Where has Marcel Reece been in the Raiders offense? There is little doubt that Marcel is a difference maker with the ball in his hands but he has not been able to get going yet this year in OC Greg Olson's offense. The Raiders need to do something about this mismanagement of assets because Reece is too damn good of a player not to utilize.
Marcel on the season has touched the ball only 19 times in 6 games so far this year. He has 9 carries for 47 yards with a TD and 10 receptions for 86 yards with a TD receiving as well in 2013, so why has he not been more involved? When he gets the ball he is productive and an undeniable mismatch with his 4.4 speed in a 250+ pound frame.
According to Greg Olson, Reece has been at the top of progressions in a number of play calls but the ball just isn't going his way. This is something that needs to be fixed, even if it is at the expense of Darren McFadden getting his touches.
"Again," said Coach Olson, "unless you're handing him the football, which we have to monitor what we're doing because we have to make sure that Darren McFadden is getting enough touches, and with Marcel it's changed a little bit this year because of the quarterback position. We've become more of a read-option kind of an offense. A lot of times in the passing game, he may be involved, or may be in the progression, but if he's not catching it in the passing game, the best chance of getting him the football is to hand the ball off."
At this point even if it does mean less carries for Darren McFadden then so be it. If the passes are not heading in Marcel's direction then hand it off to him, he is a playmaker that needs to be utilized. Darren has not been making the difference the Raiders need in the rushing department this season (though the depleted offensive line shoulders part of the blame there) so they don't have much to lose by giving some of his carries to the more powerful Reece anyway.
"We'll continue, again, as we look at it." continued Olson, "Every game or every week when we finish a game, we go back through a stat sheet and look at how many times the guys were targeted and how many times they actually touched the ball. We're aware of that with Marcel. We're constantly aware of it throughout the game. We'll call some things up in the passing game."
Being aware that one of the team's best players hadn't been getting enough touches so far this year isn't good enough. We have all been painfully aware of Reece's targets, or lack there of, and it is starting to get silly. Olson is a coach that builds around his best players talents, so something clearly needs to be done about this. Unfortunately Greg Olson says that Reece is already a top priority in the passing game and that it just hasn't worked out that way so far this year.
"He's number one in progression and for some reason or another, we don't get the ball to him. We'll keep continuing to put him in the position to be at that number one in the progression, but the only way you can really and truly ensure it, is to hand him the ball."
If he is already the number one progression on many plays but he isn't getting thrown to then the coaches need to talk to Terrelle Pryor about getting the ball to him. If Pryor can't do better at throwing to Marcel then they absolutely need to hand him the ball more often. You simply can not have one of the best players on the team not be getting his touches, averaging barely over 3 touches a game is not getting the job done.
The bye week is here now and that means going over what has worked and what hasn't a little bit more than in other weeks. Well what works is getting Reece the ball and what hasn't worked is not getting Reece the ball. Hopefully we will see him more involved when football resumes against the Pittsburgh Steelers, its clearly an area that needs to be addressed. Only 19 touches in 6 games for Marcel Reece is not going to cut it going forward.