- Mike Rodak, ESPN Staff Writer
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For most observers, their first question was: "Can Spiller handle it?"
At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, there are natural concerns about whether Spiller will be able to handle the physical toll of an increased workload. He finished last season with 207 carries, 22nd in the NFL.
On Thursday, head coach Doug Marrone addressed the concerns to the "SVP & Russillo" show on ESPN Radio:
"The knock, obviously, from what we've heard early on, is can he carry the ball 'X' amount of times over the course of a season and a game? C.J. has worked extremely hard and he is up for that challenge," Marrone said. "(But) that is something that is probably a little bit of an unknown."
Durable or not, Spiller presents a matchup nightmare for the Patriots, head coach Bill Belichick said this week.
"He’s one of the most explosive players in the league. He has great run vision, speed, catching the ball, he can line up out of the backfield like a receiver, can run receiver routes out of the backfield. He’s a combination of a back and a receiver. He’s a hard guy to tackle, a hard guy to cover; a versatile player who has a lot of skill," Belichick said. "He’s one of the toughest players in the league to match up against."
Marrone was asked if there were any limitations to where Spiller can contribute in the offense.
"I don't think there's a limit," Marrone told ESPN Radio." "He's a playmaker. You have to make sure that he's getting his touches during the course of the game, whether you're handing him the ball or throwing him the football."