Since the season ended, General Manager Reggie McKenzie has had the opportunity to sit down and learn more about his team, but one thing that has remained unclear is the health of defensive end Mario Edwards Jr.
Edwards appeared in 14 games during his rookie campaign, but did not play in the final two contests of the year after injuring his neck in the team's Week 15 matchup with the Green Bay Packers.
The Florida State-product was placed on injured reserve the following week, but since then, his injury has remained a bit of a mystery.
"He [Edwards] has to have a series of tests [that] he's still going to have to go to in the next month or so," McKenzie told a small group of reporters after sitting on a panel discussing technology in football in San Francisco. "Once we find out that, we'll have some more answers, but right now, it's still the same."
During his 14 games in Silver and Black, Edwards grew more and more effective, finishing the season with two passes defensed, one forced fumble and 2.5 sacks.
However, as effective as he was during his rookie season, once he was placed on injured reserve, the narrative quickly turned to the severity of his injury.
And when asked about Edwards' status Tuesday afternoon, McKenzie was unable to offer a more concrete prognosis than Head Coach Jack Del Rio had in previous weeks.
"I guess anything is a possibility, but I'm going to let the doctors fill me in on stuff like that," McKenzie said. "I think the reason it's taking time, is more that he was probably born with, or has had, so it's not like something that happened. "
He continued, "It's something that – you can call it genetic or whatever, but he's had this since his youth, so they're just trying to figure out what is the prognosis after some time goes by. He's playing the sitting and waiting game, just like us."
McKenzie wasn't willing to speculate on Edwards' long-term health and whether or not his injury would render him unavailable for the start of season, but if the dynamic defensive end would were to miss time; it certainly would be a shot to the Raiders' defensive line.
Edwards, combined with Khalil Mack, Justin Ellis and Dan Williams, provided the Silver and Black with a formidable, young defensive front, and is a group that certainly showed growth in their first season together.
"He's a great person," McKenzie said. "He's a great player. I don't even want to think along those lines right now." Other Notables:
On recently-retired defensive end Justin Tuck:
"He's been a great Raider in the time he spent here, so it was truly valuable for what we've been able to do with him and what he's been able to do with our team to help this turnaround."
On the need to replace Tuck as a locker room leader:
"Not as much as I was two years ago when I went to get him, because that was the purpose of getting him at that time. We had some guys – now that he's spent two years with them, they know. My hope is that he's left his leadership, legacy so speak, with those young guys. Now they know, that's what it's all about. You don't have to go around and get a new leader every time. Now it's time for the young guys to take over."
On the importance of the coaching staff coming back:
"It's huge. That's what it's all about. Continuity, chemistry, players knowing who their coaches are going to be. That's where the chemistry comes in. that won't be do anything but help us, so that's one step we won't have to deal with."