Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spiller feels he's getting back to explosive 2012 form


Following a 2012 campaign where running back C.J. Spiller tallied more than 1,700 yards from scrimmage, Buffalo Bills fans expected record-breaking results a year later.

What they got was a high ankle sprain and dampened hopes.

The 26-year-old spent much of his 2013 season limping, working to recover from his Week 4 injury but also trying to get in as many snaps as his ankle could handle. The result was a respectable but unsatisfying 933 yards on the ground, as well as 40 percent less yards through the air than the year before.

Since then, the former Clemson product has been in rehab mode, trying to get back to his prime form. Most recently, Spiller spent time working out with quarterback E.J. Manuel in California, and he brought some positive reports about his progress.

"The ankle has been responding pretty well since the offseason started, being able to plant and cut, so I definitely feel that explosion coming back to how I was in 2012,” he said this week, via

Spiller averaged a ridiculous six yards per carry during his 2012 season and another 10.7 yards through the air. That reception average was cut in half last year, though the hobbled back was still able to muster a 4.6-yard average on the ground.

Though Spiller has said he doesn't "have any concerns or doubts" about his role this season, it would be hard to see the elusive runner as a feature back early on, especially if teammate Fred Jackson can continue to produce. Open-field opportunities seem to be where he's most deadly, though as coach Doug Marrone showed late in the season last year, he's not afraid to use him as a between-the-tackles option.

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