T.J. Replaces D.J. in the Slot, Carries the Team
Raiders fourth-year cornerback D.J. Hayden suffered a season-ending hamstring injury against the Carolina Panthers, effectively pushing third-year cornerback T.J. Carrie into the starting lineup at slot cornerback for the duration of the season.
Because Hayden wasn’t having the worst season of his career, a portion of the Raider Nation was concerned Carrie would dig one of the worst secondaries into an even deeper hole, especially after his limited performance against the Panthers.
To their surprise, Carrie thrived.
The former University of Ohio product earned the highest defensive grade on the team (84.4).
The Bills often moved their top outside wide receiver Sammy Watkins into the slot in an effort to target Carrie in just his second start of the season, but Carrie held his own against the former first-round pick for a majority of the contest.
However, Carrie limited Watkins to just one reception for six yards when lining up in the slot. Watkins finished the game with just three receptions for 38 yards.
Look for Carrie to build off his hot start in an effort to solidify his starting role through the postseason.