The change from Greg Knapp to Greg Olson as the Raiders' offensive coordinator is good news for running back Darren McFadden . Whereas McFadden struggled in Knapp's zone-blocking scheme, Olson is more of a power running guy, something that fits McFadden's skill set. Olson said Wednesday to reporters that he will feature McFadden in the offense next season. But he also won't forget about Marcel Reece , who filled in when McFadden went down with a foot injury during the middle of the year and gained more than 100 yards from scrimmage in three separate games. Reece was a receiver in college who caught 52 passes in 2012. That ability makes him perfect for a third-down role, and Olson said there is "no question" he would like to use Reece as such.
"I was really pleasantly surprised in that part of the game that he could go in and be a third-down back," Olson said of Reece. "Not just a plug-in type guy. But not only did he do it, but he did it well. I was excited to see that."
Reece deserves to get his touches after producing some nice numbers -- and saving some fantasy teams late last season. His presence means McFadden will see fewer receptions, but Reece shouldn't be a major threat to McFadden as the undisputed head of the Raiders' running game. After such a poor season with Knapp, fans in Oakland and in the fantasy community are clamoring for McFadden to get the ball often as the Raiders return to a power run offense. Olson will see that through.
However, what Olson can't control is McFadden's fragility. I want to believe that he will rebound in 2013, but he has never stayed healthy during his five-year career. He is a first-round talent, but I won't be paying a first-round price for a guy who has missed at least three games per season every year since 2008. I did that last year, and it burned me.