Hayden to get tested by Manning
Oakland rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden has never played against
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. He figures the two will become
well-acquainted Monday night in Denver.
In what will be the biggest test of his young NFL career, Hayden
figures to get his most extensive playing time yet as the Raiders
attempt to slow down the red-hot Broncos and a Manning-led offense
that has scored more than 40 points in each of its first two
Hayden, the 12th overall pick in this year’s draft, is eager to
find out how he’ll stand up against the future Hall of Fame
”Your technique has to be even better this week,” Hayden said
Thursday. ”Your technique, alignment, assignments, key reads …
it all has to be better because you’re going against a great
player. Just OK is not going to cut it.”
Hayden is the youngest and least experienced member of the
Raiders’ defensive secondary, and that has made him a target for
Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck sought him out repeatedly in the
opener, and Jacksonville’s Chad Henne followed suit in going after
the first-round draft pick multiple times last week.
In Manning, Hayden and the Raiders (1-1) face an entirely
different type of challenge altogether.
Denver’s quarterback has already thrown for more yards and
touchdowns without an interception in two games than any player in
The 37-year-old Manning also has a 109.0 passer rating while
continuing his steady climb up the NFL’s career passing charts.
”He’s an accurate quarterback,” Hayden said. ”He tries to see
what the defense is doing and looks at the leverages and goes from
there. We have to get pressure up front through the pocket.”
The Raiders have gotten off to a surprisingly fast start
defensively this season. They lead the NFL with nine sacks and are
allowing just 15 points a game while running defensive coordinator
Jason Tarver’s blitz-happy schemes.
How much Oakland will blitz Manning is debatable since few, if
any, quarterbacks in the NFL today have as quick a release time as
”Precision, execution, precision,” Tarver said in explaining
the best method to beat Manning. ”That’s what he does so that’s
what you have to do to play with this type of offense. We need to
make sure the pocket is the way we want, not the way they want
Hayden has had a thin line of success this season.
Against the Colts in the opener, Hayden gave up three
completions that all went for first downs. The following week in
Indianapolis, Hayden improved his coverage but still found Henne
repeatedly searching for him and then throwing in his
That’s part of the learning curve for young cornerbacks in the
NFL, and Hayden has already noticed a difference.
”I just have to finish and be more aggressive on the ball,” he
said. ”When the ball’s thrown and they’re about to catch it, be
more aggressive on the breaks. If I do that, I should be all
Notes: Backup center Andre Gurode practiced at left guard with
Oakland’s first-team offense for the second straight day while
starter Lucas Nix rests a sore ankle. Gurode was a five-time Pro
Bowl offensive lineman with Dallas. … LB Kevin Burnett left
practice feeling ill. … Tight end David Ausberry (shoulder),
safety Tyvon Branch (ankle) and tackle Menelik Watson (knee) did
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org