If one player shined through a dark year for the Oakland Raiders, it was fullback Marcel Reece. He represented the Raiders in the Pro Bowl and took over the lead back position when Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson missed games to high ankle sprains. The former college wide receiver put his vaunted versatility on display all season and should be an even larger part of the offense in 2013.
In the four games Reece started due to injuries, he rushed for 261 yards including a 100 yard performance against the New Orleans Saints. He also made 20 receptions for 195 yards, giving the standout three of the four games with over 100 rushing and receiving yards combined. He accomplished this feat for the 28th best rushing team in the league and was one of four individual 100 yard rushing games the Raiders had all season. This production came from a fullback thrown into the starting running back role. Very few NFL teams have a player at that position who could thrive in those circumstances.
Reece ended the 2012 campaign with 52 receptions for 496 yards and a touchdown as well as 271 rushing yards, which was second best on the team. As the Raiders move into next season, Reece must become more involved in the game plan. There were seven games last season where Reece caught two or less passes. He is such a matchup problem because of his speed, size, and catching ability that putting him in position to make plays only helps the rest of the offense. The task of finding Reece more opportunities falls on the new offensive coaching staff.
Oakland locked up Reece with a contract extension last September ensuring he will be a member of the silver and black in 2013. If his value to the team remains constant, both sides should be happy to extend.
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