With a new coaching staff in place, a new, exciting runner in C.J. Spiller, and an overcrowded backfield, the Bills have struggled to find any consistency in their run game or offense in 2010. Things may finally be looking up for that run game and offense. For the first time this season, it appears that the Bills are ready to unleash their best player from a year ago.
With Marshawn Lynch traded to Seattle, Fred Jackson is ready to take over the starting running back position for the Bills against the Jaguars. Though Jackson has been on the team all season, it was difficult to tell based on his limited opportunities. Jackson has had to overcome a lot in his football career just to make it to the NFL. He seemingly had the rug pulled out from him again this season, when, despite outplaying Marshawn Lynch throughout 2009, he was relegated to backing him up again this year. Whether it was due to some type of ill-conceived attempt to “showcase” Marshawn Lynch for a trade (though it seems they could have gotten a third round pick for him BEFORE the season started), or just a preference for his running style, Chan Gailey decided that Lynch should be the starting back.
While it made some sense to think that Lynch and his bruising running style may complement Spiller, it was apparent against Miami that Spiller is not going to be able to be an electrifying game-changer with the lack of supporting cast he has. Jackson is a good runner, pass catcher, and blocker. He does things the right way. He rarely runs for negative yardage, He grinds out every yard he can, and is humble enough to do anything to help the team win, including returning kicks when he is the best offensive player on the team. Which is, by the way, the reason the hall of fame collected the jersey Jackson wore last season, as he is the only player in NFL history to have over 1,000 rushing and kick return yards in the same season.
Hopefully, Spiller can learn on and off the field from Jackson, as he is obviously a much better role model for a young player than Lynch. For the time being, Jackson is the best player on the offense. He has played well in his limited opportunities this season, seemingly the only one who could move the chains last week when it mattered. Hopefully, Freddy will be able to lead the Bills to an all-too-elusive win on Sunday.