Familiarity with Gus Bradley helps
When the Las Vegas Raiders signed veteran cornerback Casey Hayward last month, many people thought he could be a candidate to play slot corner for the team.
But a month into Hayward’s time with the Raiders and it appears he will play mostly on the outside in 2021. Therefore, Hayward will either back up 2020 first-round pick Damon Arnette or start in his place.
It makes sense because Hayward hasn’t played nickel cornerback since he was with the Green Bay Packers. He joined the Chargers in 2016 has played only on the outside. Gus Bradley became the Los Angeles Chargers’ defensive coordinator in 2017 and Hayward has spent the past four seasons playing the outside under him.
So it only makes natural sense that Bradley will keep Hayward where he is familiar with him.
“I haven’t played inside in so long since I was in Green Bay, but if I was asked, I would do it. I feel like my role, whatever the team asks me to do from special teams to inside, outside, be a leader,” Hayward said this week at the team’s OTA session in quotes distributed from the team’s PR staff.
“Whatever they ask me to do, I can do. I’ve been doing it for a while at a high level, so whatever they ask me to do … “I’ve just been outside. I don’t really know too much inside, I haven’t played inside in a while. But like I said, if they ask me to do it, I can do it. I know the defense.”
Playing in Bradley’s system is something that appealed to Hayward, who prides himself in being a defensive leader.
“That’s always my goal. I’ve been like that since I’ve been with the Chargers as well,” Hayward said. “I was the oldest guy in the room. (laughter) I always had to have a veteran presence and veteran leadership and still be who I am. So, no matter … for the last five years, I’ve been the oldest guy in the room which is kind of crazy, so I always had to have that same presence and still do what I have to do. That’s the whole goal now. It’s the same way.”