It is a role he’s assumed twice before, so once
“This is familiar territory to me,” Spiller said Monday. “I’m not worried about how many times I touch (the ball). Like I said I’m just from here on out just worried about wins. Everybody is concerned about whether I can touch it 25 times, but at the end of the day if I do that and we lose that means nothing. I’m just trying to help my team win so we can experience what it’s like to play in the playoffs.”
Spiller assumed the full workload early in the season opener when Jackson went down with a sprained LCL against the Jets in Week 1. He tore through New York for 169 yards on just 14 carries (12.1 avg.) including a 56-yard touchdown.
The next week with Jackson still out of the lineup he had a 123-yard rushing day and a pair of touchdowns on a day in which he rolled up 170 total yards from scrimmage.
Suffering a shoulder injury early in the Week 3 game at Cleveland, Spiller still accumulated 75 total yards from scrimmage with a 32-yard touchdown catch and run.
Since then he’s split time with Fred Jackson in the backfield after the veteran made his return to the lineup in Week 4. Now he’ll re-assume that featured role.
“He did it last year, he can do that,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “That’s not an issue. He did it last year. If he needs to run it 20 to 25 times a game for us to win, 30 times a game for us to win that’s what we’ll do. We’re not afraid to do that. We don’t think he’s a fragile player or anything like that. We think he’s a strong player that can carry it as many times as he needs to for us to win.”
“I don’t doubt myself at all. I know I can do it,” said Spiller of an increased workload. “I did it in college. I touched it 20-something times, probably not week in and week out, but I did. I’m not concerned about, will he get overworked? That’s why I put all that work in during the offseason.”
Spiller stepped into the feature back role for the last six games last season as well when Jackson went on injured reserve with a fractured fibula.
Over those last six games Spiller rushed for 446 yards on 82 carries (5.2 avg.) and three touchdowns. He also caught 27 passes for 187 yards and two more scores. In Week 14 when Buffalo hosted Miami, Spiller had 167 total yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns against the Dolphins.
“I did do well, but that was last year and these guys want to be ready for me,” said Spiller of the Dolphins. “They’re definitely going to have a lot of eyes watching me. But I think if we have a great week leading up to Thursday I think we’ll be fine.
“I know my offensive line they’re excited. We’re excited we put up 480 something yards against a great team (Sunday), but came up short. So we know that we can make plays we’ve just got to find a way to make that extra one.”
Spiller’s teammates are fully aware that he leads the league in yards per carry average (7.2) and appears to be peaking.
“C.J. is on the heater,” said
“My main concern is how can I be effective come Thursday night,” said Spiller. “I’m ready to rock and roll.”