Well, this isn’t good.
In an exclusive interview with WGR Sports Radio 550, Bills RB Fred Jackson says that he’s not happy with the level of respect he gets from the Bills organization.
"“Absolutely I [feel disrespected]. I’ve been saying it, I feel like a number one back and I should be treated like one. I should know what’s going on and know where I stand and what the situation is.”"
Jackson, who has had to battle for playing time his entire career with the likes of Marshawn Lynch, Willis McGahee, and now C.J. Spiller, is clearly frustrated that he’s once again in a fight for the starting position. This must have only been amplified by the fact Spiller got the bulk of the work with the first string in Saturday’s preseason tilt in Denver.
Jackson feels that he shouldn’t have to compete with Spiller or anyone else for the #1 job:
"“I don’t think anything’s changed. It’s been like this for two or three years and I have to keep fighting for what I feel like is my job, so I’ll continue to work, Try to find out what’s going on and see what happens. I apparently have to go out and prove myself every year.”"
Also bothering Jackson is what he sees as a lack of communication from the brass in Buffalo. Here’s what he says he’s been told about his current status in Buffalo:
"“Nothing, I’m just as much in the dark as you are so I guess to find out what’s going on you’ll have to ask him (head coach Chan Gailey). I’m unhappy with everybody, just knowing what’s going on. I feel like I’m a number one back and I should know what’s going on.”"
Wow. Clearly there’s some issues here.
What does Chan Gailey think about situation? Well, he’s clearly a bit perplexed Jackson feels this way, saying, “I would hate for somebody to feel that way because it’s not true from my standpoint.” Of course not, Chan. Well, that’s just standard coach-speak. Useless.
But has Gailey been communicating with Jackson about his current status? According to Gailey, he has: “We just told him what we were doing. I told him what we were going to do. Nothing has changed on our thoughts with Fred and where Fred is for our football team. He’s a major part of what we’re trying to get done here.”
In fact, Gailey makes it very clear he considers Jackson a #1 back…the twist is that Gailey also considers Spiller a #1 back. “I think probably the best way to talk about it right now is that they’re both number one backs,” Gailey said. “Fred’s a little bit ahead right now, but I think they’re both number one backs.”
Okay, thanks for sorting that out Chan. Here’s my quick thoughts on the subject:
– Now, before I say this, let me just state that Fred Jackson is one of my favorite players of all time. He’s scratched and clawed and fought for everything he’s ever earned at the NFL level, and I respect the man greatly. That being said, it’s ridiculous he’s complaining about being challenged for his starting job. This is the NFL. Everyone is competing for every job. You have to prove yourself every play, every game, every season. And as good as Fred Jackson has been, he’s not the second coming of Jim Brown or anything and therefore above reproach. If you’re so clearly the “#1 back,” you should have no trouble proving it.
– And why is he so concerned about being the #1 back anyway? He’s going to split carries with Spiller. That’s just the way it is. It’s the NFL in 2011, not 1990. Everyone who is not Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson splits carries.
– That being said, Jackson is very, very important to this team and certainly deserves the respect of being clearly told what the team’s plans are for him. Gailey really needs to be careful here. If he hasn’t been forthcoming with Jackson, Gailey really needs to do really quickly or he’ll lose this locker room. Jackson, I’m sure, commands universal respect from his teammates. Not the man to have problems with if you want to keep the ear of his teammates. Ryan Fitzpatrick basically said as much: “Fred, as you can see with the play right after Donald got hurt, is the heart and soul of our team.”
I’m hopeful this blows over pretty quickly after some conversation between Jackson and Gailey. This team has enough trouble already without an unhappy running back and team leader.