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

opposing quarterbacks.

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

NFL history.

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

Denver’s quarterback.

”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

not practice.

Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org