While we fans anxiously await for Colts general manager Ryan Grigson to put the finishing touch on his 2013 off-season spending spree by inking free agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw, Grigson's No. 1 overall pick from a year ago, quarterback Andrew Luck, is heaping praise on one of Grigson's newest acquisitions: Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Here's Vic Tafur of sfgate.com, quoting Luck:
"Darrius has been great. What a great addition," said Luck. "He has great speed … & he has a real knack for football.It’s fun to see."— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) June 10, 2013
A lot of fans (and fantasy football owners) are intrigued by how Indianapolis will utilize the 6'2 speed demon in their new "No Coast" Offense in 2013. While Heyward-Bey may have been a bust in Oakland, it wasn't because he was some sort of malcontent, or a lazy freeloader who "got paid" and then showed up to training camp weighing 300 pounds and looking like a Brontosaurus. Heyward-Bey never had a reputation for being lazy.
@t4sugarrey DHB has always been a hard worker. Never had guys like Luck or Wayne on Raiders … not his fault he was drafted too high— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) June 10, 2013
True, Heyward-Bey does bare some responsibility for not developing into the player the Raiders hoped he would. Then again, this is the Raiders organization we are talking about, which, for the better part of 10 years, has been the laughing stock of the NFL.
However, what isn't DHB's fault is the play of the quarterbacks in Oakland since 2009, the year he was drafted 8th overall. It doesn't matter how good of a receiver you are. If you've got guys like Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, or a washed-up Carson Palmer throwing at you, as Heyward-Bey had to deal with in Oakland from 2010-2012, you're likely to struggle.
Remember the Manning-less 2011 season? Remember how ineffective Reggie Wayne was when Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter were throwing dying ducks to him? Here's how: In 11 games with Collins and Painter, Wayne had 47 catches for 652 yards and 2 TDs. The Colts went 0-11 during that stretch. When Painter was finally benched and Dan Orlovsky (an un-dynamic but competent back-up quarterback) replaced him, Wayne caught 28 passes for 308 yards and 2 TDs in just 5 games, including the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter to defeat the Texans in Week 16 that year.
Quarterbacks are everything, folks. Reggie Wayne went from a 960 yard season in '11 to a 1,355 yard season in '12. The difference between '11 and '12: Andrew Luck.
Heyward-Bey had 606 yards and 5 TDs in Oakland last year. Pairing his speed with Luck's arm could be a deadly mixture for defenses in 2013.