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Doug Marrone says a hobbled C.J. Spiller still worth putting on field

By Jay Skurski

Give C.J. Spiller credit.

He's doing everything in his power to get on the field and help his team, despite a sprained left ankle that has largely robbed him of his trademark explosiveness.

Spiller, though, is coming off his least productive game since Week 10 of the 2011 season, his second year in the league. On 14 offensive snaps (21 percent) Sunday against the Dolphins, he managed just 11 yards on six carries and lost 4 yards on three catches. So on nine touches, he gained 7 yards. That's his fewest since he had just one carry for 1 yard in a blowout loss to the Cowboys in 2010.

Coach Doug Marrone was asked Monday if Spiller, who was originally hurt in Week Four against Baltimore, suffered a setback against the Dolphins. 

"It's been up and down. Like I said before, we just monitor him during the week and see where he's at and if it continues to get better we go out there and then we go play. There's going to be a setback when you play the game, he's not going to come out of there 110 percent," Marrone said. "I think it's a situation that we'll keep monitoring and if there's a point where during the week it doesn't feel as good as it should, then I think we'll look to see what we want to do. As long as he's getting better when he's in there, he obviously has the potential to be productive, which he was. He had a run; one or two runs over 10, good distance there. Obviously the Cleveland game he had the big run for the touchdown. We just have to look to see, just keep trying to get him better each week."

Spiller gained 11 yards on a carry in the first quarter against the Dolphins. But his other five runs went for 1, -5, 2, 1 and 1 yards.

Marrone was subsequently asked whether Spiller -- at whatever percentage he's at -- continues to be a better option than a healthy Tashard Choice would be for the Bills.

"I would think the injury has everything to do with it, not some of it," the coach said, a reference to a drop in Spiller's numbers from 2012. "We're looking at the production, seeing if he's getting better and not putting him out there in jeopardy. Yes, him being out there, he can produce. You look at Cleveland, the run against Cleveland, the run even the other day that he bounces outside and takes it up the sideline. Not very many people can do that. That’s the one thing we’re trying to balance the whole time."


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 |