ALAMEDA – The Raiders certainly miss Mario Edwards Jr. They’re in need of a quality interior pass rusher, someone who can also be a run stopper on the outside.
The second-year pro does those things well when healthy, which he isn’t right now. Edwards suffered a hip injury in the preseason opener and hasn’t played or practiced since.
He was placed on injured reserve at regular season’s start, and the Raiders plan to designate him for a return this season. He’s eligible to play in Week 9 against Denver.
He’s eligible to practice starting Tuesday, though Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said he might not be ready right away.
He will clear one hurdle this week, even if he’s not ready for football activity.
“I hope that he can begin running on the side,” Del Rio said in his Monday press conference. “He hasn’t done that yet. We think he’ll begin to run on the side this week. We’ll bring him into practice as soon as he’s cleared.”
Murray progressing: The Raiders have played two games without top running back Latavius Murray, and the ground game has been hindered because of it.
He’s battling a case of turf toe, caused by strained ligaments around the big toe. Murray is improving, though it’s uncertain when he’ll return to practice.
“He’s getting better,” Del Rio said. “I just don’t really have much more to share on that than I know he’s anxious to return. He’s definitely better, so it’s just a matter of when he feels like he can fully participate, push off at full speed and be ready to go.”
Murray hasn’t practiced since getting hurt in a Week 4 victory over Baltimore.
Del Rio remains confident in running backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, rookies who have carried the load in Murray’s absence.
“We have other players that can get things done,” Del Rio said. “We expect to be able to continue on with the guys that we have.”
No carries for Olawale: Bruising fullback Jamize Olawale was a part of the Latavius Murray-less Raiders rushing rotation against San Diego. He had six carries then, but never touched the ball in a rain-soaked loss to Kansas City on Sunday.
The game seemed-tailor made for a physical runner, but Del Rio thought carry volume was the running game’s biggest issue. They only ran 14 planned runs and averaged 3.6 yards per carry, totals that don’t match efforts from earlier this season. With more carries, Olawale might’ve made an impact.
“It’s one of those deals where when you look at running the football and running it well and getting everybody their carries and getting everybody involved,” Del Rio said. “Typically you’re going to do some of the things outside of the running game to help that happen; converting third downs, playing better defense, the special teams component, all of it. Yeah, the weather was one where you’d expect your big mudders to be more involved and also getting more opportunities to run anybody in the game.”