Expect the Unexpected in Edwards's Debut

Don't bet on Edwards simply being a decoy

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    When trying to gauge what kind of role Braylon Edwards is going to play in his debut as a Jets wide receiver it's best to reach all the way back to the first preseason game against the Rams. Mark Sanchez came into the game for his first competitive snaps as an NFL player, a situation not normally known for bold risks. Rex Ryan, naturally, had Sanchez drop back in the shadow of his own end zone and let one fly down the right sideline for a big gain.

    That seems like a good indication of what to look for with Edwards on Monday night, right down to the length of the pass. While preseason daring can quickly become regular season recklessness, Edwards isn't going to be left out in the cold simply because he's only been with the Jets for five days. That's not Ryan's style and that's not the message that the Jets want to send in Miami.

    Everyone in the NFL is going to be watching this game and you have to believe that Ryan wants them to see Edwards streaking downfield with a ball heading in his direction. And he probably wants them to see it two or three times so that they never come to face the Jets without heavily preparing for a deep passing game that has Edwards at its center.

    Ideally, his usage would be designed to set up Jerricho Cotchery and the running game, but with Cotchery ailing it may mean that Edwards is actually the go-to guy in his first game as a Jet. And so be it. The Jets aren't operating in an ideal world, something that the trade for Edwards makes clear in the first place, and there's never going to be a perfect moment to let him loose in the offense.

    If the Jets can get other teams worried about the prospect of playing Edwards on his first night, the trade will begin paying dividends immediately. That's what happened with Sanchez and there's little reason to think that the team would be so scared of the alternative that they won't be forcing the issue from day one.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.