ALAMEDA _ If DJ Hayden gets back on the field on Sundays, it will happen because of what he did Wednesday through Friday.
When Ken Norton Jr. was asked Thursday whether Hayden’s reaction to being benched in favor of David Amerson was a positive one, the Raiders defensive coordinator was terse and direct.
“It’s competition and we just want to keep stressing, you practice hard, you perform, you’ll play, and the same thing on the adverse side of it,” Norton said. “If you don’t practice and you don’t perform, you won’t play. We have a competitive group and it’s week to week.
“You play hard, you perform, and that’s what practices are for. You can’t waste your time in practice. It’s a time to get better.”
Hayden struggled virtually all season as the starting left cornerback. When the Raiders finally moved Amerson in to the starting lineup, Hayden dropped almost entirely out of the defensive backs rotation. Neiko Thorpe moved ahead of Hayden as the fifth defensive back and played 32 snaps. Hayden played only five snaps on defense and six on special teams.
According to stats tabulated Raiders coaches tape, Amerson has 18 passes defensed, twice as many as TJ Carrie, who ranks second with nine, while Charles Woodson has eight. In the Tennessee game alone, Amerson had six passes defensed _ one more than Hayden has in 10 starts.
— Center Rodney Hudson was on the field during the media window as the Raiders began practice Thursday. So was safety Charles Woodson, whose normal routine is to take Wednesday off and practice Thursday.