AFC West: Marcell Reece

Raiders looking for leaders

June, 3, 2013
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Some thoughts from the Raiders’ OTA session Monday:

I found it interesting that Oakland coach Dennis Allen is putting a huge premium on finding leaders on both sides of the ball. Allen said identifying leaders is “huge” in the big picture.

Oakland is a young team that is going under a major rebuilding movement. The team lost several veteran players and Allen is looking for some players to emerge as leaders to guide the roster, Allen calls it “peer pressure.”

Allen sees free-agent pickup linebacker Nick Roach and veteran fullback Marcel Reece as potential leaders. I agree with Allen. The importance of leadership cannot be discounted. If this inexperienced roster is going to make some noise, it’s going to need strong on-field leadership.
  • Allen said cornerback D.J. Hayden, the team's first-round pick, is still on target to return for the start of training camp in late July. Hayden, who watched practice Monday, had surgery last week to remove scar tissue in his stomach, stemming from a life-threatening heart surgery last November. Allen called the situation “unchartered waters,” but he said the team remains confident Hayden should be fine once camp starts.
  • Receiver Jacoby Ford (hamstring) and defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi (ankle) did not practice Monday.
  • Cornerback Tracy Porter was noncommittal on whether or not he is going to give up No. 24 to Charles Woodson. Woodson wore the number in his previous Oakland stint. He is wearing No. 2 in practices, but the NFL doesn’t allow defensive back to wear single digits. Porter said say the number exchange is up for discussion. Translation: Woodson will have to pay up if he wants No. 24.
  • Allen was asked about punter Chris Kluwe not being able to attend a Washington D.C. event for gay rights. The event is being held next week during the team’s mandatory minicamp. Allen said Kluwe knows his focus has to be on making the roster. It was an expected answer from a coach and frankly, it’s the right answer. Players need to focus on the team during the season. Kluwe is a pro. He knows that.
  • As for Kluwe’s competition, Marquette King, Allen said consistency is the key for the strong-legged youngster. Kluwe is the favorite to win the job because of his experience.
  • Allen said the overall production of this week’s media-open session was much better than last week’s open session.
  • Allen expects free-agent picks ups Vance Walker and Pat Sims to improve the team’s run defense.
  • Allen said he wants to further the importance of special teams this year as he moves into his second season as the team’s head coach. Allen praised the experience and ability of new special teams coach, longtime NFL assistant Bobby April. Allen thinks improved depth at linebacker and in the secondary can help on special teams.
  • Allen categorized the tight end position as being “wide open” with every tight end on the roster having a legitimate chance at significant playing time. Allen said if an interesting veteran becomes available at some point, Oakland could show interest. On paper, it is one of the team’s weakest positions.
  • Allen expressed excitement about improvements in both the secondary and at linebacker. As he has all offseason, Allen praised this team for “loving football.” He really likes this group of players.
  • Tony Bergstrom, a third-round pick in 2011, was back working ahead of 2011 undrafted free agent Lucas Nix at left guard. Nix was working ahead of Bergstrom last week. The battle should continue all summer.
  • Undrafted free-agent receiver Conner Vernon continues to look good. He might have a shot to stick with the 53-man roster.

In other AFC West notes:
  • New San Diego pass-rusher Dwight Freeney isn't with the team in OTAs yet. Coach Mike McCoy said he expects Freeney in soon. The team is having a mandatory minicamp next week.
  • Denver running back Knowshon Moreno did some light work as he returned from a knee injury he suffered in the playoff loss to Baltimore.

Moving on: Oakland Raiders

November, 19, 2012
Here are some areas the Oakland Raiders need to focus on after a 38-17 home loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday:

Recap: The wheels are falling off in Oakland. The Raiders (3-7) have lost three straight games and have allowed 135 points during that span. Owner Mark Davis expressed displeasure after the game, making folks wonder if first-year general manager Reggie McKenzie and first-year coach Dennis Allen are in trouble.

Biggest area to fix: The defense is a mess. Oakland has surrendered 42, 55 and 38 points in the past three games. Allen is a defensive specialist and he must find a way to get more out of this group down the stretch.

Biggest area to build on: Marcel Reece. The fullback had 103 yards rushing and 90 yards receiving Sunday. With starting tailback Darren McFadden and his backup Mike Goodson out with high ankle sprains, Reece may be called upon for more rushing duty next week.

