Del Rio: Time To “See How Well We Did” Developing Secondary

Raiders’ head coach Jack Del Rio has high hopes for his defense, but he’s not naive. He knows the defensive unit that has the most to prove. “The big key for us is going to be how our back end does,” Del Rio said earlier today on Sirius XM Radio. “There wasn’t a lot of opportunity for us to really upgrade the secondary. We really chose to develop the young guys that we have and we’ll see how well we did.”

Del Rio continues to believe in DJ Hayden, and defended him as a “guy that’s under the microscope every day with our local media because he was a first-round pick.”

While Hayden has struggled to meet the expectations that come with being drafted 12th overall, Del Rio sees a skill set in Hayden that can still translate to success. “The guy is really talented, he’s got good feet and comes out and he applies himself every day and I see him getting better, better, and better.”

Hayden had some success in preseason, but the consensus seems to be that TJ Carrie, whom Del Rio compared to Denver’s Chris Harris, has earned the title of the team’s most reliable cornerback. According to Pro Football Focus, Carrie was the Raiders’ highest rated cornerback in preseason (+4.6), and third highest rated defender on the team.

Nevertheless, Del Rio appears to be prepared for more growing pains. Raiders’ cornerbacks have combined for a total of 15 regular season starts, but the good news is that Hayden and Carrie have stayed healthy. The offseason process has gone according to plan. All that remains now, as Del Rio put it, is to “see how well [they] did.”

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