Just when the Raiders were seeing Arden Key become a productive pass rusher, the defensive end will apparently be lost for the rest of this season.
Key, the second-year player out of LSU, produced just one sack in 2018, but had sacks in the Raiders’ most recent two games against the Lions and Texans. Over those two games, Key gave the Raiders some good production as a situational pass rusher for a team that has just 15 sacks over eight games, tied for sixth worst in the NFL.
But in that Oakland victory over the Lions, Key suffered a foot injury that was diagnosed as a broken bone. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday morning that Key likely will miss the rest of the season, although the player is seeking a second medical opinion.
Key underwent an offseason strength program to allow him to contend better with offensive linemen. During training camp he said he needed to get better at his bull rush and also learn to push linemen off balance to get around them.
"I’m really starting to use my hands now," he told the media during training camp. "Last year I didn’t use hands at all. I was using my shoulder and a lot of forearm. If I can use my hands to keep guys off me, I can make moves and use my bend and length and things of that sort."
Head coach Jon Gruden was concerned about Key’s injury after the victory over Detroit.
"Arden Key, we fear he broke his foot," said Gruden. "I’m worried about that."
The Raiders, 4-4, return to action Thursday night when they host the Los Angeles Chargers (4-5), who are coming off an impressive win over the Packers. Kickoff in Oakland is set for 5:20 p.m.