There’s no doubt about it: C.J. Spiller was really good in Buffalo’s loss to Miami this past weekend. He racked up 91 yards rushing on just 12 carries as well as picking up 76 yards receiving and two touchdowns. And he looked good doing it, showing off the speed and athleticism that enticed Buffalo to take him with the #9 overall pick in the draft in 2010.
Therefore, it was truly baffling when coach Chan Gailey wouldn’t give him the freaking ball more. Spiller averaged 7.6 yards a rush Sunday, but only got 12 carries. (The Bills as a team only rushed the ball 19 times, while letting Ryan Fitzpatrick throw it 47 times.) Certainly didn’t make any sense to me.
When asked about Spiller’s lack of touches, Gailey had a interesting explanation:
"“We’re trying not to wear the guy completely out. He’s not the biggest back in the world. I don’t think he can go out there and carry it 25 or 30 times. I don’t want to put him in that position to carry it 25 to 30 times. I think we’ve got to split the carries and let Tashard have some of those packages to take some of the hits off of C.J.”"
I said it was “interesting,” not “logical.”
Wait, you don’t think C.J. can take 25 carries? Twenty-five is not that many. Yikes.
(Of course, Chan has no trouble throwing a million screen passes to C.J. that everyone sees coming and ends up with C.J. get crushed by 45 linebackers.)
I’d ask why the Bills felt C.J. was worth the #9 pick if he can’t handle 25 freakin’ carries, but that seems like a moot point.
I could deal with it if Gailey just came out and said, “These games don’t matter and we don’t feel the need to run C.J. into the ground.” That makes sense. But that he simply can’t handle the load? What?
To his credit, Spiller took the high road and had nothing but positive things to say about his coach’s strategy:
"“We were down two scores; we’re trying to get some momentum, trying to get it going. I don’t go into the second half saying ‘I want this many carries.’ Whatever we need to do to get us back into the game, that’s what we’ve got to go with. I thought we were running the ball very successful but when you get down two scores and you’re trying to get back into the game and get your crowd back into it, you’ve got to try and throw it around a little bit.”"
That’s diplomatic, but what else could he say?
I know this is looking way ahead, but I’m very, very interested what Spiller’s role is on this team in 2012. As good as Fred Jackson was before he got hurt, can you send C.J. back to the bench after his performance down the stretch?