Chan Gailey's 'winded' comment has C.J. Spiller scratching his head

The Clemson Sports Blog

Former Clemson Tiger C J Spiller greets fans at Tiger Walk before the NC State football game

Photo by Mark Crammer

Former Clemson Tiger C J Spiller greets fans at Tiger Walk before the NC State football game

In my many years of writing about sports, I've seen my share of head-scratching oddities.

But except maybe for UConn's one-second, 94-foot miracle that beat the Tigers in the NCAA East Regional semifinals at the Meadowlands in 1990, C.J. Spiller getting eight touches of the football in the Buffalo Bills' 15-12 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday is the strangest thing I've ever heard of.

What, everyone who follows the NFL is asking, is Chan Gailey thinking?

Gailey said something Sunday about the Rams 'stacking the box' to stop Spiller, and how he felt Fred Jackson would be a better option. A two-second scan of the boxscore lends not an iota of credibility to Gailey's explanation.

Spiller carried the football seven times and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. Jackson got nine chances and netted 14 yards. He had one 14-yard run, meaning that on his other eight carries, he gained nothing.

More than two months into the season, Spiller was on NFL record pace for yards-per-carry, surpassing numbers posted by Jim Brown and Mercury Morris decades ago.

He currently leads NFL running backs in yards-per-carry, averaging 6.6 per touch.

The problem is, Spiller is averaging just 11 carries per game.

On Monday, Gailey mentioned that Spiller "gets winded and he comes out" as an explanation for his time on the sidelines.

Buffalo News reporter Tim Graham isn't buying Gailey's explanation:

"As far as we know, Spiller is a finely tuned professional athlete without a Marlboro habit," Graham wrote.

Asked about his conditioning on Monday, Spiller told Graham he's not going to engage in a war of words with his head coach about 'if I'm winded.'

"I'm in shape. Let's just put it like that," Spiller said. "I'm in shape. If I wasn't in shape, then I shouldn't be on the field. But I'm in shape."

Spiller admitted he didn't understand Gailey's comment.

"I'll sit down with Coach and just get a better understanding," Spiller said. "I'll see what he meant because I don't know.

Spiller is nearly certain to get more touches this week because Jackson is injured again, and will be sidelined for the next 2-3 weeks.

This isn't a Fred Jackson problem, however. It's a Chan Gailey problem.

C.J. - always the gentleman in his comments about what must be an excruciatingly frustrating situation - needs, and deserves, a new team.

Or the Bills need to keep Spiller and make another change.

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Comments » 6

Palmetto1966 writes:

Kerry-you must certainly not be remembering our Music City Bowl loss to Kentucky-the worst rushing defense in the nation at the time and Tommy Bowden and Rob Spence choose to run C J and James Davis for a combined 12 times and put the game into the hands of our prolific passer, Will Proctor.
That is one of the biggest coaching head-scratcher of recent memory for me.

clempsonmark writes:

I always thought CJ had a lung issue when he was at Clemson. He gets winded too quick. Asthma maybe?

TigerFan95 writes:

The Bill’s need to trade Spiller. Chan Gailey never seemed to want him and I never really understood why they drafted him from the beginning. A speed back with a history of hamstring & foot problems in college was never a good match for Buffalo’s cold weather, artificial turf and style of play. Spiller would have fit in better with one of the Florida or California teams like the Raiders or Bucs. Perhaps the Panthers would be a good fit as well.

brookesdad729 writes:

I pray that he ends up at the Raiders! CJ is a classy guy and I love the way he handles this! He will end up on a team where he will make a big difference! Chan Gailey, on the other hand, can't coach his way out of a wet paper bag and will get whatever comes to him which will probably be nothing! Go CJ!

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

Feeding Spiller tons of carries in a contract year when you're out of the playoffs doesn't make much sense if you want to resign him.

33dtb writes:

Give me a break, but of course Chan Gailley proved his idiocy @ GT,

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