Anyone who pays attention to the NFL knows C.J. Spiller as a dynamic running back capable of making huge plays for his team at any moment. Unfortunately for the Buffalo Bills, he has yet to demonstrate much of that big-play ability through the first three weeks of the regular season. Of course, much of Spiller’s early struggles can be attributed to the fact that opposing defenses have been game-planning for him specifically, a fact that Spiller alluded to in a recent interview with the Buffalo News.
“They pretty much put a lot of people in the box and dared our passing game to beat them,” Spiller said when asked about his struggles facing the New York Jets in Week 3. “If I’m a defensive coordinator, that’d be my biggest thing too, is to stop our run and pretty much make our rookie quarterback beat us.”
Spiller certainly has a point, and it’s a reasonable strategy for opposing defenses to try and shut down the run against the Bills, considering they still have a developing quarterback in E.J. Manuel. However, the fact that Manuel is still learning the ins and outs of the NFL passing game means he should be able to rely on the Bills’ backfield to help him out on offense, regardless of the looks on defense. That’s especially true considering that Buffalo has one of the most dynamic running back tandems in the league, between Spiller and veteran playmaker Fred Jackson.
Defenses are always more likely to stack the box against talented running backs, but the truly elite backs will find a way to make plays anyway. Opposing teams are constantly coming up with plans to slow down the likes of Adrian Peterson or Arian Foster, but they always seem to find a way to score.
Many people expected Spiller to separate himself as one of the best running backs in the league this season. For him to do that, he needs to find a way to help his team regardless of what the opposing defense is doing.