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 Justin Vogel Jersey , which he will, 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 C.J. Mosley Jersey ,” 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, a candidate for California governor, attended practice and chatted with owner Mark Davis.
Mookie Betts fouled off seven pitches before hitting a grand slam that helped the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 on Thursday night, extending their winning streak to 10 games.
Boston has the longest current winning streak in the big leagues and hasn’t lost since getting routed 11-1 at Yankee Stadium on July 1. At 66-29, the Red Sox are 37 games over .500 for the first time since 1949.
David Price (10-6) struck out eight over 6 2/3 innings, and Craig Kimbrel earned his 29th save.
All-Star lefty J.A. Happ (10-6) started strong for Toronto, striking out six and holding Boston to two hits before running into trouble and some misfortune in the fourth.
ANGELS 11, MARINERS 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Albert Pujols hit two home runs to tie Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth place on the career list with 630, and Los Angeles romped over Seattle.
Tyler Skaggs pitched six strong innings in his return from the disabled list. Pujols hit a two-run shot in the first and a solo drive in the sixth. He also had three hits to pass ex-Angel Rod Carew and move into a tie for 25th all-time with Rickey Henderson at 3,055.
It was the 50th multihomer game for Pujols, who went back-to-back with Justin Upton in the sixth.
David Fletcher also homered in the first off Mariners starter James Paxton, who left the game with lower back stiffness after Pujols connected for the first time. Paxton (8-4) threw just 17 pitches in his final start of the first half.
Skaggs (7-5), who missed nine games with a hamstring strain Kenny Britt Jersey , gave up one run and five hits with five strikeouts. The left-hander has allowed one earned run or less in six consecutive outings, the longest such streak from an Angels starter since George Brunet in 1968.
YANKEES 7, INDIANS 4
CLEVELAND (AP) – Aaron Hicks drove home Didi Gregorius from first base with a one-out double in the eighth inning off Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, sending New York to a win over the Indians.
Hicks drove a 3-2 pitch from Kluber (12-5) to deep center field, and Gregorius scored easily when the ball one-hopped the wall.
Brett Gardner homered twice and Gregorius also connected for the Yankees, playing at Progressive Field for the first time since last October, when they overcame a 2-0 deficit and won the AL Division Series.
New York relievers Adam Warren, David Robertson (6-3), Dellin Betances and All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman combined for four hitless innings. Chapman got three outs for his 25th save – in his first appearance since Saturday because of a sore left knee.
DODGERS 3, PADRES 2
SAN DIEGO (AP) – Andrew Toles broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single off Tyson Ross in the seventh inning to help All-Star Ross Stripling and Los Angeles take three of four from last-place San Diego.
Ross (5-8) took a one-hit shutout into the seventh before it fell apart. Chris Taylor doubled with one out and manager Andy Green came out to check on the big right-hander. Green let Ross stay in, but he allowed Toles’ single on his 101st pitch and was pulled.
Craig Stammen loaded the bases before pinch-hitter Matt Kemp singled to bring in Toles. Joc Pederson followed with an RBI single.
Stripling (8-2) held the Padres to six hits in six scoreless innings. He was added to the NL All-Star roster Wednesday in place of St. Louis right-hander Miles Mikolas, who is scheduled to start Sunday.
All-Star closer Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 26th save.
San Diego’s Wil Myers hit a two-run double off Scott Alexander with two outs in the seventh.
TWINS 5, RAYS 1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Kyle Gibson struck out nine batters over eight easy innings for the Minnesota Twins, who handed Tampa Bay ace Blake Snell his shortest start of the season after a two-hour rain delay.
Eddie Rosario hit a two-run homer for the Twins. Gibson (4-6) gave up one run and five hits without a walk to earn consecutive wins for the first time this year.
Fernando Rodney got two outs for his 21st save, preserving the seventh victory in eight games for the Twins. The Rays had their five-game winning streak stopped.
Snell (12-5) was pulled after just three innings Mohamed Sanu Jersey , throwing only 43 of his 75 pitches for strikes. The lefty took the second-lowest ERA in the American League into the game, with just two runs allowed over his last 28 2/3 innings while winning each of his last four turns.
ATHLETICS 6, ASTROS 4
HOUSTON (AP) – Mark Canha hit a two-run single in a three-run eighth inning as surging Oakland defeated Houston.
Nick Martini had three hits and two RBIs for the Athletics, who improved to 19-5 in their last 24 games. They took three of four from the AL West-leading Astros.
Yusmeiro Petit (3-2) allowed one hit in 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and Lou Trivino worked the ninth for his fourth save.
Tony Kemp hit a two-run homer for Houston, and Alex Bregman also drove in two runs. Chris Devenski (2-2) got the loss.
ROCKIES 5, DIAMONDBACKS 1
DENVER (AP) – Gerardo Parra and Raimel Tapia had pinch-hit RBI singles in Colorado’s three-run sixth inning.
Trevor Story homered for the Rockies, and Kyle Freeland pitched six-hit ball into the sixth inning. Scott Oberg (3-0) got two outs for the win.
Colorado was coming off a 19-2 victory Wednesday night, but it trailed 1-0 before its rally in the sixth.
Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray (3-2) hit Carlos Gonzalez and walked Chris Iannetta with one out before he was replaced by Silvino Bracho, who was called up before the game. Parra then hit a tying single to right, and Tapia followed with another single off Andrew Chafin.
NATIONALS 5, METS 4
NEW YORK (AP) – Max Scherzer made a final pitch to start the All-Star Game on his own mound, An Adidas Jaden Schwartz Jersey