Raiders vs. Bengals preview: Marcel Reece hoping to have big impact for second straight week

Jeff Gross

The Oakland Raiders have been waiting patiently for Marcel Reece to break out like he did against the Saints, now can he repeat that performance?

The Oakland Raiders have struggled to find success at the running back position this season, and many thought that losing both starter Darren McFadden, and back up, Mike Goodson, meant the Raiders would have no shot at running the ball. But then Marcel Reece stepped up to the plate. Despite never having played the half back position until this season, Reece put up over 100 yards against the New Orleans Saints. On top of that, he also put up 90 yards receiving. For years now, the former University of Washington wide receiver has shown glimpses of the ability to be a game changer and against the Saints, he finally had the breakout game that everyone has been waiting for.

Reece is a blessing for his offensive coordinator and a curse for opposing defensive coordinators. His rare combination of speed, size and soft hands makes him the perfect piece to create mismatches on the field. Plus, Reece can do almost anything the Raiders ask of him. He can run downhill for short yards, he can break it outside for long runs, he can run clean routes and catch tough passes and he can create separation from corners that are half his size. Reece has been a weapon that the Raiders have failed to capitalize on for years. Now that he has finally been given the opportunity to receive a significant number of touches in a game, he has proven that he is fully capable of reaching the heights that many have been so patiently waiting for him to reach.

It is a shame that Reece's opportunity came as the result of injuries to teammates, but regardless of the reason, Reece has taken full advantage of the opportunity and now it is on the Raiders coaching staff to ensure that he will never be under utilized again. With both McFadden and Goodson likely out this weekend as the Raiders travel to play the Cincinnatti Bengals, Reece will have another opportunity to play a big role in the game. If he shows that he can produce on a consistent basis, the Raiders may have a running back controversy on their hands when Darren McFadden returns.

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