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Bills trying to strike balance with Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller

Bills' C.J. Spiller AP

Bills coach Chan Gailey can’t decide how to pick between Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.

So the answer, in short bursts at least, is to use both.

Gailey said he wanted to use the two talented running backs in tandem at times this year, in order to maximize their effectiveness.

“You don’t want to do too much when they’re both in there because if you lose one of them then you’re without a big part of your package,” Gailey told Chris Brown of the team’s official website. “So you’re trying to construct enough to create problems for the defense, but not so much that you’re relying totally on having both of them at the same time.

“That’s a fine line that you walk creating offenses to be able to take advantage of both good players.”

Like the Bills, Jackson was off to a good start last year, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, and showing an impressive ability to make plays as a receiver. But when he broke his right fibula in Week 11, Spiller didn’t miss a beat, producing at a near-Jackson level, with four 100-yards from scrimmage games and five touchdowns over the last five weeks.

Having a pair of backs who can average more than 5.0 yards per carry creates its own problems, and Gailey’s up-front about the challenge.

“I can promise you this, we will not make everybody happy,” Gailey said. “That will not happen this year. The only thing that will make everybody happy is winning. That’s what the goal is, to come up with plans that incorporate everybody’s abilities that allow us to win.

“Other than that I can’t predict what’s going to happen as far as percentages for their touches.”

Spiller has the kind of open-field ability to split wide, but both backs have shown they could be the guy if need be. Managing their expectations will be central to Gailey’s job this year, because if he can keep them focused on team goals, there’s a chance they could give the Bills offense the kind of balance it needs.

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8 Responses to “Bills trying to strike balance with Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller”
  1. pooflingingmonkey says: Jul 10, 2012 1:07 PM

    Fred Jackson may be the most underrated back in the NFL. Until he broke his leg last year, he was borderline unstoppable.

  2. rathwell says: Jul 10, 2012 1:24 PM

    “I can promise you this, we will not make everybody happy,” … “The only thing that will make everybody happy is winning.”

    Logically we can conclude the the Bills’ head coach does not think his team will be winning this year.

  3. godofwine330 says: Jul 10, 2012 1:34 PM

    I picked up Fred Davis in the later rounds of my fantasy draft last year and he was a huge surprise. When he went down, of all the free agent running backs on Spiller was likely to see the ball often so I picked him up and there was little to no drop off in production. Spiller may shed that bust label yet. Good for him and good for the Bills.

  4. EJ says: Jul 10, 2012 1:49 PM

    Spiller has that “I’m gone” with any bit of daylight speed but, Jackson literally jerks players out of their shoes and has a stiff arm from hell, a “get off me” type runner. Both have excellent hands and unbelievable knowledge of where they are on the field at all times, but I think Jackson has a little bit of an edge on CJ. Either way, Gailey has great players at the halfback position. Go Bills!

  5. kgun80 says: Jul 10, 2012 2:47 PM

    Both guys have the talent to be number one backs and Fred was unstoppable before the injury. Spiller has that game breaking speed that can change a game on one play. I really appreciate what Jackson did, but I would like to see Spiller at least get the opportunity to be the guy this year. It’s been a long time since the Bills have had 2 backs that are this talented… Makes me remember the days of Thurman Thomas and Kenny Davis

  6. buffbill99 says: Jul 10, 2012 3:37 PM

    I’m assuming the defense will be much better this year and get the offense the ball back more frequently, so it shouldn’t be an issue to get both guys the ball.

  7. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 10, 2012 3:38 PM

    rathwell says:Jul 10, 2012 1:24 PM

    “I can promise you this, we will not make everybody happy,” … “The only thing that will make everybody happy is winning.”

    Logically we can conclude the the Bills’ head coach does not think his team will be winning this year.
    ________

    I made the exact same comment and it was deleted. I was going to say, “Apparently you can’t say that the Bills coach promised the team wouldn’t win this year,” but apparently it’s just me that can’t say that.

  8. keepyerstickontheice says: Jul 11, 2012 9:07 AM

    Before everybody starts jumping in the CJ bandwagon, just remember that Fast Freddie Jackson was the number two running back in the league before the injury, and more importantly, the best pass blocking back period. If he’s healthy, he will get most of the touches.

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