Raiders key matchup No. 1: Marcel Reece vs. Vontaze Burfict

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Raiders key matchup No. 1: Marcel Reece vs. Vontaze Burfict

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final part in a series that spotlighted three Raiders-Bengals matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m. (CBS), at Paul Brown StadiumRaiders RB Marcel Reece vs. Bengals LB Vontaze BurfictTale of the tape
Reece (45): 6-foot-1, 255 pounds, fourth season, Washington
Burfict (55): 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, rookie season, Arizona StateCINCINNATI -- Surely there are no more questions about whether Marcel Reece, the street free agent who was a wide receiver in college, before being converted into a fullback and then showing he can play a mean tailback, can be an impact player in the NFL.Not after rushing for 103 yards, on 19 carries, and catching four passes for 93 yards, last week against New Orleans, right?"I knew he was a weapon and I didn't know exactly how he was going to fit, or how he was going to run, but he's done an outstanding job," admitted Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen. "As long as he continues to do the things he's doing, we're going to continue to give him opportunities."As the Raiders should. And with Reece a matchup nightmare, it only makes sense for the Bengals to put the ultra-athletic Vontaze Burfict on him. Burfict, like Reece, an undrafted college free agent, has stepped into the weakside linebacker role admirably for Thomas Howard, the former Raider who was lost for the season after Week 1 with a knee injury.RELATED: McFadden, Goodson, Seymour ruled out ... again
Burfict, whom teams stayed away from mostly because of image problems, has kept his nose relatively clean in Cincinnati. His 67 tackles rank fourth among NFL rookies and he also has a sack and two fumble recoveries. He had a monster game against Pittsburgh with 16 tackles. In fact, Burfict has registered double-digit tackles in five of his eight starts."Theyre a fast defense," said Reece, who was a mere seven receiving yards away from joining Marcus Allen as the only other Raiders player with triple digits in both rushing and receiving in the same game against the Saints."They have a lot of talent over there. Im not worried about what people say. I dont read too much what people say anyway. From what Ive seen on film, its going to be a challenge for us. Just get started early, and often."Which should mean feeding Reece just as earlyand often."You know what? Its not necessarily (about) being that guy," Reece said. We have so many playmakers on this team that no one's that guy. Darren McFaddens the bellcow for this team and will be the bellcow for this team. Right now were kind of playing running back by committee. When it really comes down to it, youre just trying to make plays the way youre supposed to make plays, whether its with the ball in your hands, whether its blocking or whether its helping someone else out. You just have to contribute."McFadden, though, is not able to contribute. His ankle injury is keeping him out of his third straight game, ensuring he will not play more than 13 gamesagain.Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, meanwhile, compared Reece to Jerome Bettis, with more speed."He's a unique type of player," Lewis told Cincinnati media this week."I remember seeing him on tape last year and calling up Hue and asking who that guy was and where he came from. But he does, he has some special ability."Reece, to his credit, brushes it all off."You just go out there, do your job to the best of your abilities, you fight for the guy thats to the left and to the right of you and behind you," Reece said. "No one man, no one group, is bigger than this team or the game of football. I just feel like as far as the numbers, none of that matters unless you get a 'W.'"I dont care if its number of touches, I dont care if its number of yards or lack thereof. If youre not winning, it doesnt matter. You have to win."

Report: Former Raiders RB arrested for domestic violence

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AP

Report: Former Raiders RB arrested for domestic violence

Trent Richardson is reportedly in some trouble.

Richardson was arrested on Thursday night for domestic violence, according to TMZ Sports.

The former running back was taken into custody on a third degree charge, the report states, with bail being set for $1,000.

The arrest was made in Hoover, Alabama.

The Browns selected Richardson with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft.

He was traded to the Colts in 2013 and played for Indianapolis in 2014.

He signed with the Raiders in 2015 and appeared in three exhibition games, but did not make the team.

The 26-year old was cut by the Ravens last August.

Downing: Carr will have increased influence on Raiders game plan

Downing: Carr will have increased influence on Raiders game plan

Derek Carr and Todd Downing are tight. A strong friendship was forged between the Raiders’ franchise quarterback and his position coach these past two seasons, one that should help the Raiders now that Downing will call plays.

The Raiders new offensive coordinator will use his young signal caller as a resource formulating a game plan. Carr has a bright offensive mind – he called his own plays in high school and in college at times – and Downing plans to use it to put his quarterback in positions to succeed.

Carr’s influence in preparation will expand over previous seasons under coordinator Bill Musgrave.

“Where I see him needing a little bit more command is just being able to share his thoughts of game plans,” Downing said Wednesday in a conference call. “Being a student of the game, as he already is, but vocalize what he likes and doesn’t like. I think my relationship with him is something that’s going to give him the opportunity to voice his opinions. I look forward to him really taking charge of expressing his thoughts on the offense.”

Carr has always had freedom to adjust at the line of scrimmage, but that could increase with Downing in charge. Derek Carr’s brother Davis Carr told 95.7 The Game as much a few weeks ago, a topic Downing addressed on Wednesday.

“There’s been a lot made about his command at the line of scrimmage,” Downing said. “There’s certainly going to be opportunities for Derek to do that. That’s not something I feel we’ll even have to get into until we’re much further into this offseason and into training camp.”

Downing had opportunities to interview with other teams this offseason, but head coach Jack Del Rio wanted to pair Downing and Carr together. The young duo have similar personalities and a strong working relationship based on a love of the game.

“My relationship with Derek starts there,” Downing said in Wednesday interview on 95.7-FM. “We both love coming to work each day and respect the heck out of each other. When you have that kind of relationship with any coach, you’re taking a step in the right direction. Derek’s the leader of our franchise. In my opinion, he’s the best young quarterback in football. We’re fortunate to have him. Why wouldn’t I be in a good mood every time I am around him?”

Carr made great progress working with Downing the past two years, and was an MVP candidate in 2016. Downing sees continued room for growth and refinement as next season approaches.

“I think Derek made big strides in 2016, just in terms of his command of the offense, being the field general, being able to get through progressions more efficiently,” Downing said. “His footwork took big strides. I certainly want him to remain focused on all of those attributes. You don’t want to feel like you’ve arrived in a certain area of your game and then have it go backwards when the next season starts. Certainly, I want him focused on all of those.”