It became official Thursday morning when Darrius Heyward-Bey signed his contract with the Colts. If you want to see how offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton will use DHB, look no further then Stanford's game tape when Hamilton was coaching Andrew Luck.
One of Luck's favorite targets while at Stanford was current Buccaneers receiver Chris Owusu. He has a similar frame and speed as DHB.
I had to go back and watch Luck run some plays to Owusu under Hamilton's offense, and I watched Owusu against Duke, Arizona, and USC. I could not help but smile while watching these as Heyward-Bey should thrive in this system. Luck threw to him across the middle, a lot and relied on him to be a YAC monster. DHB will be relied on to do the same. Also, Andrew threw a lot of bubble screens, fade, streak, and slant patterns to Owusu as well.
In 2010 and 2011 (Hamilton was WR coach in 2010 and OC in 2011), Owusu combined for 60 catches for 772 yards. Remember, Luck had a lot of weapons outside of him in Coby Fleener, Griff Whalen, and Stepfan Taylor.
Look below at some highlights of Owusu. As mentioned, this will be how Pep uses Heyward-Bey in his offense:
Heyward-Bey went through a carousel of quarterbacks that would make any wide receiver puke his guts out. Those quarterbacks were Carson Palmer, Terrelle Pryor, Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, Bruce Gradkowski, JaMarcus Russell, and Charlie Frye. All of those names mentioned have been DHB's quarterback since 2009. I think I just puked reading that.
Both Owusu and Heyward-Bey both struggle with catching the ball. DHB has been well-known with dropping the football. As Brad already mentioned, Heyward-Bey has gone from 35.7%, 21.6%, 8.6%, and 12.8% drop rate in his first four seasons. Owusu had the same struggles at Stanford, but did much better on short routes to avoid drops. For that reason, and with Heyward-Bey's history of dropping the ball, expect Hamilton to use him on a lot of drag, slant, and bubble routes. Hopefully, with Andrew Luck as his quarterback, Heyward-Bey should become a more consistent receiver.
Now, there should be no excuses if Heyward-Bey does not pan out with Andrew Luck throwing to him. If he can finally cure the drops, DHB could be an amazing weapon in Luck's arsenal. Adding Darrius to Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, LaVon Brazill, Griff Whalen, Coby Fleener, and Dwayne Allen is a scary corps of receivers.
DHB will be a taller, and even faster Donnie Avery for the Colts next season. In the Owusu-role of Hamilton's West Coast Offense, look for Heyward-Bey to open some eyes around the league and surprise some people around the league next season. After breaking down the film, I like this signing even more for the Colts.