By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, June 13th, 2010 at 11:43 am in Oakland Raiders.
On the heels of a couple of highly impressive offseason workouts open to the media and ostensibly a number of others behind closed doors, Al Davis took the opportunity Sunday to turn up the pressure on second-year wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Oakland issued a highly unusual press release Sunday to tell everyone about Heyward-Bey’s progress, comparing him to the great receivers in club history.
The release was as follows:
RAIDERS’ HEYWARD-BEY PREPARES FOR PRODUCTIVE 2010 SEASON
Raiders Owner Al Davis has always said that the Raiders have had the greatest players, greatest coaches, played in the greatest games and participated in the greatest plays in the history of professional football. The Raiders have been dominant in terms of winning. The greatest wide receivers in professional football have passed through the portals of the Oakland Raiders or have been coached by Davis.
Lance Alworth Willie Gault
Art Powell Andre Rison
Warren Wells Bob Chandler
Fred Biletnikoff Jerry Rice
Cliff Branch Tim Brown
James Lofton Randy Moss
Now Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Raiders’ top pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, is prepping to join that select group. Heyward-Bey has enjoyed a workmanlike offseason where he has put in time and energy to prepare for his second NFL campaign, when many of those whose names mentioned blossomed in professional football competition.
“I’m just working on my game, using this opportunity to get better, to work with my quarterbacks and my teammates,” said Heyward-Bey following a recent OTA session. “Just going out, just playing my game. That’s all I’m doing right now. And I’m using each practice to reach my goals.”
The list of wide receivers should make any pundit or so-called expert think twice before putting negativity on Heyward-Bey. No one has come close to the excellence at wide receivers that have worn the Silver and Black. These performers have been the greatest players who have ever played the game.
THE TEAM OF THE DECADES
A few things:
– If the Raiders took a close look, they’d discover many of the so-called “pundits” who wrote about how poor Heyward-Bey was in his rookie season (he was) are the same ones (including me) who are writing how much better he looks this year (he does) in his two public practices.
Anyone who calls a rookie a bust following a single season is being foolish.
– DHB has looked terrific in the last two media sessions open to the public, no doubt.
That’s how he’s supposed to look. He was the No 7 overall pick of the draft. In no-contact offseason drills, Heyward-Bey being dominant should be a foregone conclusion. Especially in the last session, when Nnamdi Asomugha and Chris Johnson were not present and Stanford Routt didn’t participate at all because of muscle tightness. Seven-on-sevens and drills against corners hoping to make the roster ought to be a series of big plays.
– Lofton was simply dazzling as a Raider, wasn’t he? They dumped him and he went on to compile numbers in Buffalo that would complete a Hall of Fame career. Los Angeles was a bus stop. Davis was also right about the talent of Randy Moss. Just look at what he did in New England after the worst two years of his career as a Raider.
– Now that it’s been determined by that Heyward-Bey has arrived, here’s hoping Davis authorizes a press release soon which tells us Darren McFadden is ready for his breakout year.
– Someone seems a little overly sensitive about the public admission by virtue of the waiver wire that JaMarcus Russell wasn’t “great” after all.