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Fred Jackson’s emergence raises questions about C.J. Spiller

Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Getty Images

Fred Jackson is one of the best stories in the NFL right now: At the age of 30, the Coe College product who spent most of his early 20s just trying to get an NFL team to look at him is off to an MVP-level start, with 369 rushing yards for the first-place Buffalo Bills.

But Jackson’s start raises some questions about what the Bills have in store for C.J. Spiller, the running back they took with the ninth overall pick in last year’s NFL draft. Spiller has played well in limited opportunities, with 94 yards on 13 carries, but the Bills have made it clear that their running game revolves around Jackson.

Spiller, however, says he’s not too concerned.

“I know I can play in this league,” Spiller told the Democrat and Chronicle. “I’m not letting my confidence shoot down because I’m not getting the touches. I know what I’m capable of doing, what type of player I am. I’m not for one second thinking that I can’t play running back in the NFL, so whenever I get my opportunity I’m going to take advantage of it.”

So is that opportunity going to come in Buffalo? Bills coach Chan Gailey says that right now, there just isn’t much room in his offense for Spiller.

“There’s only one football and when you’ve got some good receivers, a tight end who has done some good things, a running back that is playing well right now, you can’t do everything you’d like to do,” Gailey said. “We’ve got some ideas and some thoughts, it just hasn’t presented itself at this time the way we’d like to do it. Unfortunately right now he’s the odd man out. It may not be that way the whole season, but right now it is. I still think he’s going to be a very good player for us over the long haul.”

Spiller is only 24, so there’s still plenty of time for him to have a big role in the Bills’ offense. But not as long as Jackson plays the way he’s playing right now.

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32 Responses to “Fred Jackson’s emergence raises questions about C.J. Spiller”
  1. kingmj4891 says: Oct 8, 2011 10:03 AM

    I always felt Buffalo should not have taken Spiller with 9th pick that year, not that Spiller is not a gifted talent just that they would have been better served with a different position when RBs are a dime a dozen in this league. However, I would like to see Spiller as more of a WR/RB option and see some balls thrown his way.

  2. sketchydave says: Oct 8, 2011 10:11 AM

    Jackson for MVP are some well deserved words. Dude has worked so hard to get here, finally toting the rock full time and I’m not surprised how good he is. Last year lynch was being showcased and spiller was the new toy, fjax started after four games and still was 50 yards shy of 1000. I like what spiller can do but he seems to be like McFadden where he could take some time to learn, his instinct is still to hit the edge, this is the NFL the d ends run fast too.

    Anyway its great seeing my Buffalo Bills being talked about.
    #billsmafia #GoBills #billsnation

  3. 7thlombardiontheway says: Oct 8, 2011 10:11 AM

    Superior fan base – check
    Superior players – check
    Superior coaches – check
    Superior front office – check
    Superior media – check
    Superior facilities – check
    Superior stadium – check
    Superior concession stands – check
    Superior ballboys – check
    Superior at being superior – check

    The Steeler Nation’s dominance in this league is unmatched (6). This is unfair to you and we understand this. That is why we are making the neccessary changes to make it work for everyone. After we win our seventh Lombardi this year we will start our own league. You get to keep your pansy league while we start a real football league for the game as it was made.

    This league will consist of the Steelers organization (this means the superior facets listed above) ONLY. We will establish rules from the ground up. These rules will stick to the foundations the game was based on. 112 members of the NFL may enter this league after deemed “pure”. We’ll introduce our own draft system that will occur every year (details still need arrangement). The orginal Steelers team (in all it’s glory) will be divided into eight teams for the first season. The system is subject to change after every football year.

    Everyone prepare for the SFL

  4. billyhoyle4real says: Oct 8, 2011 10:14 AM

    Trade Spiller to Denver for Tebow. We need somebody to groom under Fitzy, if Denver didn’t take Tebow, we were next in line. Clearly Denver is over
    Tebow-mania and Buffalo would be a good quiet place for him to come hide and learn how the game is played. As for Spiller he was a reach that was supposed to put Gailey and Nix’s stamp on the organization… To me it’s a fair deal Tebow for Spiller, huge upside to both guys just find the right system… Ala Gailey’s spread style offense, which Tebow excelled in at the college level.

