After rocky start, DHB drawing praise in Indy


During free agency, Colts owner Jim Irsay generated intrigue via a series of tweets suggesting that the team was targeting a big-name receiver.  It turned out to be Darrius Heyward-Bey, a top-10 draft pick who never really lived up to his potential and hype in Oakland.

That could be changing.  Heyward-Bey is drawing strong reviews in Indy, despite reportedly having five drops in his first two days of Colts camp.

“He had two back-to-back really good days,” coach Chuck Pagano told reporters on Thursday, “so I think like anything else, you make a catch here, you make a catch there and yesterday opened with a big play and so I think from there he is just starting to obviously feel more comfortable in the offense terminology-wise, all the play calls, things like that and then he’s making plays whether it is big plays down the field, underneath, so I think from a confidence standpoint, a mental standpoint he is just getting more comfortable and obviously the chemistry is starting to grow between him and [Andrew] Luck.”

Heyward-Bey made six catches in practice on Thursday, and quarterback Andrew Luck says repetition is the key to getting the level of comfort necessary between himself and Heyward-Bey.

“You can throw in the summer and no one’s covering and those are important, too, but the more reps you can get in team and seven-on-sevens and one-on-ones, I think it’s just so vital to an offensive timing and rhythm and I think DHB with Reggie [Wayne] and T.Y [Hilton] knowing those guys for a year now, it’s been fun to get to go out and throw with them and really take that next step with those guys and hopefully keep on progressing with the wide receivers and all of them,” Luck said.

Heyward-Bey seemed to be on the verge of a breakout after gaining 975 receiving yards in 2011, his third NFL season.  Last year, however, his catches and yards dipped significantly, and the Raiders opted to get out from under the final portion of the pre-rookie wage scale contract he received as the seventh overall pick in 2009.

With Wayne, Hilton, and tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, Heyward-Bey gives the Colts a potent group of pass catches for Luck.  While Indy may still have a way to go to duplicate the days of Marvin Harrison, Wayne, Dallas Clark, and Marcus Pollard, having Luck throw the new guys the ball could help the new guys be viewed in the same light as the old guys.

37 responses to “After rocky start, DHB drawing praise in Indy

  1. @der I def laughed at that one. that sticky tar on the hands, bahaha! the squirrelly kid with alka seltzer: you want intimidation? I’ll SHOW you intimidation! grrrr! hahaha

  2. DHB is a hard worker and good guy, but he is a trackstar with brick hands. no hate either just seen it over & over while he was in Oakland. i think we will be seeing a lot of WR screens in Indy this year. imo thats where he’s the best in the open field so he can utilize that speed.

  3. He was improving in Oakland the last 2 seasons. Not a game-breaker but a 3-4 catches a game for 50/60 yds a game

  4. I thought he was starting to turn the corner 2 years ago.very talented just drops too many passes.but with a QB like Luck he may very well have the best year of his career.good luck DHB

  5. Well of CORSE he is doing better.. he just had to ditch that awful place that only gang members can Love..the raiders should be droped from the nfl. Go to California and see for yourself the gangs love the silver and hack all the real fans are embraced to claim that’s there team. It is sad..

  6. he didn’t have the chemistry with palmer that he had with campbell…great work ethic but because he catches mostly with body, he’s heavily dependent on the QB to get the ball right between the numbers. i haven’t seen too much of luck but if he can do that, and DHB can get the route right, watch out. i wish nothing but the best for him (except for when we meet week one =] )

  7. Great guy, great teammate, great down field blocker. He just doesn’t get separation as a receiver, and when he does catch, he does it with his body, not his hands. We couldn’t keep him around at his contract price. Good luck to him.

  8. I don’t know why everybody hates this guy. It isn’t his fault he got drafted so high. From everything I have ever read he is a hard worker and the consummate team guy. He has struggled with sub-par QB’s, from Campbell to Palmer. I think that everybody should reserve judgement until after this season. I wish him “Luck.”

  9. I feel like I’m about to duplicate misteunderhill’s comment and probably five other comments above, but DHB always has been, and probably always will be a vastly underrated player because of how high he went in the draft.

