Oakland Raiders: Making a Case for a Wide Receivers Reality Show

Erik SpanglerContributor IJanuary 19, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Jacoby Ford #12 of the Oakland Raiders catches the ball while defended by Chris Clemons #30 of the Miami Dolphins at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 28, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders' wide receiver corps is full of youth and talent andmost of which is untapped.

Reality television has a way of making seemingly untalented people into instant celebrities.

What correlation is there between a celebrity and an All-Star athlete?  They are practically synonymous.  It seems to me, that in the new era of diva receivers. Most wide receivers create their celebrity status from their off-field antics rather than from their precise route-running and sure-handedness.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, Jacoby Ford and Chaz Schilens each have strengths and weaknesses, as does every human being.  A reality television show would build confidence for this group. 

I feel that as at the end of the 2010 NFL season, the only Raider receiver who has the necessary amount of self-confidence is Jacoby Ford.

I say this because Jacoby came into the 2010 season with little to no expectations and contributed heavily in the second half of the season.  His small frame and lightening speed enable him to get around defenders and go unnoticed in the secondary of opposing teams.  He made some fantastic plays. Whether he was blowing by cornerbacks or practically fist-fighting to gain control of the football.

Darrius Heyward-Bey is the complete opposite of Jacoby Ford.  He was drafted seventh overall in 2009, much to Mel Kiper's surprise.  Physically, Heyward-Bey has all of the intangibles.  He runs decent routes, he has blazing speed, and he has the frame that is standard amongst NFL receivers. 

Darrius, due to his draft status, was expected to come in and immediately contribute to a languishing offense.  He did not.  In fact, in his second year, although he did make some remarkable improvements in his physique and route-running, he still lacks the ability to get separation and his hands are suspect at best.

Louis Murphy was a fourth-round pick in 2009 and was a pleasant surprise, making some big plays for the Raiders immediately.  He is an aggressive player, and he boasts an attitude.  In his first year however, Murphy made some spectacular catches—scores even—that the referees deemed incomplete for one reason or another.  That could have gone one of two ways.  One, Murphy could have started playing with a chip on his shoulder, and showed the refs who was boss.  Or two, which was the case, he let it affect his confidence. 

In 2010, Murphy's numbers should have improved greatly from his rookie season.  He actually gained 100 yards less, and scored two less times, albeit, he did miss two games.

Chaz Schilens is a depressing case.  I don't know what goes on behind closed doors, or in the doctor's office, but I have theories.  Schilens had an unremarkable rookie season, only starting six games.  His second year, 2009, his season was still unremarkable, but the games in which he performed at a high level, he looked amazing. 

Then he was hurt.  His injury problems are frustrating.  It's as if when he gets hurt, it gains interest, compounding at unrealistic rates.  When he is finally healthy, one has to wonder if he will be able to put the fear of injuring himself again aside.

I know that T.O. and Ochocino didn't have "incredible" seasons, but I think that they are a great example of confidence, or arrogance, depending on your take.

Our receiving corps could certainly use an infusion of the energy and attitude that these guys bring to the table.  Will it make them catch a ball and hold it securely?  No.  But it would certainly enable them to deal with the spotlight of being great and that's where they are headed—greatness.

Well Raider fans, let's hear some potential titles.  I look forward to your responses.


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