What to watch for: Perhaps a trip to the Cincinnati Bengals will get the Raiders fired up. It will be Carson Palmer's first trip there since being traded to Oakland last October. Plus, Hue Jackson, the man who traded for Palmer, is now an assistant coach in Cincinnati.

Denarius Moore stays on pace

September, 7, 2012
Oakland receiver Denarius Moore (hamstring) practiced well Friday and he is expected to play Monday night against San Diego unless there is a setback. Oakland receiver Jacoby Ford (foot) is still not practicing and he very likely will not play Monday.

Meanwhile, San Diego running back Ryan Mathews remained limited. He is not expected to play Monday with a broken clavicle.

In other AFC West news:

Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli and Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff talk about their long relationship in a radio interview. Their teams play each other Sunday.

San Diego tight end Antonio Gates talks about the sense of urgency for the team in a radio interview.

The Redskins are meeting with tight end Chris Cooley next week. There has been some talk the Raiders (who could use a veteran tight end) could look into Cooley. But, clearly, he is going to wait and see what happens with the Redskins before even thinking about another team if there is, indeed, interest.

Pittsburgh star linebacker James Harrison is listed as questionable to play Sunday night at Denver because of a lingering knee injury. There is a report that says he won’t play. Denver coach John Fox is taking a wait-and-see approach on Harrison’s availability.

“We’ll kind of wait and see when the thing comes out officially and we’ll make that judgment then,” Fox said Friday. “We’re prepared for whoever they line up at outside backer to his side and we’ll go from there.”

ESPNW has a look at the off-field passion of Oakland fullback Marcel Reece.

Mailbag: Oakland's CB plan

June, 27, 2012
Mid-week mail call:

Tony from San Lorenzo, Calif., wants to know if I think fullback Owen Schmitt will make the 53-man roster.

Bill Williamson: He was signed partly for insurance if Marcel Reece didn’t sign his tender. Now that Reece has signed his tender, I still think Schmitt can make the roster. They are two different types of players and they fill different roles on the team. Schmitt can be a candidate to carry the ball in short-yardage situations. Also, he has a history with Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. So, I think Schmitt has a real chance to make the roster.

Dennis from San Diego wants to know if I think Robert Meachem will be a No. 1 receiver in San Diego.

BW: I think Malcom Floyd goes to camp as the No. 1 receiver and Meachem goes as the No. 2. In the end, I’m not sure if there will be any designation. I think Philip Rivers will spray the ball around to Floyd, Meachem, Vincent Brown, and Eddie Royal in addition to tight end Antonio Gates and the running backs. It will be a group effort in San Diego with Meachem getting his share of opportunities, especially on deep routes.

Eric from Fresno, Calif., wants to know if I think Shawntae Spencer will start at cornerback for Oakland.

BW: I think he goes to camp as the No. 2 cornerback behind Ronald Bartell. But I think Oakland’s young cornerbacks will be given a chance to develop. They will give 2011 draft choices Chimdi Chewka and DeMarcus Van Dyke an opportunity. I would be shocked if Chewka develops quickly enough to take Spencer’s job from him at some point.

AFC West injury update

October, 6, 2011
San Diego tight end Antonio Gates (foot) and receiver Vincent Jackson (hamstring) sat out practice again Thursday. The teams still hopes Jackson can play Sunday at Denver. Gates will likely miss his third straight game and not come back until after the Chargers’ bye next week.

Cornerback Quentin Jammer didn’t practice Thursday after he worked fully Wednesday. He missed Thursday’s practice with an illness. He missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury. San Diego center Nick Hardwick practiced fully Thursday after missing Wednesday’s practice with a neck injury.

In Denver, cornerback Champ Bailey continued to make strides toward returning Sunday after a three-week absence due to a hamstring injury. He told reporters in Denver on Thursday that he expects to play Sunday. He practiced fully both practice days this week.

Denver does have some issues at safety. Brian Dawkins (ankle) missed his second straight day of practice and fellow starter Rahim Moore missed Thursday’s practice with an illness. The Broncos hope they both play, but if not, rookie Quentin Carter and little-used veteran David Bruton would be set to play against the Chargers.

In Oakland, Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder), cornerback Chris Johnson (hamstring and, fullback Marcel Reece (ankle) haven’t practice this week and it may be difficult for them to play Sunday at Houston. None of the three players played in Week 4.

