DETROIT –- The Raiders have their full compliment of cornerbacks. That happened last week, when Nate Allen came off short-term injured reserve and allowed T.J. Carrie to move from safety to his regular position.
Carrie switched places but stayed in the starting lineup. No shock there. The player demoted upon his return, however, was certainly surprising.
The Raiders moved David Amerson down to the No. 3 cornerback slot, meaning D.J. Hayden remained a permanent fixture in the Raiders defense. Amerson had played well after being claimed off waivers from Washington, adding length and physicality to the perimeter pass defense. No matter.
The coaching staff stuck with Hayden on the outside, a decision reaffirmed in an 18-13 loss to the Detroit Lions. Hayden played all 72 defensive snaps on Sunday, moving from the outside in during the nickel package.
He didn’t contribute much. He was targeted five times and allowed five completions for 72 yards, 43 of which came after the catch.
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said the Lions weren’t picking on Hayden, though that seemed to be the case this time and in other instances.
Amerson played just 22 snaps against the Lions, and allowed just two receptions for 24 yards on six total targets. Elite Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson was targeted four times while Amerson was covering him, but only caught one of them for 16 yards.
It’s hard to imagine Hadyen keeping his place in the starting lineup after Amerson played so much better, but it’s certainly possible. The 2013 first-round pick has been given steady reps this season, an new opportunity for him given his injury history.
The Raiders did make a lineup change, making rookie Ben Heeney a coverage linebacker on passing downs next to Malcolm Smith. Heeney, primarily a special teams player before Sunday, played 38 defensive snaps.
The Raiders also used Mario Edwards as the new Aldon Smith. The rookie second-round pick was largely a standup rusher in the base package, a role Smith filled before being suspended a calendar year for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Benson Mayowa’s snaps increased in Smith’s absence. He got more involved on passing downs.
Here’s a look at the entire Raiders snap count from Sunday’s game:
51 – OT Donald Penn, OG J’Marcus Webb, OT Austin Howard, OF Gabe Jackson, QB Derek Carr
48 – WR Amari Cooper
46 – WR Michael Crabtree
32 – C Rodney Hudson
31 – WR Seth Roberts
30 – TE Clive Walford
28 – RB Latavius Murray
19 – C Tony Bergstrom
18 – FB Marcel Reece
17 – FB Jamize Olawale
16 – TE Mychal Rivera
10 – WR Andre Holmes, OT Khalif Barnes
1 – RB Taiwan Jones
72 – CB DJ Hayden, CB TJ Carrie, LB Malcolm Smith, S Charles Woodson
66 – S Nate Allen
63 – DE/OLB Khalil Mack
61 – DT Denico Autry
60 – DE Mario Edwards Jr.
45 – CB David Amerson
38 – LB Ben Heeney
35 – NT Dan Williams
30 – DT Justin Ellis
26 – DT Stacy McGee
23 – LB Curtis Lofton
18 – DE Benson Mayowa, DE Shelby Harris
11 – S Taylor Mays
10 – CB Neiko Thorpe
24 – Lorenzo Alexander
21 – Larry Asante
20 – Jamize Olawale
19 – Neiko Thorpe
16 – Taylor Mays
15 – Andre Holmes, Ben Heeney, Korey Toomer, Ray-Ray Armstrong
10 – Benson Mayowa
9 – Marquette King
8 –David Amerson, Keith McGill, Jon Condo
7 – Tony Bergstrom, Sebastian Janikowski
5 – Amari Cooper, Marcel Reece, DJ Hayden, Shelby Harris
4 – Seth Roberts, TJ Carrie, Nate Allen, Khalil Mack, Denico Autry, Mario Edwards Jr. , Dan Williams, Stacy McGee, Curtis Lofton
3 – Donald Penn, J’Marcus Webb, Austin Howard, Gabe Jackson, Clive Walford, Mychal Rivera, Khalif Barnes
2 – Taiwan Jones
1 – Jon Feliciano