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C.J. Spiller wants to give Adrian Peterson a run as top back

By Tim Graham

Given that we haven't heard from Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson or General Manager Buddy Nix, we don't know their specific grounds for firing head coach Chan Gailey.

One of the more notable reasons Bills fans are glad Gailey's gone is the way he used running back C.J. Spiller this season.

Spiller was a revelation. He ran for 1,244 yards and six touchdowns and caught 43 passes for 459 yards and two touchdowns.

The problem was that Spiller averaged only 13 carries and less than three catches a game.

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Spiller indicated today he's eager to be an Alpha back and suggested he wants to be known ahead of Adrian Peterson as the NFL's best. Spiller said he was rooting for Peterson to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record Sunday and sounded like he was ready to take a crack at it himself.

"You just don't see that year in and year out," Spiller said. "For him to come 9 yards short of it, it just speaks to the caliber of player that he is.

"You always want to consider yourself one of the best and probably want to have something to shoot for. He definitely has set the bar pretty high for me. But I believe in myself. I believe I can get it done."

Spiller also gave a strong impression he's ready for the expectations that will come his way after a breakout season. He'll be only 26 years old when next season begins.

"I can only get better," Spiller said. "This was a good year for me, a good stepping stone, I guess you can say.

"Now the big question's going to be, from you guys and everybody else, 'Can he do it again?' that'll be my motivation going into this offseason. It's a lot of motivation that I got that's burning inside of me."

Buffalo's next coach will determine how Spiller and Jackson split the carries. But knowing that tandem is in place will be attractive to any coaching candidate.

Spiller was replaced by Fred Jackson in certain situations, including when the Bills got into the red zone or when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter.

Jackson is a respected captain and a hard charger, but he averaged only 3.8 yards a carry this year and lost a career-worst four fumbles. Jackson missed time with knee injuries and a concussion.

"I was frustrated losing," Spiller said. "It didn't matter to me if I touched it 10 times or if I touched it 20-something times. If we didn't get the win, what's the point of it? That was the most frustrating part about the whole situation."

All season, Spiller had kept private his list of personal goals. He revealed them today:

  • 1. Make the playoffs.
  • 2. Make a Super Bowl run.
  • 3. Rush for 1,000 yards.
  • 4. Lead the NFL in yards per carry.
  • 5. Get selected for the Pro Bowl.

He accomplished No. 3 and still has a chance for No. 5 if Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles or Ray Rice drop out due to injury or get to the Super Bowl.

"It's up in the air," Spiller said. "If I get chosen to represent this organization, then I'll do it in a class manner. But if I don't, I'll just continue to work hard and prepare for hopefully another great season."

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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 |