Tag:C.J. Spiller
Posted on: September 7, 2010 3:03 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 3:07 pm

AFC position battles finally decided

Posted by Andy Benoit

One of the more interesting aspects of Week 1 is learning all the winners of the training camp position battles. Here’s a rundown and analysis on some of the players who have officially earned a new starting job in the AFC. 

Derrick Johnson & Javon Belcher, ILB’s, Chiefs D. Johnson (US Presswire)

Both players handled nickel linebacking duties last season. Now, they’re replacing Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays in the starting lineup. Johnson, a former first-round pick who runs like a deer, should have replaced Williams last season. Coaches were looking for more physicality, though (Johnson is far better in space than he is in traffic). Belcher replacing Mays is a surprise. Mays’ critics love to gripe about the fifth-year pro’s lack of open-field speed. But for the type of speed that matters at inside linebacker – such as lateral speed and closing speed at the point of contact – Mays is excellent. Still, coaches are giving the more athletic Belcher a crack. Belcher was an undrafted rookie last season.

Justin Smiley, LG, Jaguars

In a long-anticipated move, Vince Manuwai moves to the second string in order to make room for newcomer Justin Smiley. Manuwai hasn’t been the same since blowing out his knee in 2008. Smiley, when he’s not battling shoulder problems, is one of the premiere run-blockers in the game. He is tremendous on inside pulls.

Anthony Smith & Sean Considine, S, Jaguars

This is more of an admonishment of Gerald Alexander and Reggie Nelson than testimonial for Smith and Considine. The Jaguars are making it clear that they expect sharp awareness and at least somewhat physical tackling from the safety position. Hopefully, they’re not expecting speed, because Considine offers little of that. He’ll play primarily in the box. Smith was a disappointment as a third-round pick in Pittsburgh, but physically-speaking, he was Jacksonville’s most impressive safety in training camp.

Joe Berger, C, Dolphins

Incumbent Jake Grove is a better player than Berger – much better, in fact. But frequent injuries make the seventh-year veteran unreliable (why do you think the Raiders dealt him to Miami in the first place?). Berger gives the Dolphins more stability on a week-to-week basis. That’s a big deal when you’re integrating two new guards (John Jerry and Richie Incognito).

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills

With Fred Jackson missing the preseason with a hand injury and Marshawn Lynch sitting out until the final game with an ankle injury, Spiller was able to snag more reps than initially planned. The explosive first-round pick was destined for the starting job anyway. Looks like he’ll have it right away.

Wade Smith, LG, Texans

When they signed him, coaches initially thought the journeyman utility veteran would be an excellent fit in the team’s zone-blocking system. Smith did nothing to change their minds. Helping Smith’s cause was the fact that last year’s starter, Kasey Studdard, struggles to consistently sustain blocks in pass protection.

Left guard is solved, but the Texans still haven’t figured out their starting right guard. Rumor has it that Mike Brisiel and Antoine Caldwell could wind up taking turns in Week 1.

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Posted on: August 29, 2010 11:00 am
Edited on: August 29, 2010 11:19 am

Hot Routes 8.29.10: Just a big ole hot mess

Posted by Will Brinson

In hindsight, yes, I'm beyond furious that I didn't use the Jay Cutler - Matt Leinart bro pic for this. Dagnabbit.

