New Start, New Starter: Rookie, Spiller, Earns Featured Role
On Wednesday, the Buffalo Bills announced that rookie running back, C.J. Spiller, will start the season opener against the Miami Dolphins.
"The reason he's starting is because he has gotten more reps than anybody else at tailback in the preseason and he's doing a good job," Chan Gailey told BuffaloBills.com's lead journalist, Chris Brown. "If he hadn't done a good job then we might have to re-think it, but he's done a good job and he's earned the spot."
In my opinion, this isn't too shocking. If the Bills are starting a new chapter, and the new chapter started with the 2010 preseason, then this is the right move.
Scoring three touchdowns in three preseason games, Spiller was the best Bills' player and turned last-season's dismal offense, which didn't score a touchdown in the preseason, into something to get excited about. If Spiller continues his play into the regular season, something easier said than done, the Bills' chances of winning improves by at least 25 percent. Meaning the Bills' chances of winning skyrockets to about 50-50 (they did go 7-9 last year).
Last week in my blog, I commented on the Bills' decision (meaning head coach Gailey and general manager Buddy Nix's decision) to sit Spiller during the final preseason game against the Detroit Lions. That fact that a banged-up Marshawn Lynch started and a healthy Spiller (who's a rookie earning his stripes) sat to rest was almost controversial.
It told fans, Spiller's value had increased so much during the four weeks of preseason that any sort of injury to him substantially decreases the Bills' chances of winning Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins. Despite needing to adjust to the NFL "learning curve", the Bills need his play-making skills to win each week.
Against the Indianaplois Colts and Cincinnati Bengals (highlight clips), Spiller showed game changing ability that Bills fans haven't seen since Doug Flutie was quarterback. (Yeah, I used Flutie as a game changer. Have the Bills been back to the playoffs since he made plays and willed Buffalo to a 11-5 record? No.)
If Spiller can keep teams guessing, bust at least one big play a game and Trent Edwards (or whomever starts) can manage the game. Buffalo has a chance to use other weapons like wide receiver Lee Evans and Roscoe Parrish to their full potential.
A perfect example of the run setting up the pass. That's something new in the city of Buffalo. Bills' fans just need to hope that Gailey and Nix know what the they're doing. So far, so good.
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