Darrius Heyward-Bey: Raiders Who Will Have to Step Up If Star WR Misses Time
With it looking more and more like the Oakland Raiders could be without their top wide receiver after a vicious hit suffered in their win over Pittsburgh, they'll need some other offensive players to step up if they want to continue playing the type of football they showcased in Week 3.
As of Sunday night, Heyward-Bey is set to remain in the hospital overnight but is in stable condition after suffering a neck injury, according to Tim Kawakami of Mercury News.
Raiders announce that Darrius Heyward-Bey is in stable condition and will remain in the hospital overnight.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) September 24, 2012
The Raiders had little trouble replacing Heyward-Bey in Sunday's game as nine Oakland players caught a pass, but it won't prove to be as simple in the coming weeks if Heyward-Bey were to miss extra time.
Let's take a look at the players on this Raiders offense who need to take the place of Heyward-Bey as far as offensive production and game-changing play.
Brandon Myers - Tight End
It was unclear heading into the season who would fill the void at the tight end position for this Raiders offense, but one player answered the call and looks to be a good long-term option.
After three seasons with the Raiders, Brandon Myers knows as much as anybody on the roster that times have been tough recently in Oakland. There's nothing that this team needs more than a winning streak, and you can bet that Myers realizes that and smells blood after Oakland's comeback Week 3 win.
Myers was a significant contributor to the win, catching four passes for 55 big yards. Though it was a solid contribution to the game, it was a season low in both categories for the young tight end and that speaks volumes to the type of season he's having.
If the Raiders don't want Heyward-Bey's possible absence to adversely affect the passing game, Myers will need to up his production and snag the extra balls he'll potentially get thrown to him in the coming weeks.
Carson Palmer - Quarterback
Raiders QB Carson Palmer got his wish to play starting quarterback after holding out with the Bengals, and he'll need to prove that he's worthy of the job through this adversity.
Losing your favorite receiver is always detrimental for a quarterback's production, but the QBs worthy of starting in this league always find ways to make the most of what they have and not let the injury keep their teams from winning.
Palmer did a great job of tossing three touchdowns to just one interception against the Steelers' defense, but he'll have his work cut out for him in the future as defenses start to zero in on him.
Without any dominant receivers at the helm, he'll need to do all he can to make his receivers better and throw the best possible passes so he doesn't have to rely on less-talented wideouts as much.
When it comes down to it, Palmer's execution without Heyward-Bey will be the biggest factor on whether or not the Raiders can continue to win games.
Denarius Moore - Wide Receiver
Raiders second-year receiver Denarius Moore went from an afterthought to a starting wideout in just one season, and he'll need to continue his upward curve of play.
Without Heyward-Bey in the fold, Moore is the obvious No. 1 target for Palmer and suddenly has much more responsibility on his plate. Instead of hauling in a mere three or four catches per game and a long reception sprinkled in there, Palmer's offense will need Moore to pick up first downs and get closer to a dozen catches.
Moore is finally healthy after starting the season banged up, and the Raiders will have to hope that he can stay on the field.
He got his bid for the No. 1 receiver on the team off to a good start late Sunday, as he hauled in his first touchdown of the season in their win over the Steelers.
Expect Moore to excel with more than ever on his plate.
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