USA TODAY Sports
Sunday is all about Buffalo Bills running backs, as C.J. Spiller makes his Pro Bowl debut and Tyrone Wheatley outlines his plans for the group in 2013.
"I would lean toward Byrd being the more important player to the Bills. For one, Byrd's a Pro Bowler. Secondly, he's one of the few playmakers Buffalo has on defense. Levitre also is a very good player and very versatile."
So if Levitre had made the Pro Bowl but Byrd didn't, he is the one who should be kept? I agree that Byrd should be kept before Levitre, but this rationale is ridiculous. The right answer starts with the playmaker argument, but the honest answer is that it's easier to replace a guard than a playmaking safety. I want both of them on my team, and Buddy Nix needs to make that happen.
Obviously the job description of most running backs is to take handoffs, but guys like C.J. Spiller, Ray Rice, and Doug Martin provide unique threats in an offense. How big an impact those players can have though also has a lot to do with how an offensive coordinator chooses to use them, or how often their quarterbacks are willing to check down.
I know you're shocked that C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson were targeted a lot on their passing routes. Spiller is third in the league for targets per route run, while Jackson was 14th. It's unclear how this is going to change under Nathaniel Hackett, but it's probably a pretty safe bet that they will see some passes their way. Head coach Doug Marrone was on Sean Payton's staff when he drafted Reggie Bush, and was Bush's offensive coordinator when he caught 88 passes in his rookie season and 73 the next year.
Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl preview - BuffaloBills.com
"Three Buffalo players will be participating in Sunday’s Pro Bowl, the most since 2004 when the Bills sent four players to Hawaii. This year’s participants for Buffalo are FS Jairus Byrd, RB C.J. Spiller and DT Kyle Williams. Here’s a look back at their 2012 seasons."
Wheatley eager to work with Jackson and Spiller - BuffaloBills.com
"Wheatley’s job, as well as every other coach on the Bills staff, will be to clearly define the roles of their players, so they commit to the ultimate cause of the team." Video from his conversation is also available.
Wheatley says Bills will use "multiple" looks with Jackson and Spiller | ProFootballTalk
"One option that apparently won’t be used extensively, if at all, is the presence of both players on the field at the same time."
Inside The Bills | Why Hackett is OC & QBs coach
Hackett: "It’s one of those things, whenever you do put another person in that place, unless they’ve been with you for a long time and know exactly how you think and exactly what you want it’s something that you don’t necessarily want to do right out of the gate."
Inside the NFL: Lack of blitzes stunted the Bills' defense - The Buffalo News
"The Bills blitzed on just 15 percent of pass plays under Dave Wannstedt in 2012, according to News figures. Buffalo ranked last in the NFL in blitzing the quarterback, according to ESPN."