It's Time, DHB
DHB had arguably his best week of practice leading up to the game tomorrow vs. the Saints. Cable praised DHB and raised the bar. In reference to a spectacular catch by DHB, Cable said, "He had a great day of catching the ball. Right after he caught it, I said to him, 'Your mistake is you showed me you can do that and, so now, the expectation goes up. That's who you are. That's what you're capable of."
It is time for DHB to start building momentum and confidence leading up to the regular season opener on Sept. 14. He needs to prove to himself, his teammates, and the coaching staff that he can carry a good week of practice into an actual game. I don't care how many circus catches he makes in Napa or Alameda if it doesn't translate to reliable production on game day.
The game vs. the Saints is significant for DHB for a few reasons. First, it is the last meaningful exhibition game where starters will be given significant time on the field. In the last pre-season game vs. the Hawks, the starters will only get a series or two before being yanked for injury precautions. Secondly, DHB needs to test himself vs. quality cornerbacks to build his confidence. He also needs to start developing a chemistry and building trust with QB JaMarcus Russell.
The Raiders Nation knows DHB is more than capable of running deep routes to clear the field for other Raider skilled players. We also know that he is a hard working, humble young man who could become a big play threat. What I'm interested in seeing on Saturday is DHB running a full complement of routes with precision and showcasing his ability to secure the ball and gain yards after the catch. With DHB's blinding speed there should be a cushion of space for him to work the underneath routes and comeback patterns. Lastly, it would be ideal for the Russell to DHB combination to put on film a deep ball connection. It will become much easier to force opponents to double team and account for DHB if he is producing and a legitmitate deep ball threat. DHB can make a valuable contribution to the team and impact a game with his big play ability.