Three and Out: Hayden's sneaky move; Gaither thrown into fire
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor had a nice short touchdown pass during camp Monday. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Free safety Charles Woodson and strong safety Tyvon Branch may form a formidable unit in Oakland. (USA Today Images)
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Practice summary: Defense won the day in an intense, physical practice. The defensive front was especially dominant, and the secondary prevented big plays with tight coverage all around. Tyvon Branch really stood out against the run and pass. Free safety Charles Woodson is free to take chances in coverage and committing to stop the run with Branch there to back him up.
Left guard Lucas Nix, in a heated position battle with Tony Bergstrom, went down with an apparent left knee injury during an 11-on-11 drill. In that instance, Nix was working with the second team while Bergstrom worked with the starters. Nix was down for an extended period while being examined by trainers, but eventually walked off the field under his own power. Raiders coach Dennis Allen didn’t consider Nix’s injury a major setback, but the injury's severity hasn't been determined.
Allen praised his offensive line’s work over two practices in pads, saying that increased physicality will benefit the offense in pass protection and blocking for the run.
[REWIND: O-line enjoys first practice in pads]
Raiders receivers had a better day after two straight days struggling with drops. Rod Streater continues to impress, as do young players Greg Jenkins and Conner Vernon.
Offensive play of the day: QB Terrelle Pryor showcased his athleticism in a short, yet well-earned touchdown pass. He scampered free of the pocket, pump faked and threw a strike to the end zone. The play combined Pryor’s improvisational skills with a smart decision -- such choices that have become more frequent this camp.
Defensive play of the day: Branch had an excellent day, and showcased his pass coverage skills by breaking up a pair of passes, one intended for Juron Criner and the other thrown for Marcel Reece in the end zone.
Rookie report: D.J. Hayden tried to wear a normal black jersey to practice, but a coach caught him and put him back in the red non-contact jersey he’s worn throughout camp. While his reps are limited, Hayden plays physical when on the field. ... OLB Sio Moore played with the first team on the strong side, but made a rookie mistake by missing an assignment that gave a touchdown to TE Richard Gordon. … Allen said TE Nick Kasa is “way behind” after missing the offseason program. That gives Mychal Rivera a leg up in the fight for playing time at tight end.
Not in the slot: Allen said that Hayden would not be used as a nickel back this season. He plans on keeping Hayden on the outside, using Joselio Hanson and Tracy Porter in the slot. Both players have experience playing the difficult position.
On the sideline: WR Jacoby Ford missed his Monday’s practice after sustaining a muscle strain during Sunday’s workout. Allen said Ford’s injury was minor and considered his absence a “precautionary deal.” Injuries are always of concern for Ford, who missed most of the last two seasons with foot problems. … OLB Sio Moore returned to work after missing Sunday’s practice, but many others did not. LB Kaluka Maiava, LB Miles Burris (knee), WR Sam McGuffie, DT Pat Sims, LB Billy Boyko and OT Menelik Watson sat out another day. Watson remains on the non-football injury list. … Allen said Nix, DT Vance Walker, DL Brandon Bair, and NT Johnny Jones suffered injuries during practice. … Allen will not comment on specific injuries during training camp.
Quote of the day: “It feels good to focus only on football. I’m not worried about anything right now, not school or doing chores or anything else in the world. It’s so nice to put all that other stuff behind me. “ – Cornerback D.J. Hayden on not worrying about his health