"We’ve been working on a couple of things," said head coach Doug Marrone. "In the situations that we ran him this year it was different than the situations in which he was running the year before."
What this tells us is that Doug Marrone and Nate Hackett knew how CJ Spiller was used in 2012. What it also tells us, is that they seemingly disregarded it for their own plan in 2013. Throughout the year I wondered if they just didn't know how to effectively use Spiller, as it apparently took Chan Gailey 3 seasons to figure it out. But nevertheless, this quote explains that they did know how he was used in the past and elected not to use him in a similar capacity.
2012: 207 Att, 1,244 Yards, 6 YPC, 6 TDs, 43 Rec, 459 Yards, 2 TDs
2013: 201 Att, 927 Yards, 4.6 YPC, 2 TDs, 33 Rec, 185 Yards, 0 TDs
Perhaps Gailey did something right (in regards to Spiller) in 2012. Forcing CJ Spiller to change his game to serve Hackett's offensive philosophy led to a big decrease in production for one of the most electrifying players in the game. With a rookie QB, and the carousel that took place, you would think Hackett and company would take whatever crutch they could to stabilize the offense. Instead, he stuck to his guns and forced Spiller to be a more physical back instead of the electrifying back in open space.
Proof of this?
"But I did see him improve at the end of the year. I think he was able to in the season finale stick it up in there and break it and become more physical."
There we go. They want CJ Spiller to be a more physical back. For better or worse, this is apparently what Hackett's offense needs to thrive. And that is not what CJ Spiller is. With Fred Jackson getting older (and likely to decrease in productiveness as well as health), I would expect the Bills to spend an early-to-mid round pick on a running back. It's definitely not what I want, but the writing appears to be on the wall. I would actually be surprised if CJ Spiller is kept beyond his rookie contract.
I understand that recreating your offensive scheme around a running back may not be "smart." But there should be more opportunities to take advantage of special players. And there is nothing proving that the offense is even successful at the NFL level to begin with. I have never been a fan of coordinators who force their scheme rather than adapt to personnel, and until Hackett learns how to do it I won't be a fan of him. It reminds me of the defensive coordinators who get hired and change the defense from a 4-3 to 3-4 or vice versa. Rather than utilize the personnel you have, you have to acquire the perfect personnel to fit your scheme. How likely is that? What are the chances they will even be there long enough to see the player transition completely through?
If a coach is going to succeed at the NFL level they need to learn to adapt and get off their high horses. A true good coach is able to get the most out of his players, because the scheme fits his players, not the other way around.