Despite a breakout season for C.J. Spiller as the running back for the Buffalo Bills last year, he isn’t going to be put in exactly the same role, as his talents are pushing his coaches to try and make more of him in other positions, and making less of mess of their running back controversy.
Because the talk in Buffalo is around Spiller and Fred Jackson, despite the younger man, Spiller (25), running for 1244 yards last season, adding 459 through receptions, averaging 6.8 yards per touch last season. Jackson, 31, played in 10 games, finishing with 437 yards, averaging 3.7 yards per carry.
But Doug Marrone, the new head coach, was also the guy who helped Sean Payton use Reggie Bush as a slot receiver and decoy during his three seasons as the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints (2006-2008) before taking on the Syracuse job. And according to Spiller, he doesn’t mind being taken out of the backfield and put to different use across the line.
We’re going to try to use me as much as possible and not let teams just get one beam on me and just saying I can just run the ball. Hopefully, I’ll be utilized in space, in the slot or whatever the case may be to try to help us find those mismatches to take advantage of them.
The difference between this idea and what the Saints ran successfully with Marrone and Payton was the quarterback. There aren’t that many Drew Bress’ rolling around the NFL, and the Bills, who still aren’t sure who’ll be their starting quarterback next season (EJ Manuel?), might not really be able to execute such a gameplan with the same efficiency.
Spiller is one of the more exciting upcoming offensive playmakers in the NFL, with an ability to make things happen in more than just one way. Yes, Fred Jackson can still be useful under certain circumstances, but it might not be worth sacrificing Spiller’s yards on the ground just so Jackson can get a few more touches that don’t get the team anywhere.