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Doug Marrone doesn't view C.J. Spiller as a situational back

By Tim Graham

The new boss is not the same as the old boss when it comes to deploying his running backs.

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone indicated after today's voluntary workout C.J. Spiller will not be pulled from games in short-yardage, third-down or red-zone situations because of size or skill set.

"My philosophy's always been if someone starts off and they're running well, keep feeding them the ball," Marrone said.

Asked if he has any reservations about using Spiller in certain spots, Marrone shook his head.

"I've really seen him as well as Fred work on the things that make them both complete backs," Marrone said. "Our goal, when we put a back back there, is to make sure they're complete backs."

Former coach Chan Gailey bewildered fans with his usage of Spiller at certain points. When the Bills would get inside the red zone, Spiller would stand on the sidelines, farther away from Gailey than any other player.

There were games when the Bills were on a late, must-score drive, yet Spiller wasn't on the field although he averaged 6 yards a carry while rushing for 1,244 yards and six touchdowns. Spiller also caught 43 passes for 459 yards and two touchdowns.

"We have two backs that can produce results," Marrone said. "C.J. has great ability to get outside and also run inside. I see C.J. Spiller, from the time I've been here, has worked extremely hard to really step his game up, and that's exciting.

"I see Fred as a veteran player really work hard and look good. I think we have an opportunity to have two backs back there that can be productive, and sometimes we've had them in the same backfield together in this camp."

For the record, Gailey also had preseason plans to use Spiller and Jackson simultaneously last season before Jackson and Spiller each suffered injuries within the first three games. Once they returned to health, however, Gailey maintained a backfield rotation.


C.J. Spiller | Doug Marrone | Fred Jackson
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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 |