Blame Chan Gailey.
The Buffalo Bills head coach is finally starting to look smart for drafting C.J. Spiller early in the first round. After recording an incredible 194 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown against the New York Jets in Week 1, the versatile back exploded again vs. the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
But don’t get so excited about the future that you forget about the past—why in the world did it take so long for Spiller to “blow up"?
Sure, the former Clemson Tiger has been eclipsed in Fred Jackson’s shadow for the majority of his career. But there’s still no excuse for failing to put the football in a game-breaker like Spiller’s hands more often—for crying out loud, he’s averaging 10.1 yards per carry this season.
And it isn’t like he just emerged as a playmaker. Spiller averaged 5.2 yards a pop last year. And despite that impressive average, Gailey never allowed him to carry the ball at least 20 times in a single game, even after Jackson’s injury late in 2011.
In fact, he’s still holding Spiller back. He posted those incredible numbers in Weeks 1 and 2 even though he only recorded a total of 29 carries.
Now, at 5’11”, 200 pounds, it’s obvious Gailey is protecting the undersized Spiller from too heavy of a workload. But at some point, Gailey is going to have to look at the other weapons in his arsenal—which, outside of Steve Johnson, aren’t respectable—and realize Spiller must be the focal point of the Bills offense if they plan on making something that remotely resembles a playoff push.
If Gailey actually unleashes Spiller, Buffalo will have an Offensive Player of the Year candidate on its hands.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.