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Where has Titans OLB Arden Key gone?

Tennessee Titans pass rusher Arden Key has disappeared in recent weeks

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Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Tennessee Titans veteran EDGE Arden Key was a non-factor in Sunday’s blowout defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Key played 37 total defensive snaps for a Titans defense that routinely struggled to get off the field (The Jags ran 69 plays). Key was credited with recording two pressures and two hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. It represented the continuation of an awfully quiet stretch for Key.

Key has amassed just four pressures, zero sacks, zero quarterback hits, and four hurries via 100 pass-rushing snaps in Tennessee’s latest four contests. The Titans have compiled a 1-3 record throughout Key’s lackluster stretch. It’s starkly different from Key’s early-season outputs as a Titan. In the first six games, Key accumulated 20 pressures, 2.5 sacks, and 15 hurries. Key’s production has disappeared.

The Titans signed Key to a three-year contract worth $21 million during the offseason. Key currently ranks fourth on the team in sacks, trailing, in order, Denico Autry, Harold Landry, and Jeffery Simmons. Speaking of Landry, he’s been considerably better as of late after struggling to fully recover from last year’s torn ACL injury early in the season. Landry has recorded 12 pressures, 3.0 sacks, and six additional quarterback hurries in his last four games, per Pro Football Focus.

Outside of Landry finally starting to pop, Tennessee’s pass-rush has been disappointing as a whole. They’ve not been the dominant unit fans expected them to be. They’re not carrying the defense, which seemingly was the coaching staff’s expectation. Their snap-by-snap inconsistencies is placing pressure on an undermanned secondary that’s struggling to cover for longer than expected periods.

Titans general manager Ran Carthon signed Key to a team-friendly contract. Key is carrying a cap charge of just $2.880 million this campaign, according to Spotrac. That figure is scheduled to increase to a manageable $4.220 next season. Key isn’t a cap-casualty candidate. The Titans defense simply needs Key to recapture his early-season form. A matchup with the struggling Carolina Panthers could help Key locate his skill-set.