Oakland Raiders Film Room: Week 10 (DEN)

2 of 5

DJ Hayden Has Game

With Carlos Rogers out and Tarell Brown playing like a


dud, Oakland’s secondary needs a lot of help on the outside. TJ Carrie has shown himself to be competent thus far, but the looming question has always been whether DJ Hayden can step into the role of starting cornerback and play like a true first-rounder. So far he’s done pretty well. If by the graces of the heavens he can stay healthy for any reasonable amount of time it’ll be really fascinating to see how he grows with more NFL game experience under his belt considering his current game play.

Credit: NFL Game Rewind

Cornerback DJ Hayden gets his interception on Peyton Manning’s second pass in the game while displaying great field awareness and ball skills in the tip drill. 1 & 10, Denver comes out in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs) and runs a shallow cross concept. WR Wes Welker runs the shallow drag route and WR Emmanuel Sanders runs the dig route on the other side of the field. This is supposed to put a vertical stretch on the linebackers in a zone defense. If they play high, the drag route should be open, if they stay low to cover the drag, the dig route should open up above the linebackers and below the safety or safeties. Oakland comes out in their big nickel sub-package (3 DLs, 3 LBs, 2 CBs, 3 Safeties) and runs a zone-blitz with S Brandian Ross, lined up in the slot, and DE Justin Tuck dropping into the hook to flat zone. The DBs are in Cover 3 (deep field split into 3 zones). LB Miles Burris fakes the blitz which makes it seem as those Wes Welker isn’t open, however LB Sio Moore drops back into coverage and gives Manning a big obstacle to throw over once he looks to Sanders.

Here’s where Hayden’s great play comes in. He starts in a press position but works hard to stay on top of his receiver throughout the stem. Once Sanders gets to the breaking point (10-12 yards), Hayden stays on top but looks into the backfield at the QB. Here he sees Manning winding up his pass and goes to support the zone instead of just passing the man off. When Sanders can’t make the catch, Hayden makes a great play on the ball and comes up with the interception.