Bills RB Bryce Brown – who played in just seven games, rushing 36 times for 126 yards in 2014 – GM Doug Whaley said he’s got a “clean slate” with a new coaching staff led by Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
“We’re excited to see him come in with a clean slate like everybody else and perform like we think he should,” Whaley said.
It doesn't sound as if Whaley is particularly excited about Brown's prospects if C.J. Spiller walks this offseason.
The team will not exercise its option on running back Chris Johnson and he can become an unrestricted free agent on March 10.
Johnson's release is not a surprise, though there are now approximately 179 touches up for grabs in New York. The team has been linked to free agent C.J. Spiller, who had his best season (250 touches, 1703 total yards, eight touchdowns) under new Jets OC Chan Gailey back in 2012. If the Jets sign Spiller, he would form a one-two punch with Chris Ivory, who rushed for 821 yards (on 4.1 YPC) last season.
Running back Mark Ingram is wrapping up the final year of his contract with the team and preparing to head into free agency after his best NFL season. Ingram missed three games early in the season, but has since held up well under a heavy workload caused by injuries other backs. Ingram has set career highs in attempts, yards, receptions and touchdowns and thinks he’s sold himself well in the process.
“Yeah, I think that’s a good thing, seeing that I could carry the ball and be out there doing whatever they ask me to do for a stretch of time and be healthy,” Ingram said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Running backs have not found a friendly market in free agency in recent years, so Ingram will have to buck that trend to land a big contract. That will be tough in a year when DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, C.J. Spiller and Frank Gore are also set to make up a crowded free agent market at the position, but coming off his best pro season shouldn’t hurt when it comes time for Ingram to talk contract.
Ingram's 75.6 rushing yards per game are the 7th-highest this season. He's not going to land a big contract due to how the position has been devalued in recent years, but he should be able to match the three-year, $10.5 million that Toby Gerhart got in Jacksonville. If Ingram leaves, Khiry Robinson figures to take over the role as the team's primary between-the-tackles runner. Robinson is signed through the 2015 season.
Friday, December 19, 2014, 6:02pm
Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder, probable) took limited practice reps all week and is probable for Week 16. Spiller should serve as Fred Jackson’s primary backup, but don’t expect a huge workload. Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon have combined for 12.0 touches in the last four games, so that would seem to be Spiller’s ceiling in his first game back from injury.
He was practicing with his teammates on Wednesday, much as he had for each of the past two weeks. The only difference now is he’s been medically cleared for contact. C.J. Spiller has not yet been added to the 53-man roster from his I-R Designated to return status, but it’s anticipated that will take place later in the week.
Bills head coach Doug Marrone liked the way Spiller performed in practice Wednesday.
“I’m not going to sit up here and see he didn’t look good. He looked good, but he’s still working his way back into the football part of it,” Marrone said.
The Bills are still alive in the playoff hunt, but they'll need some help to make the postseason. If Spiller does play, he probably won't have a big role in his first game back, though he could take over most of the touches that Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown have been getting in the last few weeks. They have combined for 12.0 touches in the last four weeks, so we would expect that would be Spiller's ceiling with Fred Jackson continue to carry the load as the team's primary back.
Marrone did not commit to having Spiller, who has been on injured reserve with a designation to return, play in Sunday's game at the Oakland Raiders.
"I'd like to see more participation before we make that decision," he said.
Spiller returned to practice on Dec. 3 after missing six weeks with a broken collarbone. The Bills had until Dec. 24 to decide whether to place him on their 53-man roster. If Spiller plays, it would likely mean Bryce Brown loses playing time and the Bills ride with Spiller, Fred Jackson and Anthony Dixon.
Spiller’s participation today begins a 21-day practice window in which he can work with coaches and teammates and not count toward the active roster. He cannot be activated until Dec. 16th, the