With the decision to let go of P.J. Hall, it’s clear that the Las Vegas Raiders aren’t overly attached to any player. That should send a message to a number of former draftees who have underperformed since entering the league. Defensive end Arden Key is one of those players as he’s only accumulated three sacks in two seasons with the team.
With the drafting of Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby last season and the signing of Carl Nassib this offseason, it’s looking like Key will have a hard time getting playing time. Throw in the fact that the Raiders have rumored interest in signing Jadeveon Clowney, and Key might not even make the team. However, the third-year defender recently spoke to Tashan Reed of The Athletic and made it clear that the Raiders don’t need to go and start adding players.
“We got everything we need in that D-line room,” Key said. “We don’t need nobody else. We don’t need no Clay Matthews. We don’t need no Jadeveon Clowney. We don’t need none of that s***. … We got a lot of guys on (the defensive line) that can pass rush they a** off.”
Those are pretty strong words from Key who looked like he could have a productive career as a pass rusher after college. He’s struggled to stay healthy and keep on weight. The Raiders have decided to accept that he’s not going to be able to keep on the weight and are going to see what he can do. This could be a make or break training camp for Key.
Key Wants to Get Under Jon Gruden’s Skin
It’s no secret that Raiders head coach Jon Gruden puts most of his attention on the offense and mostly leaves the defensive coaches alone to do their thing. Key knows this and he’s looking to be an irritant for Gruden this season.
“Because if I can get under his skin then, s***, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Cam Newton and those guys don’t have a chance,” Key said. “If I get under Jon Gruden’s skin and I see that he turns red every day? Oh, I’m winning. I’m not looking at no Tom Brady or no Drew Brees right now. My main eyes are on Jon Gruden.”
Gruden named Key as a player he’d like to see “burst on the scene.” The young defensive end has a ton of talent and could’ve been the number one pick in the draft if he would’ve been able to come to the NFL after his sophomore year in college. It would be huge for the Raiders if Key could come in and be a productive pass rusher.
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Key Makes His Role Clear
Key isn’t known as a run defender and doesn’t want to be. He made his role with the team very clear.
“Pass rusher,” Key said. “It’s no guessing with me. It’s no ifs, ands or buts. They don’t want me here to be a run stopper; they want me to be a pure pass rusher.”
With acclaimed defensive line coach Rod Marinelli joining the team this offseason, Key could benefit from the new perspective. He had a chance to talk about his new coach.
“He teaches get-off,” Key said. “‘Let’s get off, let’s get up the field and disrupt everything that’s in the backfield. Let’s create a new line of scrimmage. Ain’t no such thing as play-action pass; you get off and you get up the field and you read your keys.”
Brenston Buckner did a great job with the defensive line last year but Marinelli is one of the best in the game. He could be the guy to take the unit to the next level. There’s certainly talent there, it’s just a matter of whether or not they can reach their potential.