Originally written on Thoughts from the Dark Side  |  Last updated 11/3/14

Earlier this season we saw the rise of Darrius Heyward-Bey to levels we had not seen before in his career. Now, suddenly he is the forgotten man in Oakland while Denarius Moore is suddenly the go to receiver. This change didn't happen gradually, it seemed to change overnight, much to everyone's surprise. But the reason is not hard to see.

Darrius Heyward-Bey has been the Raiders' number one receiver since the day he first set foot on the field in Silver and Black. He was an Al Davis speed guy and therefore this seventh overall pick was going to see the field as often as humanly possible, regardless of how much or how little it was deserved.

The coaching staff, knowing that DHB was going to be in the starting lineup, found his skill set as an underneath possession type receiver with the speed to take those short passes the distance. This season he was finally starting to put his talents together and the result was a career high in receptions and yards just seven games into the season.

His skills perfectly meshed with Jason Campbell's because Campbell is the type of quarterback who is known to check down and look to short passes as a kind of security blanket. He doesn't like to take a lot of chances downfield. These two made for a great combination. The receiver who has found his niche in short yardage and the quarterback to likes his quick slants and comebackers.

It took a few games into the season for the two to begin heating up but in week 4 they caught fire when the two connected four times for 115 yards. It was the most receiving yards in a game of DHB's career. And it was the last game for which Al Davis was alive.

The Raiders were in Houston to face the Texans the day Davis passed. The next day, DHB made his late owner proud once again when he caught seven passes for 99 yards and a touchdown helping the Raiders beat a tough Texans team. The Campbell/Heyward-Bey connection was alive and well.

That combination was disrupted the next week at home against the Browns when Campbell broke his collarbone. DHB had 82 yards receiving in that game catching passes from both Campbell and Kyle Boller.

Just two days later the Raiders acquired Carson Palmer in trade from the Bengals. And the Raiders would face the Chiefs in their final game before their bye week. That game saw an offense that was geared for Jason Campbell but with Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer lining up behind center. That was a recipe for disaster, however, Darrius continued to have success; pulling in five catches for 89 yards.

That game happened on October 23 and it was the last time DHB recorded a catch.

During the bye week Carson Palmer brought in an entirely new skill set and Hue Jackson has tailored his receiving corps to cater to that skill set. Palmer opens the Raider offense to the long ball. And since DHB has never been able to handle catching the long ball, he has not been on the field much.

If Al Davis were still alive, DHB would very likely still be a starter regardless of his not fitting with Palmer's abilities. Hue would be forced to make it work and essentially continue to try and fit a square peg in a round hole. But in recent weeks Hue has made it very clear that this Raider team is no longer business as usual.

Enter Denarius Moore.

This rookie dazzled in training camp. He made some of the most spectacular catches I've seen from any receiver, let alone a rookie fifth round pick. Those talents had not been fully on display through the first seven games of the season. With the notable exception of his 5 catch, 146 yard performance in the week two loss in Buffalo. In every other game he averaged just over one catch per game for 11 yards. He also had zero catches twice.

After week seven came the bye week. So from the time Carson Palmer was brought on board, to his first full game, he had nearly three weeks to get to know all his receivers. Three weeks is more than enough time to discover who he favors and who he trusts. The two at the top of his list are Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore.

Hue also liked what he saw from these three and come the game against the Broncos, Carson had Denarius and Jacoby as his starting receivers. Jacoby led the Raiders in receiving that day with 5 catches for 105 yards. Jacoby was targeted six times in the game. That seems like a decent amount until you realize Denarius was targeted 12 times in the game. That leaves little doubt who Palmer trusts most among his new receivers. Moore would come down with 4 of those passes for 61 yards.

Palmer had this to say of targeting Denarius in the game against the Broncos:

"My reads have taken me there a lot, but also the position he plays, he's most consistently at that spot. Where the Z-receiver spot is a handful of guys, the F-receiver spot is a handful of guys, and really, Denarius is the X, with a backup also, but I've had a lot of time on task with him and he's a special talent for sure. The X-receiver in any offense gets quite a few more targets, and he will get in this offense also."

In last week's win over the Chargers, Denarius showed Palmer and the rest of the world just why his new quarterback has such trust in him. He pulled down 5 catches for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was targeted seven times in the game. No other wide receiver saw more than 2 targets. Ford went out early with a sprained foot or he would have seen more action as Palmer's second favorite target.

In the process, Palmer threw 5 passes that went for more than 25 yards—something Jason Campbell was rarely known to do. Three of those five passes went to Denarius (46, 33T, 26T) and two of them for touchdowns.

"He can be as good as he wants to be." Said Palmer of Moore. "That catch he made in the long fade was amazing. He ran some great routes. He has great hands. He has everything you need to be a successful receiver. It just depends on how great he wants to be, but I'm excited about him. He's as special talent and the sky's the limit for him."

In the two games since Palmer has taken over this team, DHB has been targeted one time, with zero catches while Denarius has been targeted 19 times with 9 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns. That is an average of 92 yards per game. In the four games leading up to the bye week, DHB was averaging 96 yards per game while in those same games Denarius was averaging one catch for 8 yards per game.

For this Raiders offense it's out with the old regime—Jason Campbell and Darrius Heyward-Bey—and in with the new regime—Carson Palmer and Denarius Moore.

Follow me on Twitter @LeviDamien or befriend me on Facebook.



Bears to bench Jay Cutler, start Jimmy Clausen

Wes Welker once pulled funny UGG prank on Tom Brady

Wil Myers heads to Padres in 11-player, 3-team trade

Bo Pelini calls Nebraska AD a ‘c–t’ and ‘p-ssy’

49ers release Ray McDonald

Take your pick: Colin Kaepernick or Derek Carr


Reports: Michigan makes huge offer to Harbaugh

Heat lose a key player with McRoberts out for rest of season

Belichick: Ryan is 'buttering me up' with Hall of Fame praise

Marshall: Bears need to gel and do some kumbaya

Red Sox appear content with rotation despite lack of true ace

Iguodala gets technical for mocking Conley travel

Report: Celtics in serious trade talks involving Rondo

WATCH: Brandon Jennings makes mind-boggling play

WATCH: Drake intros Raptors on 'Drake Night'

Brian Billick owns Browns fan over Johnny Manziel criticism

WATCH: Did Flyers' Giroux wipe boogers on linesman’s back?

Royals sign Edinson Volquez to 2-year deal

12 candidates to replace Paul Chryst at Pitt

Brad Halsey claimed he was on cocaine for Bonds record HR

Wade Miley confident in health, diet after trade from D-Backs

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson lead in 2014 athlete Google searches

Max Scherzer next domino to fall in free agent market

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Brian Billick owns Browns fan

C's in serious trade talks about Rondo

Pelini has profane words for Nebraska AD

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Four can't-miss match-ups in NFL's Week 16

RG3 quits social media for season

Each NFL division’s MVP

Five NFLers who must step up in Week 16

Most impressive college hoops teams

Five reasons why FSU is going to win the CFB Playoff

Boxer admits to dive in Rourke bout

FCC heard about Brady's swearing?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.