Heyward-Bey Gets A Rough Initiation

He finished the weekend by skipping practice, as he nursed a sore hamstring.  At one point before the muscle revolted, he dropped three straight passes.
But rookie receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey likely got the biggest splash of cold water in eyes that at some point could be blamed for his lack of production during his first snap against an NFL cornerback.
Nnamdi Asomugha.
Heyward-Bey did everything he was supposed to do.  And Asomugha was in place to prevent him from catching the ball.
“I came back,”and I just went, ‘All right, I’m not in college anymore,'” Heyward-Bey said, according to Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times.
And since Heyward-Bey could generate only 600 yards and change “in college” last season, that’s not an encouraging observation for Raiders fans.
Many teams have rookies practice only against other first-year players at their initial camp, preventing such “welcome to the next level, bitch” moments for guys who already are feeling nervous about their new jobs.
The challenge for each team is to decide whether to give the incoming players a chance to build confidence by competing against each other, or to throw them into the fray.
On one hand, it’s a good way to begin the process of smoking out a bust.
On the other hand, it’s a good way to begin the process of smoking out a bust.
Of any first-round pick who doesn’t play quarterback for the Detroit Lions, no rookie will be more scrutinized than Heyward-Bey.  He was the first receiver taken in the draft, ahead of Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, and Kenny Britt.
With Crabtree playing for the nearby 49ers, it’s safe to say that someone in the Bay Area media will be charting every aspect of their respective performances — catches, yards, touchdowns, and drops — on a regular basis.
No one expects Heyward-Bey to make a first-year impact like Randy Moss did in 1998.  But the decision of a team with unconventional methods and a recent history of questionable moves to make Heyward-Bey the seventh overall pick is prompting many to sit back and practice their delivery of the possible epitaph to his career.
“I told you so.”

39 responses to “Heyward-Bey Gets A Rough Initiation

  1. I laughed at this pick as well, but c’mon, the kid drops three passes and is being defended by one of the best corners in the NFL during a mini-camp (read: MINI-CAMP) practice and you’re already writing the epitaph on his career?

  2. “possible epitaph to his career.”
    for a guy who hasn’t played a single snap yet. brilliant.

  3. I think it is a great move to have the kid play against Aso. I’m sure that he came in with a chip on his shoulder determined to show that he can play (mistakenly thinking he is ready to dominate from day 1); he needs to learn that at this level everyone is fast.
    Playing against Nmandi in practice can only make him better. If he is too weak minded to handle that, he wouldn’t have been great, anyway.

  4. I don’t know. I kind of rely on the Raiders to make bad decisions. I think if they started to be the model of smart front office moves, it would shake my entire world view.

  5. This is probably the worst article I have ever read on any website, and I’m a Chargers fan.

  6. Just another sign of the Raiders’ propensity to turn Shinola into s***.
    I’ve never been so glad that I hate the Raiders…

  7. Most receivers in the entire league have a difficult time coming out on top in that match-up. Besides, most other teams will probably focus their best CB on Higgins, so what good does it do to put a shaky-handed rookie against the best cover corner in the game?

  8. Mike seriously, the kid is starting his career, and you’re writing the epitaph. Think you need to take a look at yourself in the mirror and realise that this site is read by thousands of people, and that it’s irresponsible of you to speak in such black and white terms about a kid who hasn’t yet had a chance to prove his critics wrong.

  9. I doubt many rookie WR’s in their second day of mini-camp practice would be successful against the best corner in the NFL. I’m disappointed by the article but not completely surprised based on the garbage the media is dumping on this kid.

  10. @shaun lowrie . . .
    i’ve already written his epitaph? really? is that what i said? that i’ve already written his epitaph?

