CJ Spiller needs to step up

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In my last post about the Bills, I mentioned how disappointed I was with CJ Spiller’s rookie year. For the record, I wasn’t enamored with the Bills picking him with the 9th pick for the same reasons that everyone else pretty much said. However, I was almost certain that Spiller would have a dynamite year. Hell, I picked him to be the offensive rookie of the year. I just thought that rookie running backs always make the transition to the pro game a lot easier than any other position. Not to mention, I trusted Chan Gailey to do the best job possible to get the ball into his rookie’s hands.

Man, doesn’t that Toronto preseason game against the Colts seem like 20 years ago?

Now, I know it’s still early in the season and things can easily change, but Spiller is starring down a unique path for rookie running backs. And when I say unique, it’s a bad version. Here are Spiller’s stats on the season: 

G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
7   32 130 18.6 4.1 0   17 76 10.9 4.5 14 6.3 4 1   1 0  

Not good, right? As of now, Spiller is on pace to just get over 300 yards rushing for the season. Like I said, it’s easy for Spiller to turn it around, as his numbers have been so gruesome, that he may be able to double his yardage on any given Sunday. However, you are what your stats say you are. As I said earlier, Spiller’s numbers pale in comparison to how other rookie backs have performed over the years.

Since 2005, 19 running backs have been selected in the first round of the draft. Excluding Ryan Mathews and Jahvid Best, who are rookies this year and have exceeded CJ Spiller’s production so far, the rest of the rookie backs that have been selected over the last five years have demolished what CJ Spiller has done so far.

I hate to say it, but if CJ Spiller stays healthy and stays on this uneventful pace for rushing futility, he may have the worst rookie year for a running back drafted in the 1st round in five years.

Ryan Mathews 

 Year Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2010 San Diego 7   78 340 48.6 4.4 2   13 74 10.6 5.7 17 6.8 4 0   2 2

Jahvid Best 

Year Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2010 Detroit 7   91 297 42.4 3.3 4   36 316 45.1 8.8 75 9.7 10 1   1 1

 Knowshon Moreno 

Year Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2009 Denver 16   247 947 59.2 3.8 7   28 213 13.3 7.6 27 6.3 10 2   4 4

Beanie Wells 

Year Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2009 Arizona 16   176 793 49.6 4.5 7   12 143 8.9 11.9 25 9.6 5 0   4 2

Darren McFadden 

Year Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2008 Oakland 13   113 499 38.4 4.4 4   29 285 21.9 9.8 27 10.8 13 0   3 1

 Jonathan Stewart 

Year Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2008 Carolina 16   184 836 52.3 4.5 10   8 47 2.9 5.9 15 6.5 2 0   2 1

Felix Jones

Year Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2008 Dallas 6   30 266 44.3 8.9 3   2 10 1.7 5.0 7 3.5 0 0   0 0

 Rashard Mendenhall 

Year Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2008 Pittsburgh 4   19 58 14.5 3.1 0   2 17 4.3 8.5 11 6.5 1 0   0 0

Chris Johnson 

Year Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2008 Tennessee 15   251 1228 81.9 4.9 9   43 260 17.3 6.0 25 6.8 11 1   1 1

Adrian Peterson 

Season Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2007-08 Minnesota 14   238 1341 95.8 5.6 12   19 268 19.1 14.1 60 15.0 13 1   4 3

Marshawn Lynch 

Season Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2007-08 Buffalo 13   280 1115 85.8 4.0 7   18 184 14.2 10.2 30 11.3 10 0   2 1

Reggie Bush

Season Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2006-07 New Orleans 16   155 565 35.3 3.6 6   88 742 46.4 8.4 74 8.2 32 2   2

2

Laurence Maroney

Season Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2006-07 New England 14   175 745 53.2 4.3 6   22 194 13.9 8.8 31 10.2 11 1   1 1

 DeAngelo Williams

Season Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2006-07 Carolina 13   121 501 38.5 4.1 1   33 313 24.1 9.5 41 10.0 11 1   1 0

 Joseph Addai 

Season Team  G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2006-07 Indianapolis 16   226 1081 67.6 4.8 7   40 325 20.3 8.1 21 7.6 20 1   2 2

Ronnie Brown 

Season Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2005-06 Miami 15   207 907 60.5 4.4 4   32 232 15.5 7.3 38 7.3 12 1   4 4  

 Carnell Williams 

Season Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2005-06 Tampa Bay 14   290 1178 84.1 4.1 6   20 81 5.8 4.1 15 4.2 4 0   3 2

 Cedric Benson

Season Team G   Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD   Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD   Fum FumL  
 2005-06 Chicago 9   67 272 30.2 4.1 0   1 3 0.3 3.0 3 8.0 0 0   1 1

Ouch! Those numbers make CJ Spiller look like Ryan Leaf. What makes the numbers look more disturbing are that the backs on this list who struggled statistically during their rookie years battled injuries (Felix Jones, Cedric Benson, Rashard Mendenhall), not playing time. Of course, I’m not saying that Spiller is going to end up a bust, as it’s way too early to see what he can really bring to the table.

However, to see how well the majority of these running backs played during their rookie year, really makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with the Clemson product? Does it have to do with Spiller not being a guy that can run between the tackles? As most of his runs have been to the outside, where our “all-world” tackles are paving the way. Does Chan Gailey not trust the rookie back? Is Fred Jackson that vital of an offensive cog that the Bills can’t take him out of the line-up?

I don’t know about you, but if you’re in rebuilding mode, wouldn’t you want your 1st round pick to touch the ball more than 7 times a game? I’m sorry, but I like Fred Jackson, but by the time the Bills have a chance to turn it around, Jackson will be 31 or 32. Frankly, the Bills need to find ways to get Spiller the ball more and to quote Dick Vermeil: “I think it’s time to take the diapers off.”  

Joe

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