|Bills RB Fred Jackson is healthy enough to return but he will back up C.J. Spiller. (Getty Images)|
The Buffalo Bills have finally made the change in the backfield that many fans were hoping for.
RB Fred Jackson has been fully cleared to return after missing last week with a concussion, but C.J. Spiller will get the start and the majority of snaps against Indianapolis in Week 12.
“C.J. will start, but we're still going to play Fred,” coach Chan Gailey said Wednesday. “It takes two [RBs], it does. So we'll still play [both], Fred will get quite a few snaps but C.J. will start and get the majority of the snaps.”
Though Jackson will remain a key figure on offense, Gailey's remarks represent a shift in thought regarding his two-headed monster at RB. Jackson has started each of his seven games played, while Spiller's three starts have come with Jackson out of the lineup. When both players have been healthy, they have received just about a 50-50 split in the backfield; Spiller has more carries (109) and receptions (31) than Jackson (75 carries, 26 receptions), but Jackson has missed three games due to injury.
The promotion for Spiller is deserved. He leads the team with 723 yards rushing and has a gaudy average of 6.63 yards per carry. That average is the third-highest among NFL RBs with at least 100 carries since 1960, trailing only Miami RB Mercury Morris (7.18 -- 1973) and Cleveland RB Jim Brown (7.09 -- 1963). Jackson has 298 yards and an average of four yards per carry.
Spiller took the news in stride while acknowledging that the veteran Jackson will remain a big part of the offense.
“I'm just going continue to go out there and do what I've been doing,” Spiller said. “It's not like we're not going to use 22. We're going to use him, he's a playmaker on our team, he's a leader on our team. I'm just going to go out there when my number's called and try to help my team win. Nothing's going to really change the way that I've been preparing now that I'll be starting on Sunday.”
Jackson, meanwhile, has been cleared by the team's doctors to return after suffering a concussion late in Buffalo's Week 10 loss to New England.
“I've been cleared to do everything,” Jackson said. “With the training staff that we have, they're always going to be cautious and I'm sure they'll continue to monitor everything that's going on and probably do some more testing, who knows. But as of right now I've been given the green light to do whatever.”
For more updates on the Bills, follow correspondent Mark Ludwiczak on Twitter @CBSBills and @MarkLud12.