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  • The headline of the day pretty much has to be this one from Sean Jensen of the Sun-Times on the Bears: 'Saturday night summary: Hot mess." Yes, that makes me giggle. Almost as much as Jay Cutler getting sacked four times, throwing two picks and finishing the night with a QB rating of THIRTY ONE. Bwah. Meanwhile, in Arizona, the quarterback competition is going to come down to "chemistry with the team ." Really.
  • The fellas at The Wayne Fontes Experience make a good point: Willie Young has sacked the quarterback two weeks in a row. I have no earthly idea how he lasted until the SEVENTH round, but he'll be good. Also, guys, I'm the one driving the Jahvid Best bandwagon. You can hitch your wagon by calling 555-BEST. Also, Steve Schroder is right : why aren't they locking Detroit/Cleveland in for Thanksgiving? It's consistently more awesome than whatever else beatdown we're watching.
  • The score of the Panthers - Titans game might lead you to believe that it's the, you know, preseason. It also might lead you to believe that the Panthers defense is pretty good. As Jaxon writes at Cat Scratch Reader , that's not too far off. Offense, Tom Sorensen says at the Charlotte Observer , is "at a premium," which means that the failure/success of this season might actually hinge on the quarterback position for Carolina (once again). NO PRESSURE, Matt Moore.
  • I actually landed C.J. Spiller in a fantasy draft (for the first time) last night. I'm not upset but this news -- he is, as right tackle Cornell Green put it, "something else. " The guys at Buffalo Rumblings think the offense was "efficient and the defense was "lacking" -- if that's the biggest issue facing the Bills heading into the season, I think they take it and run.
  • Mike Tomlin has yet to announce a starting quarterback, but Ryan Wilson of Steelers' Lounge makes an excellent note : the two-headed quarterback monster of Dennis Dixon and Byron Leftwich is probably the smartest move. Or the only move. Whatever.
  • Dave Halprin of Blogging the Boys makes an astute point: this IS the preseason and all, but you still can't "wash away the stink that was the Cowboys on Saturday night." The good news is that Jerry Jones isn't that concerned ; pretty sure t that won't last if the shoddy play continues through into the regular season.
  • Not that anyone actually roots for failure, but it's kind of funny when a New York team stinks, it usually results in fun headline-writing. "Giants still 'a ways' away from being good " and "Nothing goes right for Giants " are two examples. Basically, the point that you should be getting from this is that the Giants are an "at-risk" team for 2010. On the bright side, Joe Flacco is definitely the starter in Baltimore. Which is, um, unsurprising?
Posted on: August 17, 2010 11:19 am

Fred Jackson could be back earlier than expected

Posted by Will Brinson

In Buffalo, after the injuries to Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, it was supposed to be C.J. Spiller time for the first few weeks of the season. (Also, it's why they were semi-interested in Brian Westbrook, perhaps?)

Good news for the Bills though, comes in the form of Jackson's determination to get on the field as soon as possible -- he told the Buffalo News Monday he hopes to be back in time for the regular season.

"I want to get back as soon as I can,'' Jackson said after Monday morning practice. "My thoughts are that I definitely want to be back by the [regular-season] opener."

That's obviously a best-case scenario, but if Buffalo trainers and Jackson's doctors are on board with him returning that soon, the Bills should be happy. After all, Spiller could shoulder the full load for the team's running game, but clearly they'd rather have multiple options out of the backfield instead.

Jackson's early return would give them that in what amounts to a critical early season game against a divisional foe (they open with Miami).

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Posted on: August 16, 2010 9:52 pm

Spiller ready for his new role

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

As Andy mentioned earlier today , Bills running backs Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch are out with injuries, and first-round RB C.J. Spiller will take many of their carries in the next few weeks of practice.

Spiller, for his part, said he’s ready for more responsible. 

“You never want to see two great guys go down like that,” Spiller told reporters today. “But you always have to be prepared and I’ve been preparing myself well-enough by studying my playbook, just going and getting the reps and then meeting with some guys, listening to them on how to do things. I feel a whole lot more comfortable going into this game than I did last week because it was my first game.

“You have to prepare yourself as if you’re next in line. That’s kind of how I’ve been doing it. That’s how I did OTAs, that’s how I did it in minicamps. That’s how I’m going to approach this. We had two great guys go down so I’m the next guy in line, and I’ll try and step up. They’re big shoes to try and fill but I’m going to try to do my best.”

In Buffalo’s 42-17 loss to the Redskins, Spiller carried the ball four times for 16 yards. So far, he feels like he’s fitting in with the offense. 

“I communicate well, and for protections, we’re on the same page,” he said. “That’s the main thing of being an offense, you have to talk to each other, give each other feedback of what’s going on out there. We did some of that during the game last week and hopefully that continues as we prepare for this week.”

And as for Jackson?

“I want to get back as soon as I can,” he said. “My thought is that I definitely want to be back by the opener.”

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Posted on: August 8, 2010 7:02 pm

Spiller to get early first-team reps with Bills?

