So Braylon Edwards is coming back for one
more crack.  This means the Michigan faithful are doing one of
two things right now: rejoicing that the Wolverines’ top
receiver will be back to lead the corps, or preparing their throats
for another season of yelling at good old No. 1 after a dropped
ball.

Janna Hutz

In my opinion, it’s time to rejoice.

Braylon Edwards’ inconsistency may have been frustrating
to deal with at times, but the bottom line is, he is a weapon for
Michigan’s offense, and if he were to leave, the Wolverines
would not be able to fill that void this upcoming season.
Don’t get me wrong, Steve Breaston and Jason Avant are both
very talented and should be used more, but no player on
Michigan’s roster can match Edwards’ size or
after-the-catch playmaking ability.

Edwards’ return will also help an offense that is losing
quarterback John Navarre and tailback Chris Perry.

Even though Michigan has young backs ready to step in, such as
Jerome Jackson and Pierre Rembert, both of these players saw
limited action this season. It may take a year for them to
establish themselves and get experience at the college level before
they can be a force for the Wolverines. This puts greater pressure
on the passing game to be able to carry the offense.

Matt Gutierrez is expected to take over as quarterback, and
having as many experienced receivers on the field as possible will
help ease his transition into the starting role. Also, with
Gutierrez being a much more mobile quarterback than Navarre, the
offense could have a much different look next season.

Overall, I believe the Michigan offense benefited from
Edwards’ decision. Of course, there are two sides to every
story, and unfortunately for Edwards, the other side of this story
is looming.

Edwards says one reason he wants to stay is so that he can leave
his mark on the Michigan football program. But what kind of mark he
might leave is still up in the air. Numbers-wise, there is no
question that this will be a mark of greatness. The junior caught
85 passes for 1,138 yards and 14 touchdowns and is expected to have
an even better season next year.

If he does better these numbers, he will leave with almost every
Michigan receiving record in his pocket.

But if you look at his discipline problems, his easy drops and
what sometimes seems to be a general apathy about making mistakes
during games, this mark could turn out to be negative.

I’ve seen Edwards clearly crushed after Michigan losses,
but I’ve also seen him drop a pass and run back to the huddle
as if nothing happened.

Edwards also says he wants to stay in order to raise his NFL
draft stock, but that he hopes to blend in with his teammates more
and stay out of the spotlight.

Nobody has to come out a loser in this situation.

Edwards doesn’t have to turn himself into a robot either.
He can be himself, he can play well, he can raise his draft stock,
and Michigan will have a better chance of winning, all at the same
time.

He just needs to show people he cares. He needs to make that
catch against Southern Cal. in the Rose Bowl. And if he
doesn’t make that catch, he needs to get mad at himself about
it.

All fans, deep down, know what a crucial part of the offense he
will be next year. I’m excited about Edwards’ decision
to return because of how it will help Michigan.

And even though he is making the best decision for himself, I
think the result will be beneficial for both Edwards and the
Wolverines.

Naweed Sikora can be reached at
“mailto:nsikora@umich.edu”>nsikora@umich.edu.

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