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Evaluating the damage Jackson, Spiller can do

By Tim Graham

How much room is there in the Buffalo Bills backfield for two dangerous running backs?

NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks seems to think there's more than enough.

Brooks conducts one of the best inspections I've seen on Buffalo Bills running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller at

Brooks, using videos and photographic diagrams, breaks down each running back based on three chief strengths in Chan Gailey's offense. Brooks finds their differences rather complementary.

Brooks explains the Bills use Jackson for inside-zone runs, cutback plays and screen passes. Jackson's rugged style and field vision make him particularly strong in these areas.

On Jackson's screen acumen, charted him for 29 receptions behind the line of scrimmage. He didn't drop a single pass and gained 406 of his 442 receiving yards. He made 25 of those receptions between the numbers.

Brooks calls Spiller "an explosive perimeter runner" who "overwhelms defenders with his burst and acceleration, and displays exceptional elusiveness in the traffic."

As such, Spiller is suited for outside-zone runs, lead draws and swing passes.

Rather than cut and paste Brooks' explanations here, I urge you to read his full analysis. It's educational.

Here is Brooks' final conclusion:

Gailey's decision to diversify the offensive workload has been met with skepticism, but I believe the Bills are more difficult to defend with both Jackson and Spiller playing key roles. If Gailey can work out the logistics to make sure both receive enough touches to make an impact, Buffalo's offense could become one of the league's most difficult to defend in 2012.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |