Veterans on Buffalo's offense warn a nightmare could take the field when the team heads to Tampa Bay, but he won't be haunting Buffalo.
Ronnie Wingo assumed the role of third-string running back following Tashard Choice's release Wednesday.
"He's a nightmare matchup for a lot of linebackers, and hopefully he can take advantage of that," captain Fred Jackson said.
Signed to the practice squad as an undrafted rookie on Sept. 2, Wingo has been on the active roster for six weeks; elevated after C.J. Spiller's high ankle injury. And although he's participated on special teams once since then, Sunday could be the first time he carries the ball for Buffalo.
"I don't think it's a secret; we'll dress him this week," head coach Doug Marrone said. "He has the opportunity now to show us what he has, to get in there, but I think when you look at it on the other end of that spectrum, I've said this before that we're always looking to better our team and better our roster."
"It makes me feel real good. Everybody wants to play, but being undrafted, it's a process," Wingo told BuffaloBills.com. "Now I've just got to take advantage of the opportunity and don't look back."
Wingo said he hasn't sat down with Marrone, he's just been told to be ready, but he expects to help out C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson in a similar manner that Choice did.
"I feel like I'll have the same role that Choice did, unless something happens, then I may have a greater role, so I just have to be ready at all times," Wingo said.
The rookie said although he's confident in his abilities — he's played the running back position since he was six-years-old — he has to keep himself calm at game time.
"I feel like I should be good. I just have to calm down, not be anxious and nervous, and just play ball. It's something I've been doing my whole life," Wingo said. "I mean it's human nature to have some nerves."
Having veterans the likes of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson doesn't hurt for keeping nerves calm. Wingo said he's learned a lot from both the veterans and coaches, which he said makes him feel ready.
"(I'm) doing different stuff with coach (Tyrone) Wheatley and the running backs," Wingo said. "Doing different stuff than I've ever done in my life has helped me progress. And then having a room of veterans…has also helped me grow as a player."
Jackson, an undrafted running back who has gone on to great success in the league, believes his rookie teammate has the potential to sustain an NFL career.
"I think he has all the ability in the world," Jackson told BuffaloBills.com. "It's just about picking up offenses, picking up schemes, knowing how to pick up blitzes, he has all the intangibles, so he's definitely someone who I think could stick around in the league."
Wingo said his teammates, comprised of success stories like Jackson and successful rookies like EJ Manuel, give him hope.
"I know they're out there doing it, so it gives me confidence that I can go out there and do the same thing," he said.
At the same time the (6-2, 231) product out of Arkansas knows opportunities are few and far between for undrafted running backs. He said for him, it was only a matter of time.
"I mean I knew the time would come, I just didn't know when. I've just been preparing all year," Wingo said. "This is all I know. It's a dream come true."
Wingo's opportunity may have come from his size. Marrone frequently said he wants his team to get bigger, and Wingo is big. Wingo said it works for and against you as a running back, but he's got tricks up his sleeve.
"It (helps) for short yardage situations. It also can work against you; everybody wants to tackle you low," Wingo said. "One thing people probably underestimate is my speed. I've got some good feet for a big guy."
Jackson said Wingo's size is definitely deceiving.
"He can do it all. He's a guy who can run routes out of the backfield," Jackson said. "He's a physical guy who can run between the tackles, and he has speed."
Wingo said he's excited to take the field, but said he isn't perfect. He said he'll focus on the basics of football to avoid mistakes.
"Everybody wants to be perfect, but if everybody was perfect, we wouldn't have to practice," Wingo said. "Mistakes are going to happen, I mean I'm a rookie. I've just got to go out there relaxed and play ball."