ALAMEDA -- Marcel Reece played 24 snaps Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. The Raiders offense played 67.
Not nearly enough. The fullback touted as a "mismatch waiting to happen" touched the ball just once in a competitive ball game. That’s right: Once.
The Raiders talked a good game about getting Reece the darn ball before facing the Colts. It just didn’t work out.
“I think we all recognize that Marcel Reece is a weapon for us and that he’s a good football player,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “We do need to find ways to get him the ball, but again, we can’t force anything. We have to take what the defense gives us. Again, you go into the game plan and you have a thought process going in and if they change what they’re doing, we have to be able to adjust.”
The main problem: the secret’s out. Teams game plan against Reece, forcing the Raiders to choose other options. The other issue is his position. Fullbacks aren’t featured in a modern offense, leaving this talent stuck on the sideline.
The easiest way is to hand him the ball. Design plays for the guy. Hand the ball off. Let him run. Find him in space. Unfortunately for the Raiders, it’s easier said than done.
“It’s all about how the game goes,” Reece said after Wednesday’s practice. “I just roll with the punches and continue to stay ready for the time when my number’s called. But I’ve been here six years, and I know people are gunning for me. I try to prepare to beat anything a defense tries to do against me. The key is to prepare for every look, every option.”
Reece doesn’t have an issue with how games are called. In fact, he’s been impressed with coordinator Greg Olson and believes he’ll find a way to maximize his talent.
“Greg called a near-perfect game on Sunday,” Reece said. “As a competitor, I never want to come off the field. The game goes how it goes and I'll do whatever it takes to help the team win. If I have to be off the field half the game, that's what I'll do.”
Still, it’s frustrating to practice, prepare and not play. Reece is used to the extra attention, but nobody likes being a decoy by trade. He doesn’t let it affect his effort. He prepares for every option, whether he’s covered by a lineman, linebacker or defensive back. He works on runs between the tackles and outside.
Patience has also been a virtue while the offense adjusts to athletic quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Reece thinks there’s room for him in this system, working with this style of quarterback. The converted receiver can do so much so well, and is ready for anything he’s asked to do.
“I think Terrelle’s presence helps everybody,” Reece said. “I think Darren and I can help create space for Terrelle, and I think Terrelle can create space for us. You have to account for everything. Terrelle brings a different vibe to the offense. The key is to know that a play is never over. You need your instincts to kick in. The goal is to get open and react to whatever comes my way.”