It’s hard to use the term “expanded role” for any player that had nearly 400 snaps the year before, but C.J. Spiller is the exception. By many accounts, 2013 was a disappointment for the former first-round pick. He suffered a high ankle sprain that put a damper on a good portion of his season and just never really evolved into the running back that the Bills were touting him to be ahead of last season. However, the argument can be made that the current Bills coaching staff just didn’t understand where Spiller would be most effective for the team when the regular season games started. They set incredibly lofty expectations as a workhorse back, but that’s not the type of player that Spiller is. By the time they realized what Spiller was, they were in the throes of the season and couldn’t put him in the spots he needed to be. The injury did not help the matter by any means and set the process back even more. Now that he’s fully healthy, that offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett understands where he works best and that Spiller is motivated not only by doubters, but by an expiring contract at the end of the year, it’s fair to expect a bigger output from both a snap count and yardage perspective in 2014. He won’t be that workhorse back that they hoped for, but he’ll likely have a more defined and bigger role with the type of athleticism he possesses.
C.J. Spiller’s 2013 season has been well-documented. He dealt with a bad ankle sprain for most of the season and, other than a few electrifying moments, he just didn’t seem like himself. Throw in a RB1-type season from the seemingly ageless Fred Jackson and Spiller finished #27 at his position, a huge disappointment to those owners who drafted him in the first round. A healthy Spiller should fare much better in 2014, though the ever-productive Jackson is still under contract, so there are still major workload concerns.