The Oakland Raiders feared the worst when defensive end Arden Key went down with an injury and their fears were realized as he’s done for the year. According to the Raiders’ official Twitter page, the team has placed Key on the injured reserve, which will end his season. This is due to a broken foot that the defensive end suffered in the Week 9 win.
To fill in the roster spot that Key leaves open, the Raiders have promoted second-year linebacker Quentin Poling to the active roster. Poling was originally a seventh-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2018 but never played for them. He found his way to the Raiders’ practice squad in late September and could see his first career NFL action. He’s too small to replace Key at defensive end, so it seems like a weird choice for Oakland to promote him over Kendall Donnerson, who is also on the team’s practice squad.
For Key, this is a disappointing development. He battled through a knee injury that kept him out of a couple of games earlier in the season. He was just coming off back-to-back games with sacks for the first time in his career.
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Raiders Only Have 3 Defensive Ends for Game vs. Chargers
The decision for the Raiders to promote a linebacker over bringing in a defensive end leaves the team with only Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell and Benson Mayowa active for Thursday’s game versus the Los Angeles Chargers. Considering two of those players are rookies, it’s a bold move by Oakland. The team must feel very confident in those three.
Mayowa has been the team’s best pass rusher despite not taking many snaps. He could have a bigger role in Week 10 and it will be interesting to see how he reacts. Ferrell is coming off his best game as a run defender. The Chargers have a talented running back in Melvin Gordon, so he’ll need to continue improving if the Raiders are going to win this game.
Dion Jordan Among Potential Replacements for Arden Key
This late in the season, there aren’t many great options at pass rusher in free agency for the Raiders. The trade deadline as already passed, so the trade market isn’t an option for the team. Oakland could play it safe and add a player like Michael Johnson, but he has very limited upside. The team should look at Dion Jordan, who is nearing a comeback.
Jordan is in excellent shape and is ready to prove that he wasn’t a bust. He was a former third overall pick by the Miami Dolphins but hasn’t done much in the NFL. Jordan got five sacks in four games back in 2017 with the Seattle Seahawks. He’s never proven he can be consistent, but he has a lot of potential and the Raiders don’t have a lot of options. They should give Jordan a serious look. He probably won’t fix their pass-rushing problems. However, if he can just get a few sacks, he’s an improvement over what the team currently has.