Despite the loss to the Cleveland Browns, there may have been a bright spot in the game: the early emergence of FB Marcel Reece.
Sure he didn't have the greatest game, but it was decent, with one reception for nine yards and two kick returns each for 23 yards. That 23-yard average on his two returns is actually better than the Raiders' other five return men. Considering that it was his first NFL game and first time playing FB aside from preseason, he did a pretty good job.
In case you don't know who Marcel Reece is, I will tell you:
If a team can have a fan favorite on the practice squad, he is it, as he has intrigued Raider fans with his tremendous potential and playmaking ability ever since he was picked up as an undrafted free agent.
He has spent the last two seasons on the Raiders practice squad transforming from an HB/WR to an NFL FB, learning the new position, and developing the skills that go along with it.
Reece was activated from the practice squad after Luke Lawton was suspended for four games because he violated the league's performance enhancing drug policy.
One thing is for sure. Reece is not going back to the Raiders practice squad, as he has used up all of his practice squad eligibility.
So now it's time to sink or swim. Reece will either have to make the final roster or be cut and try to succeed elsewhere or give up the sport he loves.
But on the bright side Reece has been given two extra games to make his mark and compete for a spot on the 2010 roster.
Without a doubt Reece has the hands and more than enough speed to play FB. The only question is his blocking. Over the last two years, how has he developed from an HB/WR deep-threat play-maker to a lead blocking multi-threat back?
In college he was not only known for his deep threat ability, but for his tremendous size and blocking strength (for a receiver) and ability to seal corners, and he was a huge asset in the run game. But now he is going up against NFL linebackers, not college-level corners.
At 6'2'' and 240 pounds, he at least looks the part of an NFL FB. He looked just as big, if not bigger than fellow FB Gary Russell.
Next Sunday in the season finale I encourage everyone to watch his performance, not just the way in which he catches the ball out of the backfield or returns kicks, but how he blocks and opens up lanes for the likes of Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, and Justin Fargas.
If he develops his blocking ability to the level of an NFL FB, he could be a very dangerous weapon much in the mold of the Bronco's Peyton Hillis, or better.
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