  5. clayjustsackedyou says: Oct 8, 2011 10:15 AM

    It typically takes a few years for RBs to develop. We’ve been spoiled watching guys like LT, Adrian Peterson, and Chris Johnson explode out of the gates as rookies.

    Take a look at guys like MJD, Darren McFadden, and Frank Gore. Elite-type RBs who took a little while to develop.

    Its Spiller’s 2nd season in the league so its still too early to call him a bust IMO. Next season should be the defining year.

  6. seneca1ss says: Oct 8, 2011 10:16 AM

    The Buccaneers need to acquire him ASAP (Freeman needs a guy like that)

  7. tigeralum2010 says: Oct 8, 2011 10:18 AM

    Hey billyhoyle4real

    A) Tebow isn’t a good NFL QB. He isn’t going to be
    “groomed” for anything but backup duty. Be happy with the quarterback you have. I’d also like to point out that in order for you to have somebody to “groom under Fitzy”, you need to have him signed for longer than this year.

    B) Not sure if you watch college football (or, judging by your analysis of Tebow, football at all) but Spiller excelled in a spread offense in college as well

  8. jagman225 says: Oct 8, 2011 10:33 AM

    The year is still young, still need two good backs in this league to make a push at the end.

  9. moneymike23 says: Oct 8, 2011 10:44 AM

    Pick made no sense at all , they also had Marshawn Lynch at the time.

  10. anhdazman says: Oct 8, 2011 11:02 AM

    9 out of 10 times, when a RB turns 30, they’re about to head down a steep hill in regards to performance. Fred Jackson is breaking that trend. He deserves to get paid. Unfortunately, the Bills probably knows full well about 30+ RBs in the league. That’s probably why they drafted Spiller even with Lynch on the roster. Hopefully, Jackson has a great year and squeezes out a big final contract before it’s all over.

  11. cjspiller12 says: Oct 8, 2011 11:06 AM

    billyhoyle4real ……As for Spiller he was a reach that was supposed to put Gailey and Nix’s stamp on the organization
    ________________________________
    Calling Spiller a reach shows how much you know about football. Spiller was projected to come off the draft board anywhere from 5 thru 9. This was said by all the experts. He was graded the best RB in the draft. Think before you post.

  12. tilllman40 says: Oct 8, 2011 11:07 AM

    Slot receiver , best option

  13. billsfan1 says: Oct 8, 2011 11:10 AM

    7thlombardiontheway says:Oct 8, 2011 10:11 AM Superior fan base – check

    Steelers have to start winning games this year before they can claim the title. I’ve got them finishing 2 in their division

  14. nowillrepeat says: Oct 8, 2011 11:17 AM

    Who was the last Clemson player that was worth a damn?

    The Fridge?

  15. nowillrepeat says: Oct 8, 2011 11:20 AM

    Oh, and 7th.

    Blahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for the good laugh tool

  16. EJ says: Oct 8, 2011 11:32 AM

    While Spiller has all of the physical attributes, Jackson has better vision. CJ will eventually be the starting back in Buffalo, his turn will come, but for now I am enjoying the ride on the Freddy J Train, ALL ABOARD!!!

    Go Bills!!!! #BillsMafia

  17. oldbyrd says: Oct 8, 2011 11:41 AM

    who ever plays will look like a pro bowl candidate against my Eagles. Reid has made so many bad decesions on personal that we are doomed.

  18. pftbillsfan says: Oct 8, 2011 11:45 AM

    a. Freddy might be 30 but not alot of tread, didn’t start full time until this year
    b. Steelers are a classy team with unclassy fans
    c. Renowned to groom under Fitz is weak because Fitz is 29
    s. RIP Al Davis you and Ralph are true pioneers sad to see one of you go.

  19. jaymc1988 says: Oct 8, 2011 12:09 PM

    funny how it takes bill belichek to give the guy shine to get him noticed..hes been a beast but hes been my marshawn lynch and then spiller which i still cant believe buffalo wasted a top 10 pick on another rb but hes been doing good. and im a giants fan

  20. jmsweeney81 says: Oct 8, 2011 12:19 PM

    Last Clemson player worth a damn was Brian Dawkins.

  21. majskinsfan says: Oct 8, 2011 12:56 PM

    nowillrepeat says:
    Oct 8, 2011 11:17 AM
    Who was the last Clemson player that was worth a damn?

    The Fridge?

