Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spiller on board with Bills' by-committee RB plan


After watching C.J. Spiller average 6 yards a carry last season, Buffalo Bills fans hope the electric tailback's touches skyrocket this year.

Spiller would just be content with busting the team's playoff drought. (photo: Matt Britt, Flickr)

The fourth-year back broke out in 2012 for more than 1,200 yards despite his meager 207 attempts. While fellow running backs Fred Jackson and Tashard Choice were proficient from a pure statistical standpoint in his absence, both came up short in the big-play categories that made Spiller's season remarkable.

Spiller had 21 total plays that went for 20 yards or more last season — 12 of those were on the ground (second only to Adrian Peterson) and nine were in the air (most of any running back). According to Pro Football Focus, he had the third-most YAC yards among running backs, and he managed 3.6 yards on the ground after contact.

So why not push the chips in the middle and give him the ball 350 times this season?

Spiller had the answer to that question Wednesday, telling Dan Goldman of the Messenger Post in Canandaigua that we wasn't going to let his ego overshadow the importance of his health, or his confidence in his teammates.

"If I feel I can’t go full speed, I’ll definitely go to the sideline and let Fred (Jackson) or whoever the other back is go in," Spiller said. “The good thing for us is we have a great stable of backs who can go in and get the job done, not just one person. We all pride ourselves on being in top-notch shape, but at the end of the day you have to be smart. 

"It’s a long season and you want to be just as healthy at the end of it."

The running back corps is fully aware of the injury risk that comes with the role, particularly in the last couple years. Jackson has taken the brunt of the blowback, missing a total of 12 games the past two years for various injuries including a broken leg. Spiller, though he didn't miss any games in 2012, did experience some injuries of his own last season, which cut down on his touches early on.

The former Clemson standout told Goldman that he's been doing all he can to try to replicate and surpass his performance from a year ago, but helping the team snap its 14-year absence from the playoffs is top priority. 

"I’m working extremely hard to try to better myself and try to help my team win," he said. "If I’m able to duplicate what I did last year that’d be great, but if I don’t and we still make the playoffs, that’d be even more wonderful."

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