  11. Florio dont judge his career on a weekend at MINI CAMP… where do you get off judging a guy who was being defended by a pro bowl player in Nnamdi Asomugha… he shuts down pro bowl receivers so i am pretty sure he can have his way with a rookie. lets see how Bey does against the 2nd worst pass defense in the NFL Chargers or 5th worst Chiefs… the AFC west only has 1 pro bowl corner or safety from last year and thats Nnamdi so i am sure Bey will have a good year (maybe not a Randy Moss year but who has had a year like that since him). Bey came out and said he wants Nnamdi covering him during practice so he can get better. speed kills and he has tons of it, so Florio go talk about Favre or something else. leave this kid alone till pre season when he goes up against non pro bowl corners…

  12. Florio, Florio, Florio… are we still upset about the time George Atkinson blew up Lynn Swann in the AFC championship game and called him soft? Seriously, where is all of this Raider hatred coming from. QB’s routinely avoid Asomugha because they can’t complete a pass against him. Just ask Jay Cutler. I am sure he would be far too willing to tell you how happy he is to not have to face him twice a year. Also, if you use some objectivity and read all of the mini-camp reports by the locals you would have read where the kid made some nice plays as well in the first two sessions, as well as the fact that about seven players sat out the last day for similar reasons. I guess you’re taking you attention off calling JaMarcus a fat bust and honing in on DHB. I’d have no problem with the commentary if you’d also aim that lens at Limas “Lame Ass” Sweed of your beloved Steelers who is looking a tad “busty” after his first year.

  13. Not to mention he’s catching passes from one of the strongest arms in the league, let just be happy jruss threw it where DHB could actually catch it and not 10 yards over his head.

  14. Jerry Rice dropped 15 passes in his rookie season….I imagine you would have written him off as well…

  15. I think its a mistake to go about against Aso so early in his NFL career. The man hasn’t caught a pass since the combine (not sure if he did or not) now he has to have his confidence crushed cuz he can’t go up against the best in the game.
    They should’ve started him out against guys his own style and then upgraded him to Aso in training camp. Let him get used to catching the football and running routes before it gets harder.
    You shouldn’t make a “bust” before he gets an opportunity to show prove himself (see David Carr), then call him a “bust” and blame it on him.

  16. Also Mike, before you pile on this kid like so many others have, go to the Raider’s website and watch his session with the press from this weekend. Yes, I will admit he is lacking something most receivers have… the usual butthole “me first” attitude. After you watch this kid talk, I’d be curious to see how intent you remain on trashing his career before it ever starts. I was skeptical of this pick, but after seeing and reading a few interviews with this kid I am impressed with his character and want to see him succeed.

  17. Any solidly built structure must begin on a stable base – removing any notion he may have had that speed = sucess in the NFL will allow him to start crafting his trade as a reciever. Or we get the joy of watching the impressive list of failed Raider draft picks induct one new member.

  18. I think it’s fair to mention how he’s doing. No one is saying that he’s going to continue on this track, but you would expect a top-10 pick to come in and be able to compete. No one is saying he should be dominating a top-5 corner in the league on day 1…but I didn’t see any reference to him even catching a ball (the link isn’t working for me, so maybe he did).
    I don’t know if he had 3 passes thrown at him, 5, 10, 100. If he had somewhere around 20 balls thrown his way and he didn’t catch a single one, and then he magically came up with an injury….well that doesn’t look good. If he had 3 balls thrown at him, that’s a different story. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile and I don’t care if you have Nnamdi Asamougha, Champ Bailey, and Ty Law, all in their primes, covering you. You’re bound to catch one sooner or later. It’s all a matter of context.
    Either way, while it may not mean alot, it would still be much better if he HAD caught a few passes. Can anyone who can link to the article let me know if he did?

  19. Unbelievable Mike Florio!! You must have great insight to judge a kid’s future from one minicamp. What are the lucky numbers for the national lottery? I could use a few bucks to take over this website and can you.

  20. I kind of like that they put him up against Aso. Think of it like a military bootcamp. They throw you into hard core training right away to toughen you up. No one expected him to burn Aso or catch every pass. Theyre just preparing him for life in the NFL. Let him get a taste of it now while its still mini camp so he knows what to expect and how to go about preparing for it.
    No one has yet labeled him a bust, everyone just feels he was drafted too early especially considering Crabtree was still available.

  21. WTF Florio? Is this PFT or BSPN? You sound like Crissy Carter bashing this kid. Way to stay objective in your reporting.

