Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

Fred Jackson returns to practice

The New England Patriots next opponent, the Buffalo Bills, is known for having one of the best two-headed rushing attacks in the NFL. After C.J. Spiller went down on Sunday, it looked like the Bills would be without both Spiller and Fred Jackson against the Patriots in Week 4 to some.

However, Jackson, who keeps on proving he is one of the toughest players in the game, is making a six-week injury turned two-week injury a reality. He gave himself a 70-75% chance of playing on Sunday, and head coach Chan Gailey has raved about his incredibly quick progress from an LCL tear (three to eight week timetable).

Jackson has progressively increased his health, and his two week return from this injury is certainly one of those rare stories you see on the injury front.

All that optimism has culminated in this; Jackson has returned to practice.

Incredible right? Jackson is a notorious Pats-killer, and he is one of the most talented and versatile backs in the league with his speed, toughness, pass blocking ability, and receiving ability.

The Bills are lucky to have such a talented RB duo, and it looks like Jackson will be playing against the Pats on Sunday. Although Spiller has not been ruled out, I expect him to be out due to Jackson’s return and the fact that he sustained his shoulder injury just a couple of days ago. Gailey said it isn’t as bad as once thought, but it’s still most likely going to keep him out of Week 4′s game against New England.

Meanwhile, Tashard Choice and Jackson will be splitting carries, which is great news for our AFC East rivals. I highly doubt the Bills would want to roll with Choice- a chance-of-pace No. 3  back- as the best option against the Pats vaunted run defense.

So far, Jackson has made huge strides, but the progression from the injury still isn’t over. If he keeps moving forward at this rate, them he will be in line for a full workload which will no doubt scare the Patriots. We already struggled against Ray Rice and the Baltimore Ravens. While Jackson isn’t as good as Rice, he’s still one of the best backs in the league and has similar versatility.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Buffalo Bills Fred Jackson

  • NWBill

    Don’t be too sure about Jackson playing much on Sunday. Chan Gailey is not the type of coach who would risk Fred’s health the rest of the season in order to beat the Pats first time out of the box. If I were him, I’d be thinking about making sure that I have both Jackson and Spiller for the SECOND divisional game against NE; not the first. The Bills were hit so badly with the injury bug last year that being cautious with two backs of the caliber of Jackson and Spiller is just common sense. Also, we have SF coming up after you guys, and then Arizona. The Bills, although they’ve made tons of progress in terms of their depth this past off season, still aren’t in the Pats’ league in terms of overall depth – and both Buddy Niz and Chan know it.

    Another factor to consider is that we just changed punters this week … so there’s going to be enough adjustments being made without having to also contend with reinjuring Jackson. Look for him to come on the field in the second half, if at all; and even then, unless the Bills are leading by a substantial margin, it’s not going to be for many plays.

    I would, in fact, expect to see more of CJ Spiller on Sunday than I would Jackson; word is that his injury wasn’t nearly as serious as it seemed …. and he’s another tough guy like #22.

    Whatever happens, though …. it ought to be a really good game for both teams (especially if they can get the regular refs back in time!).

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Looks like the regular refs are back, so nothing can tarnish the hype leading up to the game- or the game itself for that matter.

      Yeah, saw the update on Spiller and wrote up a piece on that- news came just after I published this one. Things move fast, huh?

      Not sure who is more likely to return on Sunday, but I would think the Bills will rest one of them so as not to risk both of them as the season goes on. However, I think the Bills will allow one of them to play in order to have a better chance of beating the Pats.

      I agree with you that risking the health of a player for a season- and possibly more- isn’t worth it for just one game, and that plays into the thought that Spiller has a better shot of playing over Jackson due to his injury being far less severe.

      But we’ll see, it’s all uncertainty at this point.