Mario Edwards‘ timetable continues to be delayed as he deals with what’s turned out to be another significant injury. The second-year Raiders defensive lineman has yet to resume practicing, according to Jimmy Durkin of the Bay Area News Group, who notes the prolonged absence will likely extend into Week 12 and potentially beyond.
More than a month ago, the talk coming out of Oakland placed Edwards’ timetable at being on schedule for a Week 9 return, which would have been the earliest Edwards could have been activated. He’s been eligible to practice for over a month.
Oakland’s top interior pass-rusher is considerably behind Jack Del Rio‘s October projection as the Raiders prepare for their Mexico City game against the Texans. Prior to that, August early reports pegged Edwards as being set to miss one or two regular-season games with his hip injury, so the 2015 second-round pick is facing the prospect of a lost season.
The Raiders still have to designate Edwards as their IR-return candidate, and he will almost certainly need some acclimation time before returning even as a role player. Oakland would have three weeks to activate Edwards once he returns to practice. So, it seems likely December could be Edwards’ new best-case return scenario for game work.
It’s been assumed the 6-foot-5 interior pass-rushing talent would be the player the Raiders bring back from IR, but the former Florida State performer not having practiced yet further delays this process. Oakland has just four players on IR, with blocking tight end Lee Smith (broken bone in his foot) being the highest-profile cog among those aside from Edwards.
This continues a trend for the promising player, who saw a neck injury end his rookie slate and nag him to the point he didn’t receive full clearance to return until May. He made 42 tackles and two sacks last season, being a top-10 run-stopper among edge defenders — per Pro Football Focus — but also helping as an inside presence on passing downs.
The Raiders have used Stacy McGee in that role this season, and the former sixth-round selection’s 2.5 sacks are second on the team to Khalil Mack‘s seven. He’s missed the past two games, however. Having Edwards would help the league’s 29th-ranked defense. Although, it can no longer be assumed the injured talent will be able to return at full strength to provide the help most assumed he would after he went down in August.
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