Raiders FB Reece would prefer Ws instead of stats
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP)
He might be the only one.
Oakland's primary fullback the past two seasons, Reece has amassed nearly 300 yards in total offense while providing some much-needed stability to a backfield that has been plagued by injuries this year. Last week against New Orleans, he fell 10 receiving yards shy of joining Hall of Famer Marcus Allen as the only players in franchise history to have 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in one game.
Just don't expect him to make a big deal about it.
''None of that matters unless you get a W,'' Reece said Friday. ''I don't care if it's number of touches. I don't care if it's number of yards or lack thereof. If you're not winning, it doesn't matter.''
With the Raiders (3-7) mired in a three-game losing streak, Reece shrugs off his achievements as little more than stats on paper.
Yes, he's got a higher yards-per-carry average than Darren McFadden. And his 151 rushing yards over the past two weeks are more than backups Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones have combined for the entire season.
But for a player who has never been on a team that won more than eight games since entering the NFL as an undrafted wide receiver out of Washington in 2008, the numbers are meaningless without the corresponding success in the standings.
''When it really comes down to it, you're just trying to make plays the way you're supposed to make plays,'' Reece said. ''It's about being able to contribute to trying to help your team win and being productive at it.''
Reece toiled in relative obscurity for the first two months of the season despite being one of the Raiders' most productive players in 2011.
That all changed when McFadden and Goodson got hurt during Oakland's Nov. 4 game against Tampa Bay. While Jones, a fourth-round pick last year, seemed like a logical replacement, he's had problems hanging onto the ball so the Raiders turned to Reece.
Thus far the results have been impressive.
''I knew he was a weapon (but) I didn't know exactly how he was going to fit or how he was going to run,'' Oakland coach Dennis Allen said. ''He's done an outstanding job. As long as he continues to do the things he's doing we'll continue to give him opportunities.''
Including this week in Cincinnati.
McFadden and Goodson are both out while Jones is questionable. All three have ankle injuries, and while McFadden has made slow progress, it hasn't been enough to get back on the practice field.
That means a third straight start at tailback for Reece, though fellow fullback Owen Schmitt isn't sure his teammate should even have a position title next to his name.
''He's just an athlete in a big-man's body,'' Schmitt said. ''Yeah his title is fullback, but really he's a guy that can do it all. He can, when needed, do anything you ask. A guy like that is so valuable on the team.''
Quarterback Carson Palmer has started relying more heavily on Reece, too, as the Raiders' wide receiving corps battles its own injury issues.
After catching 18 passes for 177 yards in Oakland's first seven games, Reece has 19 receptions for 241 yards over the past three.
At some point over the next two weeks, Reece is also likely to double his career output in both rushing and receiving. If he does, don't expect much talk about it.
''It's just whatever,'' Reece said. ''You just go out there and do your job to the best of your abilities. You fight for the guy that's to the left and to the right of you and behind you. No one man, no one group, is bigger than this team.''
Notes: DT Richard Seymour (knee, hamstring) accompanied the team on the flight to Cincinnati but will sit out his third straight game. ... SS Tyvon Branch practiced without limitations and is expected to start after missing last week's game against New Orleans with a neck injury.
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