C.J. Spiller is the nominal No. 1 running back on the Bills' current depth chart, but coach Chan Gailey suggested Wednesday that his star rookie won't be given the heavy workload of a typical featured back in this Sunday's opener against the Dolphins.
"We have to be very smart about how we handle him, especially early in the year," Gailey said on Media Day in the fieldhouse. "We have to make sure we don't throw too much on him very early in the season."
Gailey was quick to add that if the rest of his backs are healthy, giving too much responsibility to Spiller "should never be an issue."
Gailey said the Bills have three No. 1 running backs (Spiller, Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch). ""We've got three starters. Some people have trouble finding one starter and we have three."
Fred Jackson, who won the starting job last year, is expected to play but isn't fully recovered from his broken hand. It sounds as if Gailey intends to spread the carries around and take advantage of Jackson's ability to run inside. Jackson has done well against Miami in his career. In five games against the Dolphins, Jackson has 49 carries for 271 yards -- a 5.5 average.
It will not be a surprise to see Spiller and Jackson (or Lynch) on the field at the same time. Spiller is a special player. He'll get his touches. But Jackson proved he could be an every-down NFL back last year, and I suspect Gailey will want to maximize his talents while developing Spiller.