There are certain players on the Bills squad that don't get enough attention because of other players around them. Kyle Williams doesn't get enough love because of Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus on defense. On offense, CJ Spiller isn't getting enough attention because of Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson.
Some believe that CJ will be playing second fiddle to Jackson this season but it's looking more and more like CJ will have about the same number of touches as Fred in 2012.
Some of the reasons why CJ will see the field more are well known. Fred is getting up there in age for a running back so keeping him fresh is going to be a priority. Also, CJ played extremely well down the stretch after Fred went down so he's earned more touches.
There are, however, two more reasons why CJ will see the field more this year and as a result, should be primed for a big year.
Chan Gailey said yesterday that CJ Spiller has the Bills protection assignments down pat. Going for Chan's custom line of "if that was my biggest problem, I wouldn't have a problem at all". Having those protection assignments down gives Chan more confidence that he can put him on the field in any situation without worrying if he's going to blow the play up because of a missed assignment. This was certainly the case in his rookie year and the shortened off season last year hurt his development in that area as well. Chan admitted that most people don't realize how difficult it is to understand protection schemes and is admittedly happy that CJ has that part of his game mastered.
The other reason why CJ is primed for a big year is because of more two back sets. Fans who attended practices or watched the preseason games noticed that Fred and CJ were side by side next to Fitz. As I understand it this will be a staple of our offense. We will have both CJ and Fred flanking Fitz which gives the offense tremendous flexibility. We can go from a 2 RB set to 5 wide instantly without changing personnel, this will give defensive coordinators fits. If the defense has a run stopping defense Fitz will flank them out, if they play a pass defense Fitz will reel those 2 in the backfield and proceed to run the ball. The Bills have the pieces on offense to play a chess match. The defense will have to pick it's poison and as a result, CJ and Fred will have plenty of opportunities to touch the ball.
CJ is a special player. He's one of the fastest players in the NFL and you can see that when he touches the ball in space. He will get more opportunities because of what I mentioned and I expect him to blossom in his third year. His versatility and understanding of our system makes him a great asset. As a result, I think he's going to be on the field a ton this year and get plenty of opportunities to make 2012 his breakout year.