Marrone maintains stance on Spiller's ankle

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
5:30
PM ET
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The C.J. Spiller saga continues.

Three months after offensive coordinator Nate Hackett said the Buffalo Bills would run Spiller "until he throws up," Spiller had another quiet game in Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, rushing eight times for 23 yards.

Spiller played in just 33 percent of snaps -- down from his season-high of 58 percent, set in Weeks 1 and 2 -- and this time, his high-ankle sprain wasn't a factor, coach Doug Marrone said Monday.

"It doesn't have anything to do with his ankle," Marrone said. "[It's] game plan and how we're putting those guys in there."

Asked if future game plans -- the Bills have just six games remaining -- could include more of Spiller, Marrone didn't hesitate in his response.

"Could increase, could decrease," he said. "We'll see it week to week. But it's not a knock on injury or what we do, it's about what we're trying to get done."

Spiller said last week he doesn't feel 100 percent healthy despite being removed from the injury report, while Marrone said any player removed from the injury report is a "full go."

Although Spiller broke two long runs against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9, he was ineffective Sunday in Pittsburgh, something that Marrone hinted could be part of why Spiller's playing time remains low.

"We're trying to be very productive in the running game," he said. "We're trying to gain yards, keep things at a short distance, which we did at times yesterday."

That need to keep third downs short and manageable may have led Sunday -- and could continue to lead -- the Bills to use Fred Jackson, a more hard-charging runner than Spiller, more often.

"I think both players are productive in their own way, with two different styles, which isn't a problem," Marrone said. "But at the same sense, did we run the ball like we wanted to? Absolutely not. I don't think you need to be a genius to figure that out."

The Bills' struggles at quarterback are well-documented and if the Bills are to have any success offensively, they will need their duo at running back to pick up the slack.

And if Spiller isn't doing that, Marrone has sent the message loud and clear this week: His ankle injury is no longer an excuse.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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