By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 at 5:34 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Filed for print . . .
Chances are Marcel Reece will again recede into the background with leading rusher Rashad Jennings having recovered from a concussion.
Having played in less than half of the Raiders offensive snaps this season, Reece by necessity was on the field for all but two snaps in a 37-27 loss to the New York Jets.
The result was 19 carries, a career high 123 yards rushing, acknowledgement of a job well done and likely an immediate future of being shuttled on and off the field depending on the down, distance and play call when the Raiders host the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday at O.co Coliseum.
Yet Reece has no illusions of morphing from versatile fullback to a lead running tailback.
“I don’t worry about that, I don’t think about that,’’ Reece said Wednesday. “The two initials next to your name on the roster mean nothing. I don’t worry about my position. I just worry about making plays for my team and helping us win.
“Whatever these coaches need me to do, whatever my team needs me to do, I’m going to do it.’’
When the Raiders needed Reece to do everything against the Jets, he was up to the task, with the highlight being a 63-yard touchdown run that jump-started a sagging offense.
“He had to carry a load,’’ Jennings said. “He had to block and run deep routes and churn out tough yards. He had a big run through an arm tackle before showing his speed.’’
A college wide receiver at Washington, Reece retains those skills in a 6-foot-1, 255 pound frame to go along with reasonable success running from scrimmage despite minimal work as a lead runner.
Reece did have a four-game stretch last season where he rushed 54 times for 261 yards when Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson were out with injuries, then carried only four times in the last four games of the season when they were healthy.
With McFadden missing practice Wednesday with an ankle injury and not likely to face the Chiefs, Reece will spell Jennings as the lead runner.
“When he has gone into the game he has had some success,’’ Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s a pretty patient runner, has pretty decent vision. I thought he did a great job on the long run of being able to hit the hole and split the seam. He’s probably doesn’t have that explosive, breakaway type of speed but nobody was catching him.
If Reece has any thoughts on gaining a rhythm as a runner with more work, he hides them by putting up a team-first front.
“I don’t really think about it as an individual,’’ Reece said. “It is important for us to get into rhythm as an offense, to stay on schedule. To get three, four yards on frist down, to keep things manageable on third down so they can’t get into those abstract blitzes. Our playbook opens up. As an individual you really don’t think about it.’’
Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said the biggest issue with defending Reece is his versatility.
“Reece is a heck of a player. We have a lot of respect for him,’’ Johnson said by conference call. “He’s a guy that plays all over the field, a guy that can be on a linebacker or safety and have it be a mismatch for them.
“You’ve got to know where `45’ is because if you look up and he’s on a cornerback, the cornerback knows that he’s not a decoy, that the ball could come to him.’’
– If the Raiders have fallen on hard times defensively, it’s news to Chiefs coach Andy Reid. He said by conference call the Raiders are executing their defense better than they were the first time the teams played and called Allen “one of the great defensive minds in the league.’’
– Right guard Mike Brisiel practiced with no limitations and likely will start at right guard. Wide receiver Denarius Moore, out for the last three games with a shoulder injury, was limited and could play.
Linebacker Sio Moore (neck) was limited, as was safety Tyvon Branch. Defensive tackle Vaughn Walker (concussion) and running back Jeremy Stewart (ankle) did not practice.
– Reece became the fourth Raiders player to have 100 yards rushing in a game, joining Jennings (102 and 150), McFadden (129) and Terrelle Pryor (112 and 106). No NFL team has had four 100-yard runners since 1978, when the Kansas City Chiefs had five (Mark Bailey, Tony Reed, MacArthur Lane, Arnold Morgado, Ted McKnight).