    Redskins got a guys named Jarvis Jenkins that is going to dominate olines the he was before a torn ACL sidelined him.

  22. bonerchamp says: Oct 8, 2011 1:02 PM

    Great pick Buddy!!! How’s that best player avbailable working out for ya?

    MDS, this article should point out the fact that Buddy’s first draft is a complete bomb! No impact, not even a freeking starter!

    Hey Buddy, that baby is ugly!

  23. oxfordthecat says: Oct 8, 2011 2:07 PM

    We’re four games into the season, and the Bill’s fans are picking MVPs…….

    …. a long way to go just yet.

  24. londonbengal says: Oct 8, 2011 2:40 PM

    @ ’7thlombardiontheway’……
    you missed one category,

    jerkfans – check.

    Man, you know what marks real winners; how to win with class; respect for your opponents. Your team probably has plenty of players with class, but I’m afraid; you have none.

    You may well have seven Lombardis’ soon; but even if this happens, it will represent a mark several points higher than your IQ.

  25. ndnut says: Oct 8, 2011 2:45 PM

    To all you saying that the Spiller pick didn’t make sense, you’re wrong. They knew they wouldn’t have Lynch much longer and Jackson wasn’t proven yet (in the NFL, I watched him play in United Bowl I, championship game for the old United Indoor Football, now the Indoor Football League. He was RB for the Sioux City Bandits, and I watched my Sioux Falls Storm slow him down enough to win. Sioux City had good receivers along with Jackson, but not enough of a QB. Watch an INDOOR game i.e. NOT ARENA, there is a difference, sometime and you will see where he got his vision).

  26. wwwmattcom says: Oct 8, 2011 2:53 PM

    I didn’t agree with taking Spiller because I wanted an O-lineman but the guys worth a first round pick were gone, same with D-Line.

    Spiller is a RB and a WR and PR KR. It turns out to be a good pick in my eyes.

    In the 2nd and 3rd round they got a couple of guys who are backups right now because Kyle Williams only started to shine in 2010.

    In 2011 the bills again got the best available player and it was a DT. So now those guys take a back seat in the 3-4.

    They are good back ups though. 2010 was not a wasted draft.

    Marcus Easley is medically not allowed to play football.

    Moats is good, Batten sees the field and our seventh rounders are, 7th round picks, what’d you expect.

    Biggest disappointment in 2010, Ed Wang.

  27. rajbais says: Oct 8, 2011 3:02 PM

    C.J. Spiller is the most blatant bust ever!!!

    A blatant bust is someone who fails even though he had few to no red flags or no huge concerns; a great enough skill based on coaches’ tape, and is unable to do well at a position that is easy to transition to!!!

    Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, and Tony Mandarich had blatant red flags; Spiller had none and that’s why he could be a bigger bust than any of these three guys!!!

  28. august1969 says: Oct 8, 2011 3:03 PM

    Steelers suck buddy. Old, tired, broken. See you in 7 years when your team returns to relevance like the almighty Patriots.

    And you probably run like a broad.

  29. jaworkaholic says: Oct 8, 2011 4:18 PM

    Reggie Bush 2.0

  30. mydailyff.com says: Oct 8, 2011 4:38 PM

    Chill out haters… He has plenty of time to emerge. Lots of backs have been in the shadows for a couple years before blowing up. Chris Johnson is the anomaly and not the rule–blowing up in his rookie year like he did. Spiller still has that sort of upside, but he will need to get into a system that fits his skills better. He is in a system right now and with an offensive line right now that perfectly complements the skill set of Fred Jackson. Meanwhile, he is a juke you out, get to the edge, elusive type runner. He could thrive in a West Coast offense like the Eagles, a la LeSean McCoy. There’s another guy it took a little while to get up to speed, but when he got going he was a legit threat. It just so happened in this instance that the Bills drafted a talented guy who would not fit their system. That is a knock on the Bills more than a knock on Spiller. When the Bills change their offensive mindset or Spiller changes teams, he’ll be on my radar…

  31. keepyerstickontheice says: Oct 9, 2011 4:22 PM

    Buddy is 4-1, first place AFC East.

  32. keepyerstickontheice says: Oct 9, 2011 4:35 PM

    A bigger bust than Aaron Maybin? or Mike Williams? Really? You really should watch more football. It’s a great game you are missing.

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