Bills RB Fred Jackson voiced his concern Monday about not knowing his role after seeing C.J. Spiller get an expanded workload in last weekend's preseason game. After a Tuesday conversation with offensive coordinator/running backs coach Curtis Modkins, Jackson was told he's still the starter. But Jackson sounds as if he'll only be convinced by what happens on the field in Saturday's preseason game against Jacksonville.
"I sat down with Coach Modkins and we had a productive talk, kind of let me know where I stood and we'll kind of take things from there," said Jackson. "It's easy to say something, but we'll see what happens on Saturday. What my role is or what we do in the game. I think this will be the one true game for starters and what your role is will definitely be determined this weekend I believe."
Head coach Chan Gailey wasn't bothered by Jackson's comments the past two days and said that he spoke with coach Modkins before Modkins addressed Jackson.
"Curtis talked to him. I talked to Curtis, we talk all the time and we try to keep Fred informed as to where things are," said Gailey. "Fred is a great player and is going to be a great player. We look forward to what he's going to do for us this year. He's going to have a big part in our offense this year."
The reps in practice Tuesday still favored Jackson as the lead back. For most of practice he had twice as many snaps on the field as Spiller, with a few reps here and there where both were lined up with the first unit together.
Jackson wanted it to be clear that he harbors no ill will toward Spiller, who he considers a close teammate.
"C.J. and I have a great relationship," said Jackson. "I don't have any kind of personal animosity toward him. He knows that. He's like a little brother to me and we have a great relationship. We work well together and will do whatever we can to help this team win. By no means is there any personal hatred toward C.J.."
When asked if Jackson's comments bothered him, Spiller said they didn't.
"It doesn't bother me at all," he said. "Who wouldn't want to be a number one back? The big thing is everybody is making a big deal out of it. The thing about me and Fred is we're pushing each other to get better. We're both playmakers and we both want to be on the field to try to help our team win. Whoever they go with the other person has to be right there to help that person make sure he's getting his job done, and at the same time make sure he's ready because at any moment you've got to be ready to go."
Jackson seems to understand that Spiller was a top 10 draft choice for a reason, but he doesn't believe that discounts all that he has done for the Bills the past four years.
"You don't take a guy in the top 10 not to play him obviously, but I felt like I've done a lot to speak for myself being on the field as well," said Jackson.
"Of course there probably would be some frustration if you feel like you're getting overshadowed," said Spiller. "And there's nothing wrong with a guy voicing his opinion. There's no jealousy amongst me and Fred. I didn't take offense to nothing. I didn't really get involved with it. I come in get my job done and go home and relax.
"I just know the guy has been a hard worker ever since he's proven himself and been in the league. He's a great player and I'm glad to have him as a teammate."
When asked if he felt he deserved to be the starter, Spiller said it's not his decision to make.
"Have I earned the right," Spiller asked rhetorically. "That's up to the coaches. I'm coming out here every day trying to get better. This is my second year, I feel like I'm making improvements and Fred has proven himself. Fred doesn't have anything else to prove to anybody. I'm just a guy trying to learn off of what he has done.
"Whoever they anoint that's what we'll go with and the other guy just has to be ready. We're all adults here and this is a business and everybody will handle it professionally and he's been in the league and is a professional and I have no doubt that he'll handle it as a professional."