maybe there’s something to that chemistry. Including the playoffs, the Jets are 21-13 in games where Edwards took the field.
Kristian R. Dyer is a Jets beat reporter for Metro New York and contributes to The Jets Blog. Follow him at @KristianRDyer for Jets breaking news and info from Florham Park.