Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Week One

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August 30, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries (74) blocks Oakland Raiders defensive end Mario Jr. Edwards (97) during the fourth quarter in a preseason NFL football game at O.co Coliseum. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Rookies Need Time On The Field

While it’s understandable that the coaching staff will want to protect their rookies and bring them along slowly if needed, those rookies still need time on the field to actually develop.

What seems fairly mind boggling is that rookie defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. seemed to be making steady progress. In week one against the Rams, sure, he looked terrible. He got pushed around by everybody but the St. Louis mascot. But following that game, Edwards got better each and every week. He was becoming a force on the line and was getting into the backfield and to the quarterback with some regularity – something the Raider defense desperately needs.

Edwards seemed to be adapting to the pace of an NFL game and was looking good in the latter stages of the exhibition season. Very good. But inexplicably, against the Bengals, we barely saw him play. All told, Edwards played 13 total snaps against Cincinnati. What makes that even more mind boggling is that Aldon Smith, who signed a one year deal just two days prior, was in the game for 30 snaps.

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  • Yes, Smith is a pure pass rusher and an absolute beast. He has quarterback killing talent oozing out of his pores. But the simple fact of the matter is that he had two practices with the team. Two. When Edwards had a whole offseason and exhibition season to absorb Norton’s defensive scheme.

    Forcing Edwards to sit and allowing Smith to play, could stunt the rookie’s growth and development. He may regress if he’s not playing. His skills seemed to be on the upswing, but Del Rio, for whatever reason, gave a guy who has barely had time to have his name sewn on his jersey – let alone get the nuances of a new defensive scheme down – take more tan double the snaps of Edwards. It was a decision that didn’t make a lot of sense.

    If they want Edwards to continue to develop, he is going to need time on the field. If they weren’t willing to give him that time, and allow him to develop, why did they use a second round pick on him to begin with?

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