The Buffalo Bills have one of the most talented and efficient running backs in the league in C.J. Spiller, who rushed for 1,244 yards on just 207 carries last season for an average of six yards per carry. Fred Jackson has long been the stand out running back in Buffalo, but it seems like he is headed for a reduced role next season with Spiller becoming the clear No. 1 back. I’ve always been a big admirer of Jackson for his toughness, pass-catching ability, blocking, and pure rushing, but Spiller is the better back at this stage of their careers. Based on what offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said, it sounds like Spiller is in line for a big season with the touches to match his level of production.
Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller (28) catches the ball during training camp at St. John Fisher College. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Hackett said on WGR 550’s “The Howard Simon Show” , “It’s real simple. We’re going to give him the ball until he throws up. So he’s either got to tap out or throw up on the field. Let’s just put it that way.”
Although there is some worry that the Bills could be overworking C.J. Spiller, he is the best player on the Bills offense and has the sort of game-changing ability that defenses have to account for on every play. It’s no secret that Spiller is going to get the rock more, and both Doug Marrone and Hackett sound like they would love nothing more than to give Spiller has many touches (I would presume through the air as well) as possible. It looks like Spiller is in line for 250+ carries and possibly 50 catches (he had 43 last season) in 2013, but the Bills should be sure not to give Spiller over 300, no matter how talented he is and how tempting that total would be.
But the language that Hackett used, “until he throws up”, stands out, and you wonder if the Bills could be on their way to hurting Spiller in the long run. The 26-year-old Clemson product is one heckuva a weapon, though, and the Bills do need to give him more touches since 107 touches in 2011 and even 207 in 2012 aren’t enough. For Spiller’s sake, let’s just hope that they don’t move those carries up by 100 again in 2013, unless if they are absolutely sure he can handle it.