The Raiders are a mystery. Rarely do you find a professional franchise this side of North Korea as shrouded in secrecy as the Oakland Raiders. Everything from injuries to coaching hires all is kept secret until the final hour.
During his two plus years in Oakland Darrius Heyward-Bey has spent time behind the black cloak that conceals most Raider happenings. His rookie year was more or less shutdown for the balance after starting every game he had played in to that point. His mystery injury was never fully addressed and most speculated that his deactivation was more related to lack of production than health concerns.
2011 got off to a similar start for Hey-Bey. Until today the man Raider Nation is dying to see breakout had hardly participated in many camp activities. Yet again the reasoning for DHB’s absence from most drills was…you guessed it…a mystery.
Whether it was a toothache or another nagging hamstring, Heyward-Bey was largely inactive. According to Steve Corkran Heyward-Bey looked sharp running routes and even made a couple plays. For good measure he also got stripped of the rock dropped a pass. What else would you expect?
Darrius Heyward-Bey is at the crossroads.
In his first two seasons DHB has just one 100-yard receiving game to his name. More importantly he has yet to show the ability to step up and become a legit #1 receiver in the National Football League.
As it stands Louis Murphy, Jacoby Ford and even the oft injured Chaz Schilens have all shown much more than DHB. Now another threat has emerged. Rookie Denarius Moore is quickly becoming a folk hero around Raider Nation though he has yet to play a single snap of pro football.
Each day another eye witness comes forward with rousing talk of all he amazing things Moore is doing in practice.
Each day Heyward-Bey must surely know this season could be his last chance in Oakland.
Should another receiver leapfrog Heyward-Bey then simple logic would dictate his true value is out of sync with his paid value. In other words, no team in the NFL needs a 4th wide receiver making almost as much as the three men ahead of him combined.
Heyward-Bey couldn’t have made his 2011 debut at a better time. With the first preseason game looming and another rookie gaining ground on his job, the time for DHB is now or never. Though he was handed the starting job, he’s going to have to earn his time on the field now. Not even Al Davis can justify the likes of Jacoby Ford or even Denarius Moore sitting on the pine while DHB runs aimless routes on the field. Should DHB again get the nod over more productive players that would truly be an inexplicable mystery…even by Raider standards.