For any free agent, it can be hard to come into a new team and make an immediate impact. But after signing a three-year contract in March, Casey Hayward made a name for himself as a Charger on Sunday.
In the team's 38-14 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the cornerback had two picks on the day. The pair of interceptions were the first by a Charger in a half since 2011 and were two of three total turnovers in the win.
"That builds confidence," Hayward said. "We had three turnovers today but I'm pretty sure we could have a few more. I think hopefully next week, we'll capitalize on some of the mistakes."
His first pick was a nifty pass breakup that Jason Verrett ended up deflecting back into Hayward's arms. The pick ended up in points for the Bolts offense as they scored seven plays later. The second, was a goal-line interception where number 26 stepped in front of the Jags receiver to make the play and ran the ball back 31 yards.
"We talked a lot about technique," he added. "Last week, I played pretty fair, but there were some technique things I could work on. Playing with proper technique (was) what I was trying to lock in on this week and (it) actually helped me out this week! (Defensive Backs Coach) Ron Milus comes to me every time I come to the sideline and says, "Play with technique, Casey! Play with technique!" And I got him today. He reminds me to play with technique and that came in handy today."
From training camp through the preseason, it was clear Hayward had the ability to make a big play, it was only a matter of time before he did. Hayward attributes his high level of play to his teammates for welcoming him as Charger with open arms and adds that their selflessness is what makes the unit work so seamlessly.
"Last week, Jason (Verrett) got a phenomenal pick and everybody (told him), 'Good job!' but everybody else was like, 'Who's next?' That's how it was today. Once I had my first one, everybody was like, 'Who's next?' And I'm pointing at (Brandon Flowers) saying 'You're next to get one!' I ended up getting another one, but everyone still kept asking who's next. That's the mentality we come with in the secondary."
As for how Hayward and the secondary can continue with Sunday's level of play? Go back, watch the film and try to figure out how to sustain holding a team scoreless.
"No one is going to have a perfect game but we can watch things and correct them. For the next game, I think we'll be better. We can't give up late touchdowns. They got 14 points in the fourth quarter, and they were in two-minute mode all the time. We just have to find a way to hold (the opponent) to no points."