Programming note: Dennis Allen will address the media starting at 12:50 p.m. Watch the live stream right here
Wins and losses set Marcel Reece’s mood. Record a win on Sunday and nothing else matters. Lose a tough one and the veteran wonders, sometimes aloud, what he could’ve done to reverse fortune.
Reece isn’t a coach or a quarterback. He can’t give himself the darn ball. Someone else has got to seek out the All-Pro, which has proven tough in this early season.
He was nearly invisible in a 30-14 loss to the Houston Texans. He had but one touch in just 19 offensive snaps. That’s a miniscule tally for most, especially one Patriots coach Bill Belichick considers a “real tough matchup.”
That’s lead to yet another installment of “Why Can’t Reece Get the Ball,” a regular line of questioning when things don’t go right and the athletic fullback sits idle while the offense struggles. It’s as valid a topic as ever, considering Reece is the Raiders’ highest camp number of any skill player.
Even still, it’s not an issue Reece enjoys discussing publicly.
Every offensive player wants to get the ball as many times as they can,” Reece said, “so that goes unsaid really.”
Really, what else is Reece supposed to say? Should he pull a Keyshawn Johnson and demand it publicly? That isn’t, nor will it ever be, his style.
There are some issues beyond his control, and part of that deals with his position. If he were a tailback, they’d just hand Reece the ball. If he were a receiver, he’d be running routes on every snap.
Although he’s versatile enough to do all those things, he’s sometimes subject to frequent substitutions. That’s especially true in obvious passing situations, which the Raiders frequently find themselves in playing so often from behind.
“He is a great match-up on linebackers and some safeties in this league,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “More on the first- and second-down match-ups, we’ll be more aware of getting him involved. Not that he can’t go out there and win against a nickel [corner] or something like that, but his best match-ups are when we can get teams to play their base defense. When the game gets into a two-minute mode, we were in a lot of 11 personnel (with 3 WRs, a TE and an RB) and they’ve got their dime and nickel personnel on the field.”
Olson understands Reece’s talent and wants him to be active each week. He designs plays that sometimes don’t go to him. The pair speaks every other day at least, and always shortly after games. Reece knows and Olson is trying hard to get him the ball, but losses always leave him wishing he could do more.
“We are just trying to find ways to win,” Olson said. “He’s a team guy all the way, so if we’re winning and he’s not getting the ball, he’s not going to be concerned about it. If we’re losing and he’s not getting the ball, then we have to find ways to get him the ball. We’ll continue to look at ways we can utilize him in our base package.”
Reece wants to be on the field more – that’s among the reasons why he lost some weight this offseason – to help this team win. As a player with strong allegiance to this franchise, the losing eats at him as much as anyone.
“I always look back and try to see what I can do to help the team and make plays and try and help us win,” Reece said. “That’s my goal. That’s why I’m here, to make plays and win, and we haven’t done that so I don’t feel like I’ve been successful yet.”