Despite losing streak C.J. Spiller proving his worth for the Bills

The Bills have lost 7 games in a row and in a free fall in the standings.  It’s hard to find bright spots in a situation such as this but for the optimists you can look no further than the development of C.J. Spiller in the past few weeks as a huge positive for the future of this team.

C.J. Spiller has re-found his play-making ability in the last few weeks

Everyone knew what C.J. Spiller was coming out of college, a versatile back who could run and catch and possessed blazing speed, but somehow thus far it had not computed into the NFL.  General Manager Buddy Nix and Head Coach Chan Gailey invested heavily in Spiller, making him the regime’s first draft pick, but they hadn’t shown the faith in Spiller that you would expect a front office to show their prized first draft pick.  In his rookie season after the Bills made him the #9 pick in the entire NFL draft he rushed the ball 74 times for 283 yards and no touchdowns.  He also caught 24 balls for 157 yards and the only touchdown of his rookie year on offense.  Heading into his 2nd season he seemed to have more of a defined role with Marshawn Lynch being traded but after Fred Jackson’s hot start Spiller seemed to become an afterthought.  Before Fred Jackson’s injury against the Dolphins Week 11 Spiller only carried the ball 18 times, including two games where he didn’t rush the ball at all.

Fred Jackson was on an M.V.P. pace when he got injured.  Maybe that’s why Spiller was pushed so far into the background.  Spiller’s morale never dipped too low though, and he filled in at wide receiver for a few weeks when a couple of the guys got injured.  Then Jackson was lost for the season.  After getting only 18 carries in 9 games Spiller has seen 60 rushes over the last 5.  He has tallied 277 yards over those 5 games, good for a 4.6 average, and has scored on the ground twice.  He has matched Jackson’s versatility as well, catching 20 balls over the 5 games for 138 yards and a touchdown.  Above all else he has shown the explosiveness and play-making ability that made him the #9 pick in the 2010 NFL draft.  He’s had touchdown rushes of 24 and 36 yards in the last three weeks.  I’m not sure why Spiller had been put on the back burner by Gailey and company, and I’m sure we’ll never know but it seems like Spiller has earned a right to contribute, even after Jackson comes back healthy, after his performances of the last few weeks.

Of the previous two regimes, the Bills still have only two first round draft picks on the roster (Leodis McKelvin and Eric Wood).  The latest regime started off with Spiller and up until the last month or so, the record of futility in the first round looked as it may have been continuing.  If nothing else Spiller has spent the last few weeks showing that he can play in this league.  Now instead of the doom and gloom surrounding the Spiller pick there is optimism.  Maybe there shouldn’t be so much optimism surrounding a team that has lost 7 in a row but after a decade of darkness any ray of light is welcomed.  Here’s to hoping that Spiller can continue to contribute for a very long time.  It would be good to be able to identify a running back with the Buffalo Bills, something that really hasn’t been done since Thurman Thomas.

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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