Originally written on Thoughts from the Dark Side  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Seattle-seahawks-oakland

Darrius Heyward-Bey, the much maligned 7th overall pick from 2009 has been a conundrum for most of his 3 years in the Silver & Black. A likely first or high second round pick in 2009 even had Davis not reached for him with a top 10 selection, would likely still be a disappointment even if falling into the early second round based solely upon his numbers.

Heyward-Bey has struggled with being a “hands” receiver for most of his time in Oakland and, for all of his physical gifts – speed, size, a large body frame – he has a hard time coming down with difficult receptions and winning one on one matchups with defensive backs. Heyward-Bey has shown that he’s at his best when he can receive the ball closer to the line of scrimmage and use his speed and size to gain yards after the catch (YAC).

However for all of that, Heyward-Bey or DHB as he’s often called, has shown great work ethic, humility and a willingness to learn and has continued to grow each season he’s been with the Raiders culminating in a season that was within sight of 1000 yards receiving last year.

Many, myself included, thought that DHB’s skill-set would mesh well with Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp’s style of throwing higher percentage passes and looking to get YAC. Much of the throws that Knapp favors are shorter passes where the receiver can get positive yardage and look to make a first down.

While the season is still young, early returns are not promising.  Heyward-Bey has achieved, through two complete games in which he was the starter, to catch only 7 balls for a total of 84 yards, stats that many receivers beat in one game.  In fact, last week Brian Hartline alone caught 9 balls for 111 yards versus the Raiders.

Heyward-Bey’s catches and yardage is currently averaging an underwhelming 3.5 catches per game for an average of 42 yards per game which projects to 56 receptions for a mere 672 yards over the course of the season.

DHB was drafted as a deep threat receiver but so far this season he’s had only one reception over 20 yards – and it was only a 21 yard reception.  His other six have been 3 between 10 and 20 yards and 3 below 10 yards.  While much of the passing game’s issues are not his fault he hasn’t able to do much to help, either.

What’s more, QB Carson Palmer doesn’t appear to trust DHB in critical situations as much as other options – no surprising considering Heyward-Bey’s tendency to drop catchable passes.  In the Raiders numerous drives over the last two games, Palmer has looked to DHB only 3 times on a 3rd down.  The Raiders converted none of those 3 downs with two resulting in incompletions and one resulting in a 5 yard completion on a 3rd & 7 play.

It seems that, when push comes to shove Palmer would rather look to sure handed Derek Hagan, explosive Denarius Moore or safety outlets Darren McFadden and Brandon Myers over DHB.

To be fair, Palmer did look to DHB on a 4th down conversion that resulted in an in completion but drew a pass interference penalty that allowed the Raiders a first down.

I have no great answer on DHB. I don’t know why he disappears for long stretches in games or why Palmer seems to not look his way consistently.  Heyward-Bey has been targeted 13 times and has caught 7 of those, so almost half the balls that come his way do not get received.

The bottom line is that regardless of the reasons the team needs DHB to step up on the outside and come down with the balls that are thrown to him.  Until that happens the Raiders passing offense will continue to be uneven and, if opponents do not respect the passing game, the run game will also suffer.

What do you think?

For more Raiders news and analysis, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

John Farrell: Pitchers need an approved gripping substance

Cam Newton: Nobody has ever been who I'm trying to be

Bears cut Ray McDonald after domestic violence arrest

Report: Paul Pierce could opt out of contract, join Clippers

Report: NBA exploring moving start of Finals up

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Isaiah Thomas: Danny Ainge wants my input on free agents

Brian Matusz suspended eight games for substance on arm

Baseball players in the military: A tribute

'Free Tom Brady' rally draws about 150 Patriots fans

LeBron's triple-double leads Cavs to win in OT thriller

Report: Adrian Peterson will skip Vikings first OTAs

WATCH: Khris Davis trolls umps after controversial homer

Is Adrian Peterson leveraging himself out of the league?

Mascot creates controversy with 'Police Lives Matter' sign

The Talented Mr. Blatt

The curious case of Frank Kaminsky

Is the Cavs' Matthew Dellavedova a dirty player?

LeBron lifts Cavaliers to brink of Finals, but are they ready?

Will Phil Jackson give himself a chance to succeed with Knicks?

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

Federer unhappy with security after fan comes on court

WATCH: LeBron throws down ferocious dunk in traffic

WATCH: Al Horford ejected for elbowing Matthew Dellavedova

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Report: Pierce could opt out of contract

Could the NBA Finals be moved up?

The Talented Mr. Blatt

Is Dellavedova a dirty player?

Ballplayers in the military: A tribute

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

WATCH: LeBron's ferocious dunk in traffic

Kelly drops hint about ND offense

John Madden: Last SB play will 'torment' Carroll

Eight biggest surprises of the MLB season

Bryan Price ejected before first pitch

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

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

Company Info
Help
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.