ALAMEDA – D.J. Hayden has a regular-season game under his belt and is a better cornerback for it.
The Raiders’ first-round pick played 23 snaps Sunday versus Indianapolis in the nickel package, and some went better than others. All three passes thrown his way were completed. All three converted third downs. Not a good stat.
His coverage was tight, but the receptions still eat at him.
“Any time somebody makes a catch on you, the coverage wasn’t good enough,” Hayden said after Thursday’s practice. “I have to finish those plays. That’s the next step.”
This rookie season is an evolutionary process for the young corner, who is learning on the fly.
“I learn best by doing,” Hayden said. I’m glad they threw me in the fire, so I can refine me game as the season goes along. I’m enjoying it.
“People can tell me things, but applying it really cements everything I do. I’d rather get out there and mess up, so I know what it feels like that then never do it wrong again.”
That’s one of Hayden’s finest traits. He rarely makes the same mistake twice.
“We like that D.J. is being tested,” defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. “He responds well to challenges and he always competes and comes back for more. He learned something from every situation we put him in. You can see it in practice, and that’s exciting. I think you’re going to see some good things from D.J.”
Allen won’t confirm Watson surgery: Raiders head coach Dennis Allen would not confirm an ESPN report that offensive tackle Menelik Watson had arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus and that he’s expected to miss a month.
Allen said its his policy not to discuss injuries outside the NFL-mandated injury report.
New injuries: None
Returning from injury: SS Tyvon Branch (calf), K Sebastian Janikowski (calf)
Still sidelined: TE David Ausberry (shoulder), OT Menelik Watson (knee)
Injured reserve: RB Latavius Murray (ankle), K Eddie Carmona (leg), G Tony Bergstrom (foot), LT Jared Veldheer (triceps)
Physically unable to perform list: LB Miles Burris (knee)
Quote of the day: “I root for the A’s. I want them to do well,” Janikowski said. “I’ve been to several A’s games. Whatever he said, it just blows my mind. The conversation never happened. If they make the postseason, I’m excited for them.” -- Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski, refuting claims that he wants the A’s to lose.