Raider Rocket Science: Reece’s Role

Over the past 3 years or better, Marcel Reece has been one of the better players on a pretty depleted roster. Marcel Reece when lined up as a fullback is easily one of the best players at the position and about as dynamic as they come. Reece has started to gain recognition for his play league wide, as noted by his Pro Bowl nod last year. The ability of Reece has not escaped the eyes of Reggie Mckensie and the new regime, as noted by the 3 year extension he signed this offseason. The aforementioned begs the question “So why is Reece not getting the ball?” The answer will vary depending on who you ask.
According to Olson, Mcfadden gets his touches first then Reece and switching quarterbacks played a large roll in the game plan with Reece. While Dennis Allen believes games have gotten away or things have gone “a little bit south” is the reason for Marcel being the odd man out. Where as some beat writers see the reasons for Reece’s minuscule targets and attempts as Reece’s performance hinges on Mcfadden and Reece is a better role player than featured player. I don’t buy any of the arguments or rationales. Marcel Reece is 6’1, 255 pounds, runs in the low 4.4′s, a former wide receiver with hands as soft as Egyptian cotton and has produced favorable results every time he touched the ball. Can’t get him the ball? Why not just hand the ball to him in the backfield? Reece has shown the ability to produce with direct handoffs from the halfback and fullback position, cumulatively amassing 552 yards at an average of 4.6 yards per carry. In 2012, during a 3 week stretch Marcel Reece was the featured back due to multiple injuries and faced the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens, a playoff team in the Bengals and the Saints. In this stretch, Reece rushed for 225 yards at 4.78 yards per attempt and caught 15 passes for 175 yards. A player who averages 75 rush yards and 58 receiving yards against playoff opponents is very much a player able to be the focal point of an offensive scheme. As a receiver, Reece has caught 116 passes for 1236 yards over his 4 year career. Reece is a matchup problem for any defender and not merely because he is defended by linebackers from his fullback position.
Marcel Reece beyond the statistical advantages over Darren Mcfadden and Rashad Jennings, also surpassed the tandem in the “look” department. Reece has more wiggle than Mcfadden and Jennings. Reece is a load at 255, like “Iron Head” Heyward reincarnated and oddly enough has comparable speed to Mcfadden. Defenders visibly grimace after tackling Reece. Through 6 games Reece has rushed only 9 times and caught 10 passes for a total of 133 yards and 2 touchdowns. So how can a player averaging 7 yards per touch and has a 10.2 percent chance to score per touch be on pace for a season total of 125 yards rushing, 227 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns? I’m not a coach nor do I proclaim to be, but its not Rocket Science either… Give Reece the damn ball by any means necessary!

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