Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller had a rough rookie season. Finishing with just 440 yards and one touchdown offensively, Bills head coach Chan Gailey made no qualms about the fact that the No. 9 overall pick's first season was disappointing in comments Thursday from the 2011 NFL Combine.
"It didn’t work out like everybody planned – he planned, I planned, any fan out there planned – it didn’t work out like any of us had planned," Gailey said in a press conference.
Gailey, who has expressed optimism regarding Spiller's future before, did so again yesterday - but also pointed out where he believes Spiller needs to improve.
"I still think he’s going to be a very good to great player for the Buffalo Bills. There’s no question in my mind about that," Gailey said. "I think he’s got to do better at ball security and pass protection. Those are the two areas he’s got to get better at. I’m not telling you anything we haven’t told him."
After the jump, more from Gailey on the circumstances of Spiller's rookie season, and similarities between he and Kansas City's Jamaal Charles.
Gailey placed a lot of the blame on the slow start to Spiller's career on the circumstances of his rookie season. As Buffalo entered its first year with Gailey at the helm, Gailey couldn't focus on scheming for Spiller as much as he'd have liked to.
"I think I’ll do a better job of creating ways to use him more," Gailey said. "When you are establishing what you’re trying to get done offensively, you have a hard time deviating too much to do things for one guy and to create things for one guy because we were in the process of evaluating everybody and trying to create things for everybody on our offense. It was a ‘getting to know you’ year.
"Just because it didn’t work out, that wasn’t his fault," Gailey continued. "I don’t even think it was the process’s fault of who to draft. I think it is more the product of the situation and us being in our first year. If we would have been in the third year and taken him, I don’t think it would have had the same results. So, I think there are a lot of factors. We put the expectations on the ones – on the first guys that are taken. Everybody in this room out there in the football kingdom puts expectations on ones. That’s what we do."
Gailey was asked about a player that he had while Kansas City's offensive coordinator in 2008 - one Jamaal Charles - and how the two started of similarly in their first seasons (Charles had 629 total yards and one touchdown as a third-round rookie that season).
"The big thing for (Charles) was ball security," Gailey told the Kansas City Star. "Where he was his first year was very similar to where C.J. was this past year. The similarities are striking. He learned to hold on to the football, Jamaal did. If C.J. can, I think he’ll have some big years."