With an arsenal of talent in Buffalo’s backfield, questions have begun to pepper the Bills’ coaching staff on the roles of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Many have illustrated the notion that these running backs are competing for playing time, while others identify the two running backs as complementary to one another. With the recent turmoil surrounding the Fred Jackson saga, the pressure has intensified around this component of the Bills’ offensive scheme. One thing that will become evident this season is that there is no Fred Jackson without C.J. Spiller. Yes, I made two predictions within one statement. First, I firmly believe that Fred Jackson will remain a Buffalo Bill in the 2011 season. Second, C.J. Spiller is going to improve his statistics from a year ago and pack the one-two punch that the Bills lack.
For two consecutive seasons, Fred Jackson has prevailed as the Bills’ featured running back despite adversity. The current depth chart has Jackson listed as the starting running back, and he has appropriately deserved that position after gaining 1,433 yards of total offense in 2009 and 1,142 yards of total offense in 2010. Jackson has also flashed his superiority in regards to providing an extra blocker for Ryan Fitzpatrick. There is not another running back on the Bills’ roster that can combine productivity with adequate blocking, as does Jackson. This Division III talent possesses the necessary talent to carry the ball, catch passes, and protect the Harvard scholar in the pocket. Fred Jackson is simply a talent that the Bills cannot afford to dispose of. With unproven talent in the backfield, be shocked if Fred “Fast Action” Jackson is not in the Bills’ backfield this season.
In enters C.J. Spiller. This is precisely where the controversy unfairly originates. When a franchise spends their first round draft pick on a running back that typically indicates that he will become the new face of the franchise. After Spiller’s first season of only producing 440 yards of total offense, it has become evident that there is still work that needs to be done. Some feel that it is unpractical for Jackson and Spiller to share the carries, because the Bills need to decide on a premier starter. Recent exposure to the Bills’ offense has provoked a sense of satisfaction with our running backs. Spiller is a versatile running back that has pure speed, the potential to line up in the slot, as well as the ability to return a kick for six. The combined talents of Fred Jackson and the play making ability of C.J. Spiller craft a potent rushing threat that the opposition must respect. The positive vibe between both Spiller and Jackson will energize the backfield and create an effective one-two punch that the Bills can utilize to produce points.