Posted by Will Brinson

The ink is barely dry on C.J. Spiller's contract with the Buffalo Bills , but rumors are already floating that he could be in line for early action with the first team on offense.

This is something that Andy and I hypothesized in our AFC East Podcast Preview , since Spiller represents the best chance for the Bills to really make a splash on offense. As good as Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch may be, they don't provide the home run threat that Spiller does.

Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reports that Spiller is "in line to take reps with Buffalo's offensive starters" and that he's also the team's "top option at kick returner and punt returner."

We'll know for sure when the Bills get back to practice on Monday, but on the front, this seems like a logical pair of conclusions. Andy mentioned that Spiller could be too valuable at running back to put at risk for punt and kick returns (a la Chris Johnson with the Titans) and that's certainly a possibility.

But with the Bills desperately in need of someone who can put some points on the board any time he touches the football, it'd be surprising to see Spiller anywhere other than on top of the depth chart in a couple of places.

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Posted on: August 7, 2010 10:24 am

Spiller makes comments after 1st practice

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Will discussed the C.J. Spiller signing yesterday, but I wanted to make mention of some of Spiller’s comments from Bills camp.

He said he felt great in his first practice, though he still has to work on his timing. He did enjoy the nice reception he got from the fans in attendance.

“It was a great feeling,” he told reporters. “I was anxious to get back. I was ready to get back on the football field and just start practicing again and get ready for the season. But it felt good to get a warm reception from the fans. We’re definitely going to need them come Sundays.”

And a quick comment on the variety of feats he performed at practice.

“It felt good to start catching some punts again,” Spiller said. “I haven’t caught (any) in awhile. It felt really good to get back out there and do that. We’re just taking it one day at a time. Can’t really slow down. I have to speed up and I have to in steady. The good thing is, I remembered a whole lot from OTAs and mini-camp.”

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Category: NFL
Posted on: August 6, 2010 10:25 am
Edited on: August 6, 2010 12:15 pm

Report: Bills, Spiller reach deal

Posted by Will Brinson

According to a report from ESPN's John Clayton, the Buffalo Bills and rookie running back C.J. Spiller have reached an agreement on a deal that will get Spiller into camp as early as Friday, while also making him wealthy individual. (And making Russell Okung the only unsigned rookie from the 2010 first round remaining.)

Clayton originally reported on the radio this morning that it was "likely" Spiller would sign Friday, and if his source is correct, that has happened.

The deal is reportedly a five-year contract worth $25 million total, with $20.8 million guaranteed (last year's No. 9 overall, B.J. Raji received a five-year deal worth $28.5 million overall/$18 million guaranteed).

For further context, Tyson Alualu -- the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft -- received $28 million total and $18 million guaranteed from the Jaguars, while Rolando McClain -- the 8th overall pick  -- received a five-year, $40 million overall/$23 million guaranteed deal from the Raiders.

In other words, Spiller took a little less total money while opting for more guaranteed money (provided, again, that the report is true).

Which makes him the complete opposite of the freshly-paid Andre Johnson.

The Bills should have a release on the news soon, and we'll keep you updated -- it would also seem logical that Spiller, because of his versatility, has a slew of incentives in his contract, relating to total yards gained, etc., etc.

Update (12:10): Looks like the "incentives" portion we mentioned above is a strong likelihood -- the AP is now reporting that Spiller's contract has a maximum value of $37.5 million, which is a pretty solid raise from the original report of $25 million.

However, the Bills, according to Rapid Reporter Mark Ludwiczak , didn't comment about the Spiller signing following early practice. Chan Gailey is scheduled to address the media following the evening session, though, so we should hear something relatively soon.

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Posted on: August 6, 2010 9:52 am

Report: Bills 'likely' to sign Spiller Friday?

Posted by Will Brinson

Russell Okung and C.J. Spiller are the only remaining unsigned first-round draft picks from the 2010 class.

According to John Clayton on ESPN Radio (via Michael David Smith at PFT ), Spiller and the Bills made a lot of progress Thursday in contract discussions and there's a strong chance that the rookie running back will sign with Buffalo on Friday and proceed to join the team in training camp.

That would be a huge boon for a Bills team that, um, just needs some help.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com