Fred Jackson Injury: Offensive Weapons Who Must Step Up in RB's Absence

David DanielsSenior Writer ISeptember 10, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 25: Fred Jackson #22 of the Buffalo Bills runs against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ralph Wilson Stadium on August 25, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Fred Jackson’s potential injury-induced subtraction from the Buffalo Bills offense doesn’t mean it has to be any less effective.

When a star is ousted from a starting lineup, it forces the players around him to take on greater roles. If his teammates are capable of carrying that heavier workload, Buffalo’s offense will be fine in Jackson’s absence.

According to ESPN, the Bills running back's status will be cleared up with an MRI on Monday.

Here are three players that must improve their play if they want to compete.

(Note that C.J. Spiller isn’t on this list. After Sunday's performance, he's shown he definitely doesn’t need to improve.)


3. Donald Jones

The third-year wideout is currently starting across from Stevie Johnson, but he failed to record starter-caliber numbers in Week 1 against the New York Jets. While Jones caught a touchdown, he only recorded 41 receiving yards on the afternoon.

In eight games, Jones caught just 23 balls for 231 yards and a touchdown last season. If he fails to prove he’s deserving of a starting spot, the Bills will struggle moving the ball consistently through the air.


2. Ryan Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick is being paid way too much money to play like a scrub.

He went to Harvard and he aced his Wonderlic test, but as you could tell on Sunday, book smart and football smart are two completely different types of intelligence. Fitzpatrick’s poor decision making was on full display.

His three interceptions—one of which was returned for a touchdown by Antonio Cromartie—helped pad the Jets’ lead. It’s going to be a long season for the Bills if Fitzpatrick doesn’t get his act together.  


1. Stevie Johnson

Johnson is arguably the most talented player on the Bills offense.

Yes, I’m serious.

The controversial wide receiver has reeled in 158 receptions for 2,077 yards and 17 touchdowns over the past two seasons. On Sunday, he got into the end zone, but his four catches for 55 yards weren’t nearly enough.

The 5’11”, 200-pound Spiller can’t put the offense on his back—he’d break. Johnson is the only player on the Bills offense talented enough to go off week in and week out.

If he doesn’t step up, Buffalo’s season is lost. 


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.