The New England Patriots are beginning to find their legs in the passing game without Julian Edelman, but they could still use the veteran’s services in the lineup. When will he be available to return?
We’re hearing good things from Bill Belichick and Cam Newton, but there is still no sign of him at Patriots practices.
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Belichick Offers an Update on Edelman’s Condition
Patriots reporters ask about Edelman’s health whenever they get an opportunity to speak with head coach Bill Belichick. Sometimes, The Hoodie offers short and quick answers. Other times, he expounds a bit more. On Wednesday, Belichick told reporters:
Julian is definitely headed in the right direction. When he’s ready to go, we’ll put him out there,” Belichick said. “But we don’t want to rush it.” He later added that the team currently views Edelman’s status as “day-by-day.
“Day-to-Day” is definitely an upgrade and it creates some cause for optimism considering Edelman hasn’t been activated from injured reserve. He was eligible to return last week, but he didn’t practice and wasn’t available for the 27-20 loss to the Houston Texans. We might be headed for something similar this week as well.
Edelman Wasn’t at Practice on Wednesday
Reporters were looking for Edelman at practice on Wednesday, but he was absent as the team prepares to face Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. If Edelman doesn’t practice again this week, the chances of him playing on Sunday are all but non-existent.
The deeper we get into the season–especially if the Patriots drop another game–the greater the chances Edelman doesn’t return at all this season. While he may be healthy at some point over the final weeks of the season, he’ll have to decide if he wants to come back to play in what could be meaningless regular-season contests.
Where Would Edelman Fit When He Returns?
If Edelman does return, chances are he takes some reps away from Jakobi Meyers. The second-year pro, who acknowledges Edelman as his mentor, has come into his own over the past four weeks. The Texans committed to slowing him down on Sunday, and that opened the door for Damiere Byrd to have a career day, including his first receiving TD of the season.
In the second half of the loss, the disappointing N’Keal Harry started to make his presence felt a bit as well. There’s also the newly signed Donte Moncrief, who made his first catch on Sunday, and Isaiah Ford whom the Patriots acquired in a trade with the Miami Dolphins near the deadline.
In any case, Edelman’s experience and leadership would offer something of a boost to a Patriots offense that is showing signs of potency. If only Edelman played defensive back or was a pass-rushing outside linebacker.
Those are the areas where the Patriots appear to be hurting the most. If Edelman does practice on Thursday, stay tuned for an update as we assess his level of participation and probable impact on yet another must-win game for the Patriots.