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MessaggioInviato: 12 Set 2018 06:33:31    Oggetto:  coordinator To
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— As he squares off against first-round draft pick Kolton Miller almost daily in training camp
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, Oakland Raiders rookie defensive end Arden Key rarely uses the same move twice.

On one play, Key takes a jab-step inside then spins around to Miller’s outside shoulder and speeds past the big left tackle. A few moments later, Key bull-rushes his way between Miller and another offensive lineman with little resistance.

It’s not an indictment of Miller so much as it is a credit to Key, the Raiders’ third-round draft pick who has been one of the early stars in training camp.

“We love Key,” Oakland coach Jon Gruden said Monday. “We’ve liked Key ever since the draft process. We felt lucky to get him where we got him. There’s some things this kid can do that are very special. Hopefully, we get full strength someday at the defensive end position and we can show our true colors.”

Gruden was referring to defensive end Khalil Mack, who is entering the final year of his contract and is holding out for a new deal.

Mack, the 2016 defensive player of the year, has been the Raiders’ best pass-rusher for the past four seasons. In hopes of giving him some help up front, the team used three of it first six draft picks to acquire Key along with defensive tackles P.J. Hall (second round) and Maurice Hurst (fifth round).

Oakland also moved Bruce Irvin from outside linebacker to right defensive end, the same position as Key. The two men formed a close bond, with Irvin serving as a mentor to Key.

Irvin compares Key to Aldon Smith, the talented but troubled former Raiders linebacker who had 33 ½ sacks in his first two NFL seasons before off-field issues forced him out of the league.

Like Smith, Key wears jersey No. 99.

“He’s a really natural rusher,” Irvin said. “He reminds me a lot of the old 99 that was here. If he keeps his head on straight, which he will
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, he’s going to be a hell of a player and a hell of a player for the Raiders. Can’t wait to see what he’s going to do this year.”

Irvin is among a number of Oakland players and coaches who have repeatedly praised Key during camp.

The 22-year-old has tried to keep it all in perspective. Key buries his head in the playbook and has been pouring over film of other pass-rushers, trying to find new tricks to add to his arsenal of pass-rush moves.

“I look at a lot of pass-rushers to try to steal some of their moves and try them in one-on-one,” Key said. “If it works it works and if I like it, it’s going to stick with me.”

Getting around an offensive tackle, Key said, is much like a chess match.

“I always work on one move first and see if he beats it,” Key said. “If he beats that then I’m going to counter with something else. If he beats my counter move then I’ve got to counter with another counter.”

The Raiders have also had Key lining up in the three-technique over a guard, giving the defense more speed for the interior rush.

“He’s a stud, I’ll put it that way,” linebacker Tahir Whitehead said. “He’s big, he’s strong, he’s athletic. He can go inside, he can go outside. I’m excited to see him go out there in the first game and let it rip.”

As for his ongoing battles against Miller, Key said the competition has been heating up between the two rookies.

“Kolton gets better every day,” Key said. “From the first day we went against each to now, it’s just gotten so much better. Now I have to dig in my tool box to try to pick different moves to use on him.”

Notes: The Raiders will host two joint practices with the Detroit Lions beginning Tuesday. . RB DeAndre Washington has left the team for personal reasons but is expected back soon. . The team waived defensive back Shaquille Richardson and signed cornerback Raysean Pringle. . Gavin Newsome
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, a candidate for California governor, attended practice and chatted with owner Mark Davis.

__

— John Elway’s much-celebrated 2018 draft class is turning heads at the Broncos‘ training camp, particularly ex-SMU receiver Courtland Sutton, a second-round pick whose spectacular catches have become a daily occurrence.

Big applauses also greet draft picks Bradley Chubb, Josey Jewell and DaeSean Hamilton along with another rookie who went undrafted.

Phillip Lindsay , a 5-foot-8, 180-pound running back who was born in Denver, grew up in adjacent Aurora, attended Denver South High School and the University of Colorado and is drawing praises from coaches and teammates.

“No. 2 has shown explosion,” coach Vance Joseph said, referring to the rookie by his jersey number.

“He’s a shifty little back,” said linebacker Todd Davis. “He can definitely make people miss.”

“We’re definitely going to have some things planned for Phillip,” predicted Von Miller, who sees Lindsay carving a niche in a diverse backfield that includes veteran Devontae Booker, second-year speedster De’Angelo Henderson and rookie draft picks Royce Freeman of Oregon and David Williams of Arkansas.

Lindsay is leading the way in plays that draw reactions from the crowd.

“Guys like that in the league, you just can’t cover them
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,” Miller said. “They’re just assets to the offense. You have to have a back like that and we definitely have one.”

Uninvited to the NFL combine and bypassed on draft weekend, Lindsay signed a contract with his hometown team that would pay him $480,000 this season and included a $15,000 signing bonus.

By comparison, Freeman’s signing bonus was $997,020 and Williams’ was $93,900.

A Colorado alum himself, Joseph was no stranger to Lindsay’s talents.

“It’s hard to believe he didn’t go to the combine,” Joseph said. “Obviously he’s a Buff, so I’ve watched Phillip for three years as a starter in a major conference. He was a great player. We were all surprised he didn’t go to the combine, and obviously signing him as a free agent was tough because we drafted two backs. We pursued him heavy and he stayed home.”

Lindsay’s college coach, Mike MacIntyre, said he has no doubt his former pupil will make it in the NFL because of his versatility, tenacity and willingness to make the most of any morsel of playing time he gets.

“In college he covered kicks, returned kicks, he could play on all four big phases
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,” MacIntyre said. “And then he’s a guy that can catch the ball really well, so he could be a third-down back. He’s a guy that could block well, could run well, so when you take him to the game, even if he doesn’t play a lot of running back early, he’s going to play a lot of plays for you. So he’s valuable for you as a coaching staff and a team.

“He’ll be the special team coaches’ dream, I promise you that.”

MacIntyre got that right.

“I love Phillip,” Broncos special teams coordinator Tom McMahon declared. “Phillip works his butt off.”

He garnered the nickname “Tasmanian Devil” in college because of the frenetic energy he brings to the team as the undersized underdog he’s been all his life.

“I always bring a chip on my shoulder, not because I’m mad but because I know what I have to do,” Lindsay said. “For me, I’m a running back that’s 5-8 and 190 pounds and I have to go and get my respect for the NFL now.”

It’s nothing new.

“I mean, since when have I not been the underdog?” Lindsay said.

NOTES: In honor of owner Pat Bowlen and his wife, Annabel, both of whom are fighting Alzheimer’s, the Broncos handed out purple towels to their fans and wore purple-and-gray T-shirts Saturday to raise funds and awareness of the disease. … The Broncos will hold a 45-play scrimmage Sunday.
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MessaggioInviato: 12 Set 2018 06:33:31    Oggetto: Adv





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