The third preseason game is referred to as the dress rehearsal for the regular season. This Friday, the Raiders will host the Chicago Bears and should see first round pick D.J Hayden on the field for the first time. Hayden has been cleared for contact after abdominal surgery this offseason and is set to make his debut.
“I thought Hayden looked fine,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s still got some work to do. It’s going to be good to get him in some game action this week, let him go out there and play. When you’ve missed the time that he’s missed as a rookie, it puts you a little bit behind from a mental aspect, but physically I think he looks just fine.”
The return could not come at a better time for the Raiders. Tracy Porter has looked sub-par in the first two preseason games and was helped off the field against the New Orleans Saints with a groin injury. Hayden is expected to step right into the fire with the first team defense at cornerback.
“I’m looking forward to my first NFL game,” Hayden said. “I can’t wait to get out there and play.”
In the Raiders second preseason game against the Saints, quarterback Drew Brees carved up the secondary, who were hurt by a lack of pass rush. He finished the game 14-18 for 202 yards and a touchdown, while leading the offense on several scoring drives. He picked on Porter for several big plays. Hayden can expect to be targeted by the Bears offense because of his lack of experience. The most important thing will be to get in game experience with the other members of the first team defense.
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