Raiders CB Hayden closer, still not ready to return

Raiders CB Hayden closer, still not ready to return
August 16, 2014, 6:00 pm
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He’s getting closer, but again, it’d be pure speculation to say when I thought he’d be back on the field.
Dennis Allen

Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden still has some time to spend on the road to recovery. The second-year pro had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot approximately eight weeks ago, but he isn’t ready to return this upcoming week.

“I don’t expect that,” Allen said Saturday in a conference call with local press.

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Allen couldn’t offer a clear timetable for Hayden’s return. He did some light running on Aug. 10, but hasn’t done side work during a practice session open to the press since then.

“He’s getting closer, but again, it’d be pure speculation to say when I thought he’d be back on the field,” Allen said. “He’s continuing to rehab, he’s moving closer, but he’s still not ready to go.”

The Raiders could certainly use Hayden in the secondary. They’ve struggled against first-string quarterbacks, with Minnesota’s Matt Cassel and Detroit’s Matt Stafford completing a combined 14-of-16 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders first-team defense.

The pass defense has struggled in preseason games, though Allen isn’t worried at this point. He believe cohesion takes time with two new cornerbacks and a safety in Tyvon Branch who played one-plus games last season.

“It’s still an area that needs to be improved,” Allen said. “It’s not the finished product, but that’s not a huge concern of mine. I think when last year we were kind of in a little bit of the same boat. When you have so many new players and so many changing parts, it takes a little while to get that part of your defense down. It’s really not a concern of mine. Obviously, there are things that we’ve got to get better at, but when we get ready to kick the ball off (to start the regular season) against the Jets, I’m confident that we’ll play good defense."

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