The Buffalo Bills have named C.J. Spiller as the team’s ‘most improved’ player of 2011, while noting that “the tandem of (Fred) Jackson and Spiller present tantalizing options for 2012.”
Spiller hopes so.
In a video interview posted on the Bills’ website earlier this week, Spiller talked about his hopes for next season and said that he and Jackson have the potential to make up the best 1-2 backfield punch in the NFL in 2012.
And he clearly indicated that he won’t be happy if he goes back to the sidelines when Jackson – who missed the final six games of this season with a broken leg – returns to form.
About his confidence level as he wanted his turn, Spiller said “my confidence has never been low, even when Fred was having a great season.”
“I just wasn’t getting the opportunities because of what he was doing,” Spiller said. “But I just stayed the course and stayed believing that my time was going to come sooner or later, and it did. I was able to take advantage of it.
“Hopefully, the coaches knew all along what I was capable of doing. It was just a matter of having another guy who was playing at a Pro Bowl level.
“I hope they didn’t lose confidence in me while I wasn’t playing. They drafted me here to be able to help this offense out.”
He said he hopes that the coaches will figure out a way to use both he and Jackson in prominent roles next season.
“That’s up to Coach (Chan) Gailey or whoever makes those decisions,” Spiller said. “I just come in and work hard and go out there when my number’s called. We know we have a good 1-2 punch – possibly the best 1-2 punch in the NFL – if we’re both used.”
Spiller was then asked if he’d be satisfied to go back to the role he had at the beginning of this season.
“What? Sitting on the sidelines? Tch…if that’s what they want me to do then that’s what I have to do. But that’s like having a diamond – a diamond in the rough – on the sidelines.”
Spiller said that in time, he’ll reflect back on his accomplishments this season, in which he averaged almost as many yards per carry as Jackson (5.2 to 5.5) and matched the NFL rushing leader in touchdowns with six. But he said he’s more concerned about continuing to improve as a player.
“I’ll look back and see what I did good, and, of course, see what I can improve on – especially catching the ball when Fitz (quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick) is on the move,” said Spiller. “I had two crucial drops this year – one (in the Bills’ final game against the New England Patriots) with the pick, and then one in the back of the end zone.
“So there are a lot of things I’ll look on, and see what I did good and the things that I didn’t.”