ALAMEDA -- Marcel Reece isn't putting much value behind the numbers he's had in the two games since taking over as the Oakland Raiders' starting running back.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.
NAPA – Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem during Saturday’s exhibition opener against Arizona. We’re still not sure why.
It’s assumed by many to be in protest of racial inequality and mistreatment of minorities, a timely sentiment following racially fueled violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Uncertainty remains because the Raiders running back hasn’t explained his reasoning. He contemplated speaking after Tuesday’s practice but decided against it.
That leave us left to wonder what was going through Lynch’s head. Was this a case of Marshawn being Marshawn, an unorthodox fellow who often swims upstream? Was he simply enjoying a seat and a banana, or was it politically motivated and worthy of being lumped into national anthem protests by Colin Kaepernick and others in 2016 and Michael Bennett on Sunday?
It seems that way while connecting dots, especially with Lynch’s support for Kaepernick in a 2016 interview with Conan O’Brien. The public doesn’t know for sure. Bennett made his protest crystal clear on Sunday, with an eloquent explanation following Seattle’s exhibition against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Lynch could’ve cleared things up and didn’t. That leaves many left to wonder. Silence, in these cases, breeds speculation. We’ll try to avoid that here. Lynch doesn’t speak to the press, and I don’t mind a bit. This instance is an exception. Insight could direct this unguided narrative with a tweet, a statement or a few moments in front of a microphone. His message, if there is one, loses power without backing. If it was designed to illuminate issues in this country, Lynch must direct the spotlight. If his choice to sit wasn't socially charged, then let's put the issue to bed and re-focus on Raiders football.
It’s uncertain whether Lynch will address it this week, this season or ever.
The Raiders hope to avoid the topic altogether and let this incident blow over. It hasn’t been a major topic in the locker room. Head coach Jack Del Rio didn’t add anything in his Tuesday press conference, referring to a Saturday postgame statement on the matter where he called it a non-issue.
The Raiders’ belief, it seems, is that a fire won’t burn without fuel.
Del Rio strongly believes in standing for the national anthem. That’s been clear for a year, when he expressed that sentiment following Kaepernick’s anthem protests.
That didn’t stop Raiders linebackers Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith from holding up a fist during the national anthem a few times in 2016, though those actions didn’t last long.
Del Rio said Saturday that he respects the fact Lynch is his own man and hasn’t always stood for the national anthem. There were times in Seattle when he wasn’t present for the Star Spangled Banner. There were times he sat and times he stood at attention. He was never asked whether it was a form protest. Kaepernick started the movement last year, one Lynch couldn’t join while retired from football.
There’s no telling what Lynch will do Saturday against the Los Angeles Rams, the first time he’ll represent the Raiders in Oakland. No matter what he does, it’ll be news. With or without an explanation. Lynch doesn’t feel the need to satisfy public demand for insight, and won’t simply bow to public pressure.
Anthem protests can bring attention to social causes, but they’re polarizing to be sure. That’s the case in public, among football fans and cable-news junkies alike.
NFL locker rooms are full of different personalities, united under a common goal. Del Rio wants his guys focused only on that heading toward a season with lofty expectations.
“We want to have a collection of individuals that come together as a team to play football,” Del Rio told USA Today’s Lindsay Jones. “We don't need everybody in the organization to think the same way I think, or have the same feelings that I have about different topics.
“I mean, we're in America. That's one of the things we have. We have the freedom to be ourselves.”
Lynch is certainly his own man, a unique personality who has devoted great time, money and effort to improving his native Oakland.
Bennett explained his motivation for sitting during the anthem in a first-person narrative posted by Yahoo! Sports, and said seeing Lynch sit wasn’t a shock. Bennett also believes Lynch sat down for a cause.
“It didn’t surprise me that Marshawn Lynch sat, too,” Bennett said. “I think he’s one of the people in the forefront who are making changes in the community. That’s what he believes in. I think we both believe in our community, we both believe that people can be great. We don’t believe that this is the end; we believe there’s more out there – there are more things we can do as people, more ways to challenge ourselves.”
NAPA – Raiders tight end Jared Cook hasn't formally spoken to teammate Marshawn Lynch about his decision to sit during the national anthem during Saturday’s exhibition opener against Arizona.
It’s assumed by many to be in protest of racial inequality and mistreatment of minorities, especially on the heels of racially fueled violence in Charlottesville, Va. Count Cook among them.
The veteran running back has remained mum on the matter in public and, with Cook at least, in private.
If he was in fact protesting by sitting out the national anthem, tight end Cook is glad Lynch took a stand. Cook has stood up against racial inequality, most notably after racial unrest caused by police shootings in Ferguson, Mo., while with the St. Louis Rams. He said it’s vital to speak out against injustice.
“I’m proud of him,” tight end Jared Cook told reporters, with quotes via the Associated Press. “I think it’s awesome. Everybody has points of discussion after what happened in Charlottesville just the night before. I think it’s important for men in our position to step up and speak on unnecessary situations we find ourselves in as minorities in this country. That’s why I’m proud of him.”
Former 49ers Colin Kaepernick became the face of the anthem protest movement last year, when he kneeled during the national anthem and was joined by others around the league.
Cook said he has thought about joining a new round of protests, including one executed by Seattle’s Michael Bennett before a Sunday exhibition against the Los Angeles Chargers. Unlike Lynch, Bennett articulated his reasoning well in postgame comments. Cook said it’s uncertain whether he’ll join in.
“As far as the future goes, I don’t know. I don’t know,” he said. “I know I feel uneasy about the situation going on in this country and have been for a while.”