Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio expects defensive lineman Mario Edwards to return from injured reserve in Week 9, the earliest date that Edwards can get back to game action, according to Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. Edwards, who suffered a hip injury during the preseason, can start practicing again on Monday after Oakland faces the Chiefs.
Injuries have been a common theme in the brief NFL career of Edwards, whom the Raiders chose in the second round of last year’s draft. The ex-Florida State Seminole suffered a mysterious neck injury that prematurely ended his rookie season, and he didn’t receive medical clearance to return until May.
When healthy, Edwards served as a bright spot for the Raiders last year, racking up 42 tackles, three forced fumbles and two sacks in 14 games. He worked at both end and tackle along the way and rated as one of Pro Football Focus’ best run-stoppers among edge defenders. Edwards figured to complement superstar Khalil Mack and new acquisition Bruce Irvin in an improved Raiders pass rush this year, but the club will have to wait until at least November to see the trio in action at the same time.
Oakland could certainly use the return of Edwards, as the club’s defense has ranked as one of the league’s worst through five games. The Raiders rank 29th in defensive DVOA, including a No. 29 rank against the pass and a No. 21 rank against the run.
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