It’s possible that one of the biggest additions to the Raiders offense in 2015 could be a player who’s been on the roster since 2010.
Over those five seasons, Marcel Reece has been one of the team’s best playmakers. The problem has been he hasn’t been called on to make many plays.
The versatile fullback has shown he can run like a tailback, block like a guard and catch passes like the wide receiver he was in college, but he’s often been ignored in game plans.
Now, under new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, that may change.
Musgrave wants to spread the field more and run an uptempo, no-huddle offense. Rarely will he have sets that utilize a fullback. So Reece may be in the lineup as an H-back, shifting here and there and going in motion to free him to make plays in space.
Matt Williamson, a former NFL scout, told Bill Williamson of ESPN.com Thursday that the scheme should suit Reece.
“Reece is a perfect for such a role,” Matt Williamson said. “I think he hasn’t been utilized nearly enough as a move player/pass catcher of late and I have no doubt he can do it. He has great hands and is an accomplished route runner. I could see him developing into a similar player in this offense as Charles Clay in Miami.”
In 2014, the Dolphins’ Clay, a tight end/H-back, had 58 catches for 605 yards and three TDs.
As a fullback, Reece has been to three Pro Bowls. In 2014 he had 37 catches for 265 yards and carried the ball 21 times for 85 yards.
He’s been an unselfish, hard-nosed fan favorite who now may finally get a chance to make a bigger impact under Musgrave and new head coach Jack Del Rio.
Jerry McDonald, who covers the Raiders for the Bay Area News Group, said Musgrave’s idea will be “to spread the field and attempt to have backs attack creases downhill,” meaning with momentum and power.
With a third-down back such as recently acquired Roy Helu and Reece, that could give quarterback Derek Carr some nice opportunities to hit some players in stride on short passes that could go for longer plays.
And, finally, it would address the question Raiders fans have been asking since 2010: “Why don’t the Raiders use Reece more?”