“During the lockout, Spiller dedicated himself to watching each play that he was involved in, and it didn’t take long for the ninth pick of the 2010 draft to notice something.
‘I wasn’t being as patient as I normally had,’ Spiller said. ‘I was sometimes over-running the holes and wasn’t using my ability to my advantage once I got into open field and that’s something I tried to work on this off-season.’”
Of all of the encouraging nuggets of information included in today’s morning links from MRW, this anecdote and quote stood out. I am fired up.
CJ Spiller was an absolutely electrifying collegiate running back. The kind of guy you would watch and get goose bumps when he ripped off a big run. In his first professional season, he was a non-factor. Beyond that, there weren’t too many flashes of potential. Having been down the road of draft day busts many times before, I reacted like a normal Bills fan and pushed him out of my thoughts entirely (it’s best to compartmentalize certain draft day decisions) and lowered my expectations significantly.
To be honest, I hadn’t given him too much thought during the off-season. I was (and am) optimistic about the offense regardless of how CJ performs. But…
The reality is that he was a rookie playing a position that generally is not too kind to rookies. He was playing behind a line that can be called patch-work at best, but could be more often described as poor. He missed a chunk of practices and had to learn a new system. On top of all of that, he had to adjust to the speed of an NFL game.
The net result was him bouncing off of the backs of the o-line and then running horizontally for a short gain/loss.
But the quote above tells me everything I want to hear – he recognized his mistakes and spent the off-season working on them. The guy still has the same physical tools that made him a beast in college. He has that first season under his belt of game-day experience and learning the playbook.
If he can get it figured out (and yes I know that’s still a big if), this guy is going to transform the offense. Maybe I am the only one who was sleeping on him this year, but it sure seems like most of the chatter and focus has been on the defensive side of the ball.
I really think that CJ has as good of chances of anyone on the team as being the Bills’ MVP this year.