Super Bowl champions might be crowned in February but they’re made in May. Now I’m not so naïve as to think that the Raiders going through their offseason OTAs without the presence of Marcel Reece will somehow doom their Lombardi hopes. Dude might be the most explosive fullback in the game but he’s by no means a make or break player.
Still, its hard to ignore Reece’s continued absence from the team’s voluntary activities. It’s also difficult to understand why this is the first impression he would choose to make with Reggie McKenzie.
Reece has yet to sign his exclusive-rights contract tender for whatever reason. If he somehow thinks he’s deserving of a long-term deal then Reece is fooling himself. As of now all he’s owed is the right to compete for a roster spot. In the grand scheme Reece has proven nothing in the NFL. We’ve seen some amazing playmaking ability but not the total package necessary to be a full-time fullback in the pros.
Yes, Reece is a weapon unlike any other in the NFL. He’s also not so important to the Raiders that they’ll let this one pony stop the show.
At this point Reece is doing more damage to his prospects than those of the team. In short he needs to clock-in and get with the Raiders’ offseason program.
Greg Knapp is installing a new offense. An offense that as of now doesn’t have a defined role for Reece. It’s easy to sit back and play armchair offensive coordinator in that Madden kind of way. The reality is Knapp and the Oakland offensive staff can’t construct a game plan until they have a grasp on all the weapons at their disposal.
By sitting out of these voluntary workouts Reece is making his workload even greater come the start of training camp. He’s also not helping his case in anyway of securing long-term job security.
The reality is Reece is a unique player with a special skill set. But he’s not the only specialist that has ever come into this league. Anyone remember Dante Hall in Kansas City? Once upon a time he was among the select few capable of changing a game with one touch. He also hasn’t played in an NFL game in four years now.
For all we know we could have already seen the best of Reece. His resume isn’t so stunning that NFL teams will be falling over each other in trying to secure the services of a part-time fullback. Reece is deadly in the passing game but isn’t a great blocker and certainly has plenty of room for growth, the kind of growth that begins with OTAs in May and continues into camp before blossoming on Sundays next fall.
Reece is unique talent. No doubt about that. But he’s no Darren McFadden. If Oakland moves forward with Owen Schmitt they’ll be just fine. Now should the Raiders have to rely on Mike Goodson then their hopes of lifting a Lombardi will be greatly affected. McFadden is attendance at every OTA and he has much more at stake.
What excuse does Reece have?
His window to maximize his skill set narrows with each passing day. No NFL team is going to pay top dollar for a fullback no matter his talents. The position doesn’t warrant it. But that doesn’t mean Reece can’t play well enough to earn a healthy pay day. But to do that he’s got to get to work in expanding his role. That’s not going to happen by avoiding the team.