The New England Patriots’ passing offense needs all the help it can get. One player that could possibly improve the struggling unit to close out the regular season is wide receiver Julian Edelman, who has spent the last seven games on the sidelines after undergoing a medical procedure on his knee in October.
On Wednesday, Bill Belichick gave a cautious update on the MVP of Super Bowl 53 and his potential return further down the line.
“Julian, I’d but him in the day-to-day category,” the Patriots’ head coach said during a media conference call. “When he’s ready, we’ll start him. If he’s not ready then he’ll keep working and we will wait until he’s ready.”
Edelman appeared in the first six of New England’s games this season, catching 21 passes for 315 yards. However, he was bothered by a knee ailment ever since Week 2 and later decided to go under the knife because of the issue. The Patriots subsequently placed him on injured reserve, where he remained one month before being sent from IR straight to the NFL’s new Coronavirus reserve list.
Edelman spent 10 days on Reserve/Covid-19 before being moved off the list again and back onto IR. He has remained there since, but is eligible to return to practice at any point now. Belichick’s statements, however, cast some doubt on his readiness as the Patriots are heading into a divisional matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
New England will start its on-field preparation for the upcoming game on Wednesday, and Edelman is one of three injured players to watch: offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (knee) and defensive tackle Carl Davis (concussion) are also eligible to return from injured reserve after having spent the last three games on the list.
As for Edelman, Belichick’s most recent statement is not much different from the one he gave back in late November during an appearance on WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show.
“I think Julian’s made a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks. I talked to him the other day and he’s certainly feeling better and able to do a little more each day, so we’ll take it day by day and see how it goes,” he said. “I know he’s working extremely hard and I certainly would never count Julian out of anything. He’s got a tremendous will and a great work ethic and is very competitive. Football is very important to him, so it would take a lot for me to count him out, put it that way.”
With Edelman out, the Patriots turned to Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd and N’Keal Harry as their top-three at the wide receiver position. The team also has Gunner Olszewski and Donte Moncrief on its 53-man roster as well as Devin Smith, Kristian Wilkerson and Isaiah Zuber on the practice squad.