Sunday in Tennessee, cornerback David Amerson started in place of regular DJ Hayden. Amerson, a waiver-wire pickup for the silver and black, played remarkably well. Hayden, a former first-round pick, saw just five snaps in the victory.
Playing his way into a starting role, Amerson recorded one interception and six passes defended against the Titans — he was guilty of at least one of quarterback Marcus Mariota’s three touchdown passes, but also saw about 95 percent of the attack through the air. Oakland’s defense allowed only 218 passing yards in the game.
“Amerson played excellent,” cornerback TJ Carrie said. “Really effective at the point of attack.” Carrie is likely to remain Amerson’s partner across the field, assuming head coach Jack Del Rio makes the change permanent. It might be difficult to go back to Hayden — Amerson was on the field for 59 of 62 defensive snaps during the game.
“Outstanding performance,” Charles Woodson said.
Following the game, Del Rio insisted he wasn’t taking away Hayden’s job, but rather said that Amerson had earned the start — “It’s not so much about DJ as about rewarding players that have played the best,” he said. The only snaps Hayden saw were during Tennessee’s final offensive possession of the game.
The spot of the No. 3 cornerback for next weekend’s contest versus the Chiefs remains unknown, but it’s difficult to not let Amerson start that game, too. On Sunday, T.J. Carrie saw 98 percent of the defensive snaps on his end of the field and Neiko Thorpe saw 58 percent manning the slot. Looking at those numbers, if Del Rio decides to continue with Amerson, it could likely indicate Hayden’s tenure in Oakland is over.