Maybe it's time for C.J. Spiller to start looking around

The Clemson Sports Blog

Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller (28) runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller (28) runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

Perhaps C.J. Spiller needs a change.

Based on the evidence of the Buffalo Bills' 3-6 season, it would be difficult to defend the position that head coach Chan Gailey, or offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins, have a viable plan to utilize the former Clemson All-American.

Spiller is back to playing second-fiddle to Fred Jackson in the Bills' backfield, despite his off-the-charts productivity.

Jackson is a fine running back. But the numbers, for this season and last, say he's no C.J. Spiller.

Spiller has 'NFL Superstar' written all over him. But at Buffalo, he's a part-time player. In the Bills' 37-31 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, Spiller was on the field for 34 offensive snaps, and on the sidelines for 40 snaps. He touched the football 13 times and averaged just over 10 yards per touch. He rushed nine times for 70 yards, a 7.8 average, and caught four passes for 61 yards, for 15.3 yards per catch.

Jackson got 20 touches. He rushed 16 times for 80 yards, a 5.0 average, and also caught four passes for 35 yards, for 8.8 yards per catch. Overall, Jackson averaged 5.7 yards per touch.

Those single-game stats reflect a season-long trend.

For the season, Spiller is averaging 7.28 yards per carry, which according to CBSSports.com is the second-highest total among players with at least 85 carries through nine games in NFL history - trailing only the 7.32 average of Miami running back Mercury Morris in 1973.

On Monday, a website covering the Bills - BuffaloRumblings.com - blasted Gailey for his mis-use of Spiller's talent:

"Spiller is one of the most explosive players in football. This is not a mirage; he is the definition of an elite player. There is Marshall Faulk potential in this runner. His current role within Chan Gailey's offense is no longer excusable; it's sickening."

Ironically, Spiller will again have the ball to himself again this week. Jackson suffered a concussion in the final minute of the Bills' loss to New England on Sunday and will miss the upcoming Miami game.

Characteristically, Spiller took the high road in talking about his latest opportunity.

It's very difficult,” Spiller said on Monday. "He (Jackson) is a playmaker. But more important, he's a great friend and you hate to see that happen...

“This is familiar territory for me. I'm not worried how many times I'm going to touch it. From here on out, I'm just worried about wins...I'm just trying to help my team win."

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Comments » 2

TigerNE writes:

For the Bills to come so close to beating the Pats with such a mediocre (at best) QB is amazing. Spiller showed he has matured to NFL caliber in a number of key plays, gaining 5 and 10 yards by cutting and scrambling in a field full of defenders.

Even if the Bills kept their bottom of the league defense but brought in a more talented QB (draft?), Spiller and Jackson could really shine at Buffalo. They would still not be a powerful team, but at least they wouldn't be wasting some salaries.

richardcd writes:

Atlanta could sure use Spiller. They have two short, stocky runners who can barely make it to the corner before they are tackled. With Atlanta's new, less conservative offense, Spiller could fit right in.

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