The days of when Dwan Edwards was a game-day scratch might be a distant memory.
The third-year Ravens defensive tackle who has started just one game for the Ravens has been so impressive at the team's training camp that he has worked himself into a regular rotation with Justin Bannan and Aubrayo Franklin behind starters Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg.
"He's definitely in that rotation now, and we feel comfortable that we can put him in at any time we want," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "He's matured as a player, and that's exciting."
The organization's interest in Edwards hasn't waned since the franchise used a second-round choice to pick the 6-foot-3, 315-pound space-eater from Oregon State in 2004.
Regarded as a run stopper who could help collapse the pocket, Edwards was deactivated for 12 games of his rookie season as Gregg and Marques Douglas took up the interior.
Last season, Edwards played in 12 games - including his lone start - but he took a back seat to Gregg and Maake Kemoeatu.
Edwards acknowledged feeling frustrated.
"You definitely want to come in and earn the respect of your teammates by your play," he said.
Edwards did that in the third quarter of Friday night's 17-16 preseason loss to the New York Giants, when he and linebacker Jarret Johnson crushed Jared Lorenzen and stripped him of the football.
It was a positive sign for Edwards, who is cautiously optimistic about his progress. "I think I'm doing well," he said.
The Ravens drew 60,535 people, making this year's training camp the second-most-attended camp that did not include a scrimmage in franchise history, according to Bob Eller, the team's senior director of operations.
"The crowds were very strong," Eller said. "The excitement was definitely there."
Ngata rested, ready
In a manner befitting his laid-back attitude, Ngata sounded like a 12-year veteran when he talked about playing in his first NFL preseason game tonight against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I'm anxious and excited, but no butterflies," he said. "I'll be able to sleep. I love to sleep."
Ngata, the 12th overall pick in April's draft, has practiced all week after missing last week with a sprained knee. The soreness "hasn't disappeared yet," he said. "It's still there. But it's bearable. I can practice and get through it."