In Kansas City, rookie receiver Jonathan Baldwin practiced fully for the second straight day and he is on pace to play Sunday at Indianapolis for the first time this season. He has been out since mid-August after he reportedly injured his thumb in a fight with teammate Thomas Jones.

Key players out in Oakland

October, 2, 2011
OAKLAND –- The Raiders will be without three key players Sunday against New England.

Safety Michael Huff (concussion), defensive end Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder) and fullback Marcel Reece (ankle) are all inactive. They were all listed as questionable on the injury report Friday.

Trevor Scott and Jarvis Moss will likely help spell Shaughnessy. Mike Mitchell could play for Huff as the Raiders try to slow down New England quarterback Tom Brady.

As expected, receiver/returner Jacoby Ford is active. He ha missed the past two games with a hamstring injury.

New England is also dealing with injuries. Tight end Araron Hernandez (knee), defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth (back) and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back) are all out.

AFC West injury report

September, 30, 2011
San Diego tight end Antonio Gates is not expected to play against Miami, because of a lingering foot injury that kept him out of six games last season and last week’s game. I could see San Diego holding Gates out until after its Oct. 16 bye. Gates will be replaced by veteran Randy McMichael.

Cornerback Quentin Jammer is also doubtful. He suffered a hamstring injury last week. Promising rookie Marcus Gilchrist is expected to play for Jammer against Miami on Sunday.

The battered Chargers listed starting receivers Vincent Jackson (abdomen) and Malcom Floyd (groin) as questionable. But they both practiced fully Friday, so that is a good sign they will play Sunday. Running back Ryan Mathews (foot) and rookie defensive end Corey Liuget (ankle) are both probable after they both practiced fully Friday.

The Denver Broncos do not know if they will have the services of two key defensive players Sunday at Green Bay.

Both cornerback Champ Bailey (hamstring) and defensive end Elvis Dumervil (shoulder) have been listed as questionable on the injury report. Neither has been on the field since Week 1, and both were limited all week in practice.

Denver’s defense -- which was ranked No. 32 last season -- is ranked No. 16 this season. Getting Bailey and Dumervil back should only improve the Broncos.

Running back Knowshon Moreno is listed as probable. He has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury. He’ll likely back up Willis McGahee on Sunday while he shakes off the rust.

In Oakland, safety Michael Huff (concussion), defensive end Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder) and fullback Marcel Reece (ankle) are all questionable to play against New England on Sunday. All three are key cogs for the Raiders. Cornerback Chris Johnson (hamstring) and receiver Louis Murphy (sports hernia) are out, as expected. Receiver Jacoby Ford (hamstring) is listed as questionable, but he is expected to play for the first time since Week 1.

There are several Oakland players listed as probable, but they are all expected to play.

In Kansas City, cornerback Brandon Flowers (ankle) and safety Jon McGraw (shin) are questionable to play against visiting Minnesota on Sunday. They were both limited all week in practice. Rookie first-round pick Jon Baldwin is out. He has been limited in practice the past two weeks. He suffered a thumb injury in a reported fight with teammate Thomas Jones six weeks ago. It seems like Baldwin will play at some point, but you have to wonder how long it will take him to catch up when he does hit the field.

The kings of the underrated

June, 10, 2011
It’s Underrated Friday (if that’s even possible) here at

Earlier Friday, our blog network presented an underrated player for each NFL team. Our AFC West selections went this way: D.J. Williams (Denver), Brandon Carr (Kansas City), Marcell Reece (Oakland) and Antonio Garay (San Diego).

The great John Clayton complemented the package with his All-NFL underrated team. The AFC West was well represented. Six of the 22 players named by Clayton play in the AFC West. It was the most of any division in the NFL.

OK, so, the AFC West may be the division with the longest Super Bowl appearance drought in the NFL (Oakland represented the division in 2003), but at least we can hang our hat on something. Being underrated is better than being overrated.

Here are the AFC West players who Clayton tabbed for his team: Kyle Orton (Denver), Brandon Flowers (Kansas City), Jacoby Ford (Oakland), Shaun Phillips (San Diego), Garay and Reece. I can see the case for all of the players Clayton picked.

I think Flowers and Ford are soon to be Pro Bowl players and Phillips has long been a steady pass-rusher. Orton may soon be packing his bags. Denver is probably happy to see him make Clayton’s list. Anything that stokes the trade winds.