    What people forget is the athleticism that led Al to draft him in the first place. Sure it doesns’t justify the pick, but it also doesn’t make him Jabar Gaffney. DHB is still a freakish athlete and injuries and playing in Oakland are the only things tat have been holding him back from being a true no. 1 receiver.

    Playing complement to Reggie Wayne will be huge for a guy with DHB’s skill set and hopefully he makes his career into what it was meant to be in Indy. Like the guy above me said, best of luck to him, but more best of luck to me to score him late in my fantasy draft.

  10. DHB = Drops Hella Balls ….. Seriously, like a lot of Silver and Black fans, I do wish him luck except against the Raiders. The Colts did get a very hard working kid. As for those that think he was drafted too high, remember, Michael Crabtree didn’t exactly shine in his first couple of years either. As for the “breakout season”, don’t forget that was the year that they were “forced” into the Carson Palmer trade as well, so 6 games into the season, he had to learn to catch from yet another QB, and one who probably had a stronger arm than any one else he had throwing him the ball previously. If Jason Campbell had stayed healthy that year, not only do the Raiders make the playoffs, but DHB does have his first 1000 yard season…. The kid will drop some balls, but he will surprise you too. The trick with him is to time it so it gets there before he has time to think. When he has to think, that’s when he struggles…. Good Luck Darrius.

  11. Heyward-Bey was definitely not the receiver Irsay was tweeting about. DHB was signed out of free-agency, not traded for. There was another deal they were trying to make (Doug Baldwin would make sense) that they were not able to pull off.

  12. I want to pull for him. He is a hard worker. His attitude always seemed good. He’s not your typical prim a-dona WR, but he will just kill you with the drops.

  13. Raider fans… be honest.

    When you heard Goodell say “With the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select… Darrius Heyward-Bey Wide Receiver Maryland”

    99% of you moaned…. and then said… “Who”

  14. nothing wrong with DHB, he is/was just not worth the 10 million per yr, that the raiders had to pay him. # million, time will tell. He is a solid guy on and off the field, wish him the best.

    The bottom line of the real story is according to the media is if you are on the raiders , you suck, and the second you put on another uniform you are good…

  15. DHB worked hard to become everything Al expected (and on some days, he looked the part, just not on most), and he did work hard. Always liked him, hope he does well in Indy…only after the first game of the season.

  16. 8to80texansblog says: Aug 2, 2013 1:11 PM

    Raider fans… be honest.

    When you heard Goodell say “With the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select… Darrius Heyward-Bey Wide Receiver Maryland”

    99% of you moaned…. and then said… “Who”
    No, we knew who he was, and were resigned to the fact that Davis was most likely going to draft him.

  17. It’s laughable that so many of the Raider faithful are still making excuses for this guy and trying to justify a truly awful draft selection with stories about “what a great guy he is” and how “it’s all the quarterback’s fault”.
    First of all, yes, Michael Crabtree didn’t exactly set the league on fire his first couple of years, however, DHB (DangHugeBust) totaled 490 yards and 2 TDs for his first two seasons COMBINED including a rookie season of 9 catches for 124 yards! Now 9 for 124 is a pretty good game, but for a SEASON?
    Mr. Bust came into the league with a scouting report that questioned his hands and his ability to get open. What’s changed in four years? When you employee a professional, it shouldn’t matter whether or not he’s a stand-up guy who teaches Sunday school (unless, of course, you’re hiring him to teach Sunday school). It should matter if he can do his job. Mr. Bust’s job is to get open and catch the ball. He can’t do either one. Game tape doesn’t lie.
    Several years ago, the Eagles spent the number seven overall pick on a guy whose game tape said he was a middle rounder, but whose combine performance stood out. That was Mike Mamula. A few years later, the Vikings spent the number seven overall pick on a WR with a similar background, great combine and so-so college career. That was Troy Williamson. DHB is no different from those two other than the fact that at least the Colts didn’t waste a top 10 draft pick on him. Oakland did. He may very well be a great guy. He sure was a terrible draft pick!

  18. “Heyward-Bey is drawing strong reviews in Indy, despite reportedly having five drops in his first two days of Colts camp.”

    Seems the Colts have lower standards than just about every other team in the league.

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