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C.J. Spiller looking forward to role as runner-receiver hybrid

C.J. Spiller and Reggie Bush share a few words after a 2011 game at Sun Life Stadium. (Photo: Getty Images)

By Tim Graham

A couple weeks ago on the Press Coverage blog, ESPN and Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson explained how C.J. Spiller could resemble Reggie Bush more than ever this year. 

New Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone was the New Orleans Saints' offensive coordinator during Bush's first three pro seasons.

Bush's per-game averages over that span would've translated into this season stat line: 652 rushing yards and five touchdowns plus 90 receptions for 673 yards and three touchdowns.

We should expect Spiller's rushing total to be higher than that, but the way Bush was used as a receiver is worth noting.

Spiller, a guest Thursday on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access," alluded to how he'll be deployed this year and made it a point to mention lining up as a receiver.

"We're going to try to use me as much as possible and not let teams just get one beam on me and just saying I can just run the ball," Spiller said. "Hopefully, I'll be utilized in space, in the slot or whatever the case may be to try to help us find those mismatches to take advantage of them."

Mmmm hmmm ...

As a reminder, here's what Williamson said about Spiller as a weapon in the passing game:

"Fred Jackson is a good player, and I'd bet they have all sorts of intentions of playing him with Spiller, with Spiller being that running-back-receiver joker guy like Reggie Bush.

"You have to mention Spiller's abilities as a pass-catcher in this offense. Bush was at his best when Marrone was in New Orleans. He was a flex guy. If you counted him as a wideout, then he lined up in the backfield and he ran against nickel. If you counted him as a running back, they split him out to run routes against linebackers."

Mmmm hmmm ...


C.J. Spiller | Doug Marrone
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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 |