The Buffalo Bills have an interesting quandary at running back. Veteran Fred Jackson was a monster in 2011 but is coming off a season-ending leg injury. Meanwhile, 2010 first-round pick C.J. Spiller is beginning to hit his stride -- and both want the ball in 2012.
"It's a good problem to have," Bills coach Chan Gailey told me at the NFL's owners meetings.
Gailey is working through his situation at running back this offseason and likes what he sees from Spiller, who is pushing for more carries this season as Jackson's backup. Spiller hasn't been shy about his desire for more playing time and is showing it on the practice field.
"[Spiller's] confidence level just went through the roof in my opinion. He knows what to do a lot better now," Gailey recently told reporters. "He has a lot of confidence that he can play running back, he can go out and play receiver, he can do a lot of things and blocking. He’s gotten better at his blocking from the previous year. His ball security was a lot better last year. He carried it multiple times and did a good job of controlling the ball. Just his overall confidence level I think is very good this year."
I agree with Gailey that it's a good problem. But it's still a problem. The Bills coaching staff didn't do a good enough job last year of dividing carries between two quality running backs. The result was Jackson getting injured and Spiller being underused until the end of last season.
This year Buffalo is fully aware of what both running backs are capable of. Each running back will want 25 carries a game, but that's not going to happen. It's up to Gailey and his staff to come up with creative ways to keep both Spiller and Jackson happy and productive. Both players are important pieces to Buffalo's offense.