Raiders likely to activate DL Mario Edwards Jr off injured reserve


Raiders likely to activate DL Mario Edwards Jr off injured reserve

ALAMEDA – Raiders defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. completed his third practice week since resuming football activity in Week 14.

He looks agile in portions open to the press, often working with names you know. Head coach Jack Del Rio declined to say whether Edwards Jr. would be activated off injured reserve as expected.

“We’ll work through that,” Del Rio said after Thursday’s practice. “He has had a good week of practice. We have to make a (roster) move before we activate him and play him, but he has had a good week.”

The Raiders would likely do that Friday, a day before Saturday’s home game against Indianapolis. While there was no declaration of intent, Edwards Jr. packed a bag loaded with game equipment along with the rest of his healthy teammates.

All signs point toward Edwards Jr. being active to play the Colts. That would give him two regular-season games to ramp up activity and prepare for higher snap counts in the playoffs.

The Raiders wanted to see consecutive weeks without a setback for Edwards Jr., returning from a hip injury suffered four-plus months ago in the preseason opener. He was placed on injured reserve at regular season’s start, and a slow rehab has prevented him from returning sooner.

Ultimately, Edwards Jr. must be confident his hip is ready for game action before the Raiders bring him off of injured reserve.

Edwards Jr. would likely be used as a rotational player at defensive tackle and end if activated, especially as an interior rusher on passing downs. Edwards Jr. is a versatile piece with the talent to be an impact player along the Raiders defensive front.

The second-year pro’s 21-day practice window has almost closed. The Raiders designated him to return a while ago, and must activate Edwards Jr. by Dec. 26 or place him on season-ending injured reserve.

Edwards Jr. is not technically on the active roster, so he isn't list on the injury report. Several others are. Here's a full participation report, which shows left guard Kelechi Osemele's return to practice. The Raiders won't announce their official injury report until Friday. 

Colts participation report
Did not practice:
OLB Chris Carter (shoulder), OLB Erik Walden (not injury related)
Full participation: OL Denzelle Good (concussion), S Mike Adams (not injury related), CB Vontae Davis (not injury related), RB Frank Gore (not injury related), OLB Robert Mathis (not injury related), QB Andrew Luck (shoulder, thumb), CB Rashaan Melvin (knee), WR Donte Moncrief (hamstring), OT Joe Reitz (back)

Raiders participation report
Did not practice:
S Karl Joseph (toe), DT Stacy McGee (ankle)
Limited participation: OL Kelechi Osemele (ankle), LB Shilique Calhoun (knee), WR Amari Cooper (shoulder), WR Michael Crabtree (finger), DT Darius Latham (ankle), LB Perry Riley (hamstring), LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring)
Full participation: QB Derek Carr (right finger)


Source: Raiders fined $20,000 for violating NFL injury rule


Source: Raiders fined $20,000 for violating NFL injury rule

The Raiders designated left guard Kelechi Osemele as questionable the Friday before a Week 5 contest against the L.A. Chargers with a knee injury. 

The Pro Bowler didn’t make the Saturday trip to Los Angeles with his team, leaving no chance he would play that Sunday at StubHub! Center. 

The Raiders didn’t downgrade his status, a violation of NFL rules on injury disclosure. 

They were fined $20,000 for the misstep, a source confirmed on Thursday. 

A questionable player’s status is often determined the day before the game or in pregame warm-ups, but Osemele’s status was clear when he didn’t get on the plane. He should’ve been downgraded to out on Saturday afternoon, per NFL rules.

Why rebuilding the Raiders roster could be a painful process

Why rebuilding the Raiders roster could be a painful process

ALAMEDA – Head coach Jon Gruden has stated plainly that his Raiders have a ways to go to be consistently competitive. He has mentioned how recent draft class disappointments have hurt the team’s front line and its depth.

He traded Khalil Mack for draft picks that won’t help the 2018, and there are reports he’s open to shipping more first-rounders out for future draft picks.

We haven’t heard, however, the dreaded “R” word. Rebuild.

Not that Gruden cares what the media thinks. He wants the locker room believing the Raiders are trying to win right now and as many times as possible after that. It’s harder after personnel decisions already made. It’ll be harder with as many as 10 rookies making contributions on the 53-man roster.

Whether they go on a post-bye-week run or not, this roster must get fleshed out through the NFL Draft and younger free agent selections. Whatever you want to call it, Gruden and the Raiders are playing a long game.

There are plenty of reasons why the Raiders are 1-5, but here they are. Had the early season gone better, the Raiders would’ve been in better position to keep rolling with veterans on short-term contracts. Gruden insists, however, that the Raiders won’t accelerate the use of young players if losses keep piling up.

“We are going to continue to try to get some young guys experience, but most importantly, we're playing our best players, just so you know,” Gruden said. “We're not just playing rookies for the heck of it.”

The Raiders are playing lots of young players, and a bunch of older ones. They have the NFL’s oldest roster after signing tons of veterans on short-term deals this offseason to patch holes in the roster.

Reggie McKenzie did that in 2013 and 2014, trying to Band-Aid a roster that needed several years to get right. He was able to use smart bombs in later years, adding Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele and Michael Crabtree to enhance a young foundation built through the draft. It worked. The Raiders got better, but couldn’t sustain it.

Gruden came in, got his hands on the roster and considered it worthy of a radical reconstruction. It can improve with quality draft picks and proper salary cap allocation.

He obviously wanted to execute the grand plan while winning games, but that hasn’t happened.

Now it seems clear the Raiders are building for future seasons, without wins to make the process easier.

It isn’t easy on veterans without long-term years left on their contracts. NFL careers don’t last, and each moment must be maximized. It’s fair to say many veterans on the current Raiders roster won’t be around in 2020 when the team hits Las Vegas. It’s not fun to build toward a better future you won’t be part of.

Quarterback Derek Carr has already been through a ramp up. He went 3-13 and then 7-9 and then 12-4, and he would hate to slide back down to base camp.

“This being my fifth year, you want it now,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “You want everything now. I know our fans want it now. Our players, our team, our coaches want it now and trust me, we are trying to do it now. But we've got to take this bye week, look at what we can do to play better right off of this bye week. What can we do to win that game, and that's where our mindset has to be.”

That’s where it will stay for the character members of the locker room, who are employed to win the next football game. That comes against Indianapolis after a bye week.

"I try to keep things in perspective, and focus on today,” center Rodney Hudson said. “My focus is learning from this game and trying to win the next one. I’m not going to worry about anything else other than that.”