Cornerback Tyler Hall made quite the first impression in the Silver and Black back in Denver.
As the defensive line got pressure on Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, he began to flush out of the pocket to the right side of the field. Hall lurking around the line of scrimmage, sprinted at full speed towards Wilson, who couldn't see him coming from the blind side. Within seconds, the practice squad cornerback – who had just been elevated to the roster a day before – got his first NFL sack.
"It was just doing my assignment," Hall said. "Pretty much the tight end, my main receiver, blocked. So I was just making sure no screen came out the backfield and nothing came out. So I just added on."
Along with the sack, Hall totaled three tackles in the Week 11 win. His play against the Broncos earned him another activation against the Seahawks, nearly doubling his snap count in that game.
Hall's on-the-field production in games and practices has been appreciated in the locker room and by the coaching staff. The former Wyoming cornerback was signed to the active roster Tuesday, with Anthony Averett placed on injured reserve in a corresponding move.
"Tyler has been up a couple of times. It's just rather than keep him on the practice squad and elevate him again, I think he's done enough to earn the right to be on the roster," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said Wednesday. "He's played in the last few games and that's the intention going forward. So credit to him in what he's been able to do. [We] just like the way he's competed and played. We'll expect the same from him this week."
This opportunity for Hall in Las Vegas comes after playing a combined 13 games for the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angles Rams the previous two seasons. The nickel cornerback was signed to practice squad in October.
The Silver and Black coaching staff has been vehement about players earning their playing time in practice, whether they're practice squad players, rookies or Pro Bowlers. In the eyes of defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, Hall's done a lot of small good things that have accumulated in him seeing the field the past two Sundays.
"He's been diligent. He's working hard in terms of studying, all the extra time studying," Graham said. "His skill-set: he's sticky in coverage, he has physicality. He showed up in the run game. I know statistically, everybody wants to talk about the sack. But the play that stuck out the most to me was the two-yard gain on the run when he filled in the B-gap.
"That's what we look for, in terms of Dave [Ziegler] and Josh [McDaniels] as they put the roster together – defensive backs who are tough, physical, and that could tackle. That showed up from him, and it was encouraging to see."
In his third NFL stop, a factor that immediately appealed to Hall about the Raiders is how tight-knit the locker room is.
He said the warm welcome he's received from his teammates and coaching staff has aided his progression made in the past month. As Hall continues to cement himself in the Silver and Black, his gritty mentality grinding on the practice squad hasn't changed.
"Just put my head down and keep working. That's the only way you can get better is keep working. So, that's what I came in and did, just kept working and let the cards fall where they [may]."
View director of photography Michael Clemens' top picks of black and white photos from the Raiders' Week 12 win against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field.