When the Buffalo Bills selected C.J. Spiller with ninth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft this past April, he was perceived to be a luxury pick considering the Bills already had Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. It was unclear then and still remains unclear now how the Bills plan to use all three backs and how they’ll distribute the workload.
Now, after both Jackson and Lynch suffered injuries in the Bills’ first preseason game last week against Washington, Spiller suddenly finds himself at the forefront of the Bills backfield.
Jackson will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his left hand after getting injuried on the Bills’ second play of the game last week against Washington. Lynch will be lost for 3-4 weeks with a sprained ankle. With Buffalo’s season opener against Miami less than four weeks away, it remains very much in doubt whether or not Jackon will be ready to go Sept. 12. It appears Lynch’s timetable to return is a bit more promising compared to Jackson’s, however ankle injuries aren’t the fastest to heal from quickly and can easily be reaggrevated if not fully healed.
With the Bills suddenly thin backfield after just one preseason contest, Spiller inherits the starting reigns quicker than expected. He, along with backups Chad Simpson and Joique Bell, will see rapidly increased workloads for the duration of the preseason. Both reserve backs will have an excellent opportunity to lament roster spots.
In his first taste of NFL action, Spiller rushed for 16 yards on four carries, with the bulk of his rushing yards coming on an 11-yard run. But, it was Simpson and Bell who outshined their fellow rookie. Considered two of the few brightspots in the Bills’ 42-17 drubbing at the hands of Washington, Simpson rushed for a team-high 67 yards and helped set up the Bills’ first touchdown in the third quarter. Bell registered 52 yards on five carries, capping his impressive night off with a 28-yard touchdown run in the early moments of the fourth quarter.