Casey Hayward Raiders

2021 Raiders Rewind: Casey Hayward Was A Rock In The Secondary

Casey Hayward’s season with the Las Vegas Raiders was both surprising and satisfying for several reasons.

Hayward was signed after a down year for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020. Originally brought in to help the Raiders’ young secondary, he was slated to play slot corner and serve as the primary backup to starters Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette. That quickly changed, as we all knew the issues Arnette was having with underwhelming performances as a rookie. We won’t get into the off-field issues that also plagued him. After Mullen was injured, Hayward was promoted to CB2 and he quickly demonstrated why the Raiders signed him.

It was an amazing season that gave fans hope and reminded Hayward that he’s not done. The stats don’t look breathtaking, as he ended with 46 total tackles, three for loss, and one interception to go with nine pass deflections. The impact was seen throughout each game and in big moments, as he had over 700 plays before giving up a touchdown. He had some key moments that stood out all season.

Casey Hayward’s Key Moments

No. 1

In Week 3 versus the Miami Dolphins, the Raiders were down 14-0 and things were looking like they would get worse before they got better. In came Hayward and changed the game. With the Dolphins backed up, they inexplicably ran a quick pass in their endzone, and Hayward read it and tackled Jaylen Waddle for the safety. This sparked 25 straight points for the Raiders as they went on to win the game in overtime, in large part due to this play changing the momentum.

No. 2

In Week 2, the Raiders faced off with their old rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The game was close early on, and the Raiders eventually pulled away to take the victory. There was a moment early on that showed the impact that Hayward would have. In the second quarter, Hayward knocked a pass from the hands of Chase Claypool as he went for a touchdown. Hayward would eventually suffer an injury and miss time in the game. In the fourth quarter, the Steelers went to Claypool as Damon Arnette was covering, and Arnette was beaten on the play, and then as Claypool hit the ground, Arnette didn’t touch him. Claypool picked up about five yards more, and you immediately saw the difference between Hayward and Arnette.

No. 3

In Week 18, in what could’ve been the regular-season game of the year, the Raiders and Hayward’s former team, the Chargers, battled for a playoff spot. The game was a back-and-forth affair that had the eyes of everyone watching. In the fourth quarter, with momentum on the Raiders’ side, Justin Herbert was chased out of the pocket and launched a pass downfield. It was intercepted by Hayward and the stadium erupted. The Raiders would eventually win the game and make the playoffs.

Should the Raiders bring him back?

What happens with Hayward now that the offseason is about to be in full effect and the new coaching staff is coming in? He had a great bounce-back season and impressed throughout, but will that mean the new staff keeps him? He is no longer a young player at 32 and will be 33 by the time next season begins. Nevertheless, Hayward played well enough to warrant his retention and possibly help advance the Raiders to the postseason next year.

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*Top Photo: Getty Images/USA TODAY

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