Key getting confidence back, has hit his stride with 49ers


With his confidence back, Arden Key has hit his stride, racking up a quarterback sack in each of the past three games. 

The LSU product spoke during training camp about how the 49ers were a much better fit for him after three seasons with the Raiders. In 10 games, Key already has matched his three-season total with his former team. 

Kyle Shanahan has been pleased with how the pass rusher has found chemistry with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek and his position mates. The head coach has seen Key take advantage of his opportunities. 

“Arden has got good movement and he can create some edges on guys,” Shanahan said on Wednesday. “When you get some one-on-ones in there, depending which way the center goes, he's got as good of a chance to beat a guard or tackle one-on-one. 

“He's got those pass-rush skills and I think we've been playing a little bit better coverage here lately. We've been aggressive in our man, more aggressive in our zone and I think that leads to our D-Line also good more opportunities.”

Key, who immediately felt more comfortable upon his arrival in Santa Clara, shared that he knew during training camp that he had found the perfect match in the 49ers. The fit was not just in how he would fit in on the defensive line, but with the organization itself. 

“Culture is everything,” Key said on Wednesday. “It starts from the top. They make sure that us, as athletes have everything we need to succeed to play fast on Sundays. It’s players first here, who wouldn’t like that?”  


Key has found his niche rushing from the inside which he did while at LSU. The shift in his job requirements has helped his productivity and raised his confidence level. 

“I did early on, lose a little bit of confidence after having my success at LSU,” Key said. “Been talked about there, the first couple of years in the league, not really a blink of Arden Key. That kind of did something to me but I kept fighting and working.”

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DeMeco Ryans believes that Key’s 6-foot-5 frame helps his production on the field. The defensive coordinator has also seen the pass rusher flourish inside, especially one-on-one with opposing guards. 

“One thing that Arden has that you can't coach is length,” Ryans said. “Arden has very long arms, it allows him to be able to get to the quarterback and get him down. He's very good when he's rushing inside on guards. I think that's probably his best suit. 

“Arden has just done a great job working with coach Kocurek in our stunts and games that we work. 

Key will continue to get opportunities with defensive linemen Javon Kinlaw on injured reserve and Maurice Hurst out with a calf injury.

The pass rusher’s career-high quarterback sack total will only go up from here. 

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