Friday, February 24, 2012
Chan Gailey: C.J. Spiller can carry load
By James Walker
One of the biggest offseason storylines in Buffalo this year is how the Bills will better share the football between starting running back Fred Jackson and 2010 first-round pick C.J. Spiller. Buffalo coach Chan Gailey addressed that dynamic at the NFL combine.
Both tailbacks are talented. But Jackson has been the primary ball carrier in Buffalo's offense, leaving Spiller mostly in a limited role until late in the season.
Spiller filled in well during the final six games after Jackson suffered a season-ending leg injury. Spiller rushed for 446 yards and five total touchdowns in that span to take momentum into the offseason.
"He could be an every down back. I don't see any reason he couldn't carry 20- 25 if he needed to," Gailey said of Spiller. "But he’s a valuable, versatile player. He can play wideout. We’re fortunate to have two very good backs. I’m going to try to make sure we keep them fresh and wear ‘em out at the same time. Does that make sense? But you want them to be on the field doing something, running routes, creating a threat for the defense."
Gailey added that Jackson is fully healed from his injury, which is good news for Buffalo. But the coaching staff has to figure out a way to use a healthy Jackson and Spiller next season to their full capabilities.
A report surfaced that Spiller is ready to turn up his game in Year 3 and compete for a starting role. That probably won't happen next season with Jackson still on the roster and about to get a contract extension. But Gailey said it's a good problem to have.
"If every guy I have on the team doesn't want to be a starter, I've got the wrong guys," Gailey said. "I want everybody to want to be a starter. But everybody's not. There's 11 of 'em. You have to learn to handle that. Whoever it is. You have to learn to handle it."