  22. I check out this “news” site for info, but am regularly pertubed at your bias towards the Raiders. Anything that happens with the Raiders is instantly negative. You have no reason to actually do any research, you just take one look at the situation and make up your mind.
    DHB goes against Asomough and obviously gets beat by the #1 CB in the NFL. Explain why no one passes the ball to Nnamdi’s side? It’s because he beats every one. You can take the best WR in the NFL and Nnamdi beats them nearly every single time.
    If you actually did some research you would’ve noticed he had a rock solid practice day on Friday which included some really nice catches against other CB’s on this roster not named Nnamdi. On Saturday the “rookie” in him came out.
    I look forward to seeing more negative comments about the Raiders in the future because you’ll continue to show you’re aligned with ESPN’s bias of the Raiders.

  23. “But the decision of a team with unconventional methods and a recent history of questionable moves to make Heyward-Bey the seventh overall pick is prompting many to sit back and practice their delivery of the possible epitaph to his career.”
    YOUR quote – not ours. Geez is that an idiotic remark.

  24. Florio writes “Many teams have rookies practice only against other first-year players at their initial camp, preventing such “welcome to the next level, bit..”
    You stay classy Florio, we all have become used to your level of professionalism and journalism.

  25. Things u don’t care to acknowledg:
    1. It was the practice first snap when Aso swatted the attempt to DHB. I think the janitor knew JRuss was going his way.
    2. It is May.
    3. Dhb looked prett good, if you watch some film. Don’t want to bother you to do some actual analysis and all, but you are really below reproach on this one.
    Mike , I used to think you were cool, now you are a tool. If you want to regain a sure of integrity, you have some actual reporting to do, not regurgitating the mediot fantasy of how things went.

  26. 4shortofa100 says:
    May 11th, 2009 at 11:46 am
    Raider fans are so reliable. Please, someone, bring up your history of EXCELLENCE.
    Back in 18-ought-eight, the Raiders were the pride of the, now defunct, RFL (Revolutionary Football League). Al Davis was a young, strapping lad, a mere 45 years of age, and had lost the Democrat-Republican caucus to Thomas Jefferson a mere four years earlier. After New Jersey became the last northern state to abolish slavery in 1804, Davis was forced to move the team to Kentucky, where his son, Jefferson (who would later lead the Confederate States of America), was born.
    This was a time of unbridled success for the Raiders, as they often battled against the Redskins, Falcons, Eagles, Bills, and yes, even the Dolphins. They won each and every match by lining up near the herd, flock, pod or village of their opponents, snapping the ball, and then unleashing volley after volley of unrelenting musket fire into their opponents until the opponent was unable to field a team and was forced to forfeit. Those were truly the glory days of the Raiders. Next time, I’ll tell you the tale of a young upstart who began to turn a few heads as he rose up the ranks of the organization. A young ruffian by the name of Lt. John Madden.

  27. “…preventing such “welcome to the next level, bitch” moments…”

  28. Sounds an awful lot like Troy Williamson. All the speed in the world, but can’t catch to save his life. Hopefully, that’s not the case for this kid, but sure sounds familiar…

  29. Meanwhile Mike Crabtree is STILL sitting out mini-camps and any kind of team activities with an injury.
    I’ll take the guy who plays and drops three passes, over the guy who never even suits up.

  30. I find it biased and funny at the same time, that all the high traffic NFL sites are going out of their way to report only the bad things about DHB’s first minicamp, yet when you dig deeper, you find out that he did better than most are being led to believe by the bias press.
    no, he didn’t have a spectacular mincamp, but he didn’t have the bad one all the idiots and sheep would like to believe. Nowhere I have I seen on this site, some of the great catches I read about , or his great adjustment to the ball that was being reported. The only thing the high traffic sites want to report, is that DHB dropped three passes in a row, and injured himself. Oh, how could I forget and the Aso deflection that wasn’t even all DHB’s fault.
    It’s like the media goes out of their way to fill Raiders haters cool aid cups.
    DHB will do just fine, and in the end, last longer than the highly overrate, undersized dive across the bay.
    Yes, I agree, there were two lineman I wanted on the board, and it may have been stupid for my team not to take them, but in the end, none of us, including the media, know as much as those running the show on an NFL team. Even those in Oakland. If you think you do, then why aren’t you working for one?

  31. I would have to say that you would get the same results if it was Crabtree against Nnamdi. Nnamdi is just that good and would eat both these rookies egos. You gotta give Heward-Bey a better chance before you kill him in the media over mini camp.

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