Tashard Choice: Projecting How Bills RB Will Fare in Relief of C.J. Spiller

Jessica MarieCorrespondent IISeptember 23, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 18: Tashard Choice #30 of the Buffalo Bills rushes during their NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Things were just starting to look up for the Bills. Then, of course, the other shoe dropped.

C.J. Spiller was one of the bright spots for Buffalo early this season. For his first couple of years in the league, it seemed as though he had the potential to be one of the nation's top running backs, and finally, in 2012 he seemed to be realizing that potential when he finally got an opportunity to show his stuff.

Until Sunday, that is, when he went down with a shoulder injury in the first quarter of Buffalo's game against the Browns, from which he would not return. According to USA Today's Steve Gardner, Spiller took a big hit from Cleveland's Osama Young and needed to be carted off the field.

Given Fred Jackson's injury, that leaves Tashard Choice as the lone hope for the Bills' rushing attack.

The 2008 fourth-round draft pick has bounced around among three teams after a largely underwhelming three-year stint in Dallas. He's never gained more than 657 yards in a season—a feat he accomplished in his rookie campaign—and he's never started more than three games, which he also did during his rookie year.

The good news is, Bills head coach Chan Gailey seemed to have faith in Choice's abilities even before Spiller went down. After Jackson was injured, Gailey told CBSSports.com that Choice would be utilized more, and even though that didn't really hold true until Spiller was injured, it's clear that the coach thought he could adequately handle what was being asked of him.

Choice's production has been extremely limited this year—four carries for three years in Week 1, eight carries for 37 yards in Week 2—but there's always hope that he'll be able to impress with the increased workload.

You never know what can happen when a third-stringer is given an opportunity. Already this season, we've seen Andre Brown—the Giants' former third-stringer—take advantage of a huge opportunity with New York and come up big for Eli Manning's offense for two straight weeks in the absence of Ahmad Bradshaw.

So maybe there's a little bit of magic left over for Choice.