Hayden, new-look Raiders enter next phase of getting ready for 2014 season


Second-year cornerback DJ Hayden looks bigger and stronger than he did last season, when he missed most of the offseason workouts, wasn’t permitted to participate in contact drills the first part of training camp, struggled in coverage once the season began and finished the season on the injured-reserve list.
In fairness, last year at this time Hayden was just getting back on the football field after he suffered a near-fatal injury at the University of Houston toward the end of his final collegiate season. On Tuesday, he was right in the middle of the Raiders first team practice.
“But now, I’m great, I’m feeling a whole lot better,” Hayden said. “I’ve been lifting, working out. I actually got a whole offseason in, so I’m ready for the season to start.”
Hayden missed even more time when than planned when he underwent a second surgery as a result of the ruptured vein he suffered at Houston. The second surgery was to remove scar tissue that bothered Hayden during practice.
“He’s light years ahead of where he was at this point last year,” coach Dennis Allen said Tuesday. “Not just from a physical standpoint, but really from a mental standpoint, too. He realizes now that everything’s going to be fine, he’s going to be OK, and now he can really focus on getting better as a football player.”
The hope is that Hayden develops well enough as a player to win one of the two starting spots, opposite Tarell Brown, with veteran Carlos Rogers covering the slot receiver.
“I like what I’ve seen out of DJ so far,” Allen said. “He still has a lot of things to learn, he’s still kind of a quasi-rookie out there, but I’m looking forward to his development and there are some good things in store for him.”
The Raiders selected Hayden in the first round of the 2013 draft. They did so in hopes Hayden would mature into a corner capable of hanging with the likes of Denver’s Demaryius Thomas and Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe.
“There was a reason why we took him where we took him last year,” Allen said. “We feel great about the player and we’re excited to see how he can develop last year.”
Hayden said last season that he looked forward to having an offseason to lift weights, add muscle and get adequately prepared for the grind of an NFL season.
By all accounts, Hayden made significant progress in that regard. He said he has gained some weight — in the five to 10-pound range, he estimated.
“When you look at how the league has gone with a lot of these big physical receivers, it’s hard to play the position without that functional strength, both in your upper body and your lower body,” Allen said. “So, he’s got the athletic skill to play the position.
“That was one of the things that we talked about in the offseason, what he needed to do to get stronger. He’s done a great job this offseason of putting his body in a position to have success and he’s got to continue to do that throughout the rest of the offseason and all the way through training camp.”
Hayden is so confident in how far he has come since last season that he wouldn’t mind there being a game this Sunday.
“I feel like not only do I have something to prove but I feel like we all have something to prove because of our season last year,” Hayden said. “We definitely got to do way much now. We’re way better than that. I just can’t wait to get this season going.”

— Remember David Ausberry, the wide receiver turned tight end who entered training camp as the favorite to replace Brandon Myers as the Raiders starting tight end last season?
If you forgot about Ausberry, that’s understandable. He missed all of last season with a shoulder injury and became even more of a forgotten man with the emergence of rookie Mychal Rivera as a legitimate tight end.
Today, Ausberry was quite visible during practice, as he ran routes, caught passes, made moves to get free from defenders and continued his quest to work his way back up the depth chart.
Allen said he doesn’t have a depth chart right now, so there’s no telling where Ausberry fits in right now.
“It’s been good to have David back out here,” Allen said. “He was a guy that we had high hopes for last year and unfortunately got hurt in that first preseason game.
“He’s a guy that, again, he’s got talent, he’s got ability especially as a receiving threat. So, he’s a nice piece to the puzzle and hopefully he’ll continue to develop and hopefully he’ll stay healthy and we’ll be able to use him this year.”

— With the restrictions by the Raiders on what media are permitted to report from the practice field, through Tweets, pictures, videos and stories, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to provide the kind of information that has been a staple for years.
For instance, we can’t tell you how the Raiders lined up along the offensive line in practice today, which wide receivers worked with the first-team offense or if any players got injured.
We no longer are allowed to Tweet or report about practice once a certain time window has elapsed. Therefore, we will report in general terms best we can and work for greater access.
Then again, it might not mean much right now which players are playing where, given Allen said he intends to take looks at players at multiple positions.
“We’re gonna take a look at a lot of different people in a lot of different areas because we got a lot of new players on this football team,” Allen said. “So, as we get a better feel for these guys and we get a better opportunity to work with them, we’ll settle in more on positions as we move along.”

— Wide receiver Greg Little is another one of those players jettisoned by another team that is keen upon showing that he still can be a productive player in the NFL.
He had his moments during his three seasons with the Cleveland Browns, mostly as the No. 2 behind Josh Gordon. However, the Browns parted ways with Little earlier this offseason. The Raiders wasted little time placing a waiver claim on Little.
“Greg’s a guy that has a lot of talent,” Allen said. “He’s a big, physical receiver, he can run and there’s a lot of upside to Greg. A lot of times, you have guys that the initial situation that they’re in, they don’t necessarily flourish in that situation and they need a fresh start, a new start.
“We provide that opportunity for him. It’s a good marriage because we’re looking for some receivers who can step up and make plays for us. It will be a good opportunity for him.”
James Jones was brought in via free agency, to go with returners Denarius Moore, Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, Brice Butler and Juron Criner. Little has a chance to carve out some playing time on a receiving corps that is relatively young and inexperience and without a proven No. 1.


Steve Corkran

  • RaiderJesus

    If God deems it he will play.

  • Im giving him a chance but if he struggles early and often DA needs to junk Schaub and take the Carr out the garage

  • Al_is_theraiders

    really is anyone surprised about pick 6 master schaub?

  • MrMatusak

    That would be normal at this time of year. Like Drew’s attitude. I think Drew will play through the first 5 to 6 games. If he gets hurt what’s the big deal. We are in better shape this year at running back than we’ve been in years. McFadden staying relativity healthy would be gravy on the beef.

  • MrMatusak

    Why are you bringing that up. Do you look forward to him falling?

  • Myopinion

    I’m hoping Taiwan can become a good corner for us. Seems like he has all the tools to be a nice slot corner. And he could give us an extra roster spot. Greg Jenkins too, I’m hoping he steps up. We really don’t have any quick little wrs and if he can get better with his returns that would really help out the 53 too.

  • RaidO


    LOL first practice…continuing were he left off.

  • #4 is Stacked…..

  • seymour bush

    New post. Losers.

  • MrMatusak

    What I like more than anything is that Reggie McKinsie addressed the lines. That’s were a great team is built from.

  • Al_is_theraiders

    because he sucks as soon as we get a real qb we can win…

  • Howard Benner

    That would be like getting hit by lightening; twice! Or eaten by a grizzly bear & a polar bear. . .

    Both are factored to occur more often than winning the lotto. . .

    A player that has yet to last through an entire 16 game NFL regular season, one more year removed from his rookie campaign? I would think the chances of his survival exponentially decrease. . .

    Not that i wish failure upon him. . .but my propensity for pragmatism. . is my first response. . .

    Better get another first responder. . .

  • Howard Benner

    C’mon, man. . .that’s spin control to reinforce “we’re trying to find the best combo” speak. . .

    Nobody’s lying. . .he’s merely attempting to circumvent conclusions from mediots. . .& bloggers like yourself. . .

    Anarchy won’t reign supreme until @ least halftime of the third pre season game. . .

  • CrawDaddy

    Good afternon nation. Great day to be a Raider fan. Shut out to P-Man and Raider O.

  • Howard Benner

    They think they are the CIA on a counter espionage op. . .

    Paerhaps they should be deployed in the middle east. . .or eastern Europe. . .

    Hs anyone ever seen DA reading Tom Clancy?!

  • Howard Benner

    Non story. . .nice job catching mediot reports. . .

    Back to reality, already in progress. . .

  • Howard Benner

    The mere mention betrays. . .I was going to indicate “thought process. . .”

    Flat line. . .crickets. . .reactionary response! Yes, that’s it!


  • Howard Benner

    Not too deep. . .

  • bug squasher

    Look at it this way we have good cbs!!

  • WolfyYYZ

    “We have a top-10 QB”

    Does D.A. take us all for saps?

  • All the Raindrops

    I want to see Carr in week 1. The schedule just gets harder so might as well put him in early. Give him the reps. They said he’s the most NFL ready QB in the draft, so why wait?

  • Scotty Turner III

    You wait because he isn’t ready and if you want to win. All the hate Schaub makes me laugh. Is Eli Manning better than Schaub based on one season of work ? If so then Eli sucks bad after throwing 27 int’s. It was one season for Schaub on a terrible team he will look really good with this stable of big WR’s and a running game. Glad we dumped the stupid ZB scheme too.

  • Scotty Turner III

    You guys are clueless wanting a rook at QB insures a less than 6 win season. Give Schaub a chance or did you want us to trade for Eli instead lol.

  • Scotty Turner III

    He got me then. All bs aside he was the best out there available unless of course you wanted Eli Manning ? You see what I did there ? I really don’t understand the hate for Schaub by Raider fans , maybe too much TP love ? If so then that’s wasted love because a running QB who can’t throw is never going to amount to anything in this league. 🙂

  • Scotty Turner III

    Just for kicks and giggles you people do understand that a 9-7 record is possible right ? Jets , Browns , Texans , Rams , Dolphins , Bills , Cards equal seven teams of which the Raiders could beat at the minimum 5 of them maybe six.

    Now factor in that any of the other good teams left could have a fail season because it always happens and at the least get a split within the division and 9 wins are easy. probably could split with the Bolts and Chiefs easily and heck maybe even the Donkeys. This team is looking good with the WR’s and RB’s albeit the RB’s are all made of glass except for Reece lol. This is looking real good because the defense was laready decent and now has been reenforced.

  • WolfyYYZ

    Name any of these QB’s you’d rather have than Schaub (this list is in order of 2013 passing yards, this isn’t my ranking of QB’s overall):

    Big Ben
    Eli Manning
    Russell Wilson
    Alex Smith
    Chad Henne
    Geno Smith
    Nick Foles
    Jay Cutler
    Mike Glennon
    Ryan Fitzpatrick

    That’s 28 QB’s. You can make an argument for Schaub over Dalton, Carson, Bradford, Glennon, Alex Smith & Geno Smith. But of this entire list I can only put Schaub ahead of Fitzpatrick and & Chad Henne.

    That makes him at best a top-20 QB, and realistically more around a top-25 QB.

    Top-10 just sounds ignorant

  • rioderek

    You’re correct Matt Scrub is not the answer at the QB position. The pick 6 thing is in his head for good.

  • Scotty Turner III

    It’s easier to name the ones I wouldn’t want , Peyton , Romo , Flacco , Stafford , Tannehill. The reason I put Peyton while being probably one of the greatest ever in the regular season I wouldn’t want him on a playoff team.

  • WolfyYYZ

    We overpaid for veterans well after FA kicked off that are past their prime and/or other teams didn’t want. Our QB was benched on a team that ended up with the #1 draft pick.

    I also don’t understand how Year 3 of the Reggie/D.A. regime is now being called year 1 of the rebuilding process? How do you get 2 free years?

    Raiders are my team, I’m not a hater in any sense but I’m definitely not a homer to the “hype”

  • Scotty Turner III

    This may be year three but it’s really year one. You do understand the garbage that had to be thrown out right ? Name one player besides Wheeler that Reggie cut from this team that went on to be better somewhere else. There simply were not many football players on this team. Not to mention all the draft picks traded away and others thrown away on players picked that amounted to zero. It’s no hype it’s for real the Raiders are starting to have football players on the roster. If you can’t see what is trying to be done then you’re like most Raider fans and think being mediocre at 8-8 was great. But we are entitled to our opinions.

    Myself i’d be really upset if Reggie and DA aren’t allowed to finish this.

  • Scotty Turner III

    Geno Smith ? really lmao

  • WolfyYYZ

    Mike Mitchell
    Des Bryant
    Stevie Brown
    Matt Shaughnessy

    That’s not including the Veldheer debacle and Lamarr Houston.

    Then there’s Reggie’s drafting. Name 1 player outside of these other than Sio Moore that’s made a significant impact:

    Tony Bergstrom
    Miles Burris
    Jack Crawford
    Juron Criner
    Chrito Bilukidi
    Nathan Stupar
    D.J. Haden
    Menelik Watson
    SIO MOORE (only guy)
    Tyler Wilson (HOLY CRAP!)

    Nick Kasa
    Latavius Murray
    Mychal Rivera
    Stacy McGee
    Brice Butler

    David Bass

  • Ronin559

    Rivera showed a lot of promise in his rookie season, Burris was the top defender before he got injured, Crawford is a good rotational guy who keep improving. Butler, Murray will need one more season to develop. Its not like these guys are high round picks, what do you expect from guys that are drafted outside the top 100.
    Watson and Hayden will come around, they may not be all pro players but will be solid contributers once they get past their health issues. and dont forget, they came from an overall weak draft calss.

  • WolfyYYZ

    Burris was the top defender before he got injured???

    HAHAHA. He ranked LAST, yes absolute LAST by ProFootball Focus among all outside linebackers his rookie year. What a pick by Reggie!

    Reggie and D.A. have done absolutely nothing in my opinion to deserve any credit.

  • nolarick

    Focus Schmocus – my eyes told me that Burris got after it. Rookie mistakes are OK if you’re a rookie. Dude is a high motor guy with good football smarts and good physicals. HOFer? Prolly not. Stud? Definitely. I’m pulling for Miles, big time.

  • WolfyYYZ

    Reggie is garbage, even cork agrees:

    “I have banged that drum for two years. People want to give Reggie McKenzie a free pass for two years. Not me. He should have done the entire purge in 2012 and added more core players than he did the past two seasons.by scorkran May 29 at 3:14 PM”

  • WolfyYYZ

    More from Cork:

    Bergstrom, Crawford, Burris, criner. Anything at all from that draft?by Dr Robert May 29 at 3:24 PM

    Special teams players and depth, at best, as of now.by scorkran May 29 at 3:24 PM

  • WolfyYYZ

    Stick to your day job, NolaRick.

  • Ronin559

    Except the guys purged were on the books until 2013, so even if you started the purge in 2012 RM wouldnt have been able to sign many players anyways. Its all about the Cap Numbers.

  • Dean Johnson.

    They would have to win all 7 of those games you listed to go 9-7 because they have 7 guaranteed losses this year to: Pats, Seahawks, 49ers, twice to Broncos and once each to Bolts and Chiefs. You said they will win 5 minimum…which I think 5 maximum. They will more likely end up to be 6-10 or 7-9.

  • Dean Johnson.

    Scotty, like I said, the best you can hope for this season is 6 or 7 wins anyway…no matter who starts.