The NFL used to be a league of workhorse running backs, but that’s not the case anymore. We’re talking about guy who carried the ball at least 20 times per game. Now that’s a heavy load for any running back and teams are riding a player too hard. The new model is donned a backfield committee, which includes using multiple running backs in a rotation, which can be very effective if used properly. The Buffalo Bills have one of the best such committees in football, but they don’t know how to use Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller together.
Jackson was a breakout star in 2012, averaging nearly 100 yards per game before tearing his ACL. Then Spiller came back onto the scene after a very disappointing rookie season, averaging over five yards per carry while making the Bills forget about Jackson. Then came the 2013 season that saw Spiller rush for over 1,200 yards and six touchdowns while averaging an astronomical six yards per carry. Jackson had his moments, but the Bills’ game plan was so inconsistent that neither player ever had the performance he was capable of.
New Bills head coach Doug Marrone now gets the chance to put together an offense that Chain Gailey failed to, which should include two running backs flirt with the 1,000-yard rushing mark. The Bills don’t need either player to carry the ball 20 times per game, but if each of them gets 12 carries and their time is split wisely, the Bills could have one heck of an offense in 2013. However, that’s a big “if” and it revolves around coaching, not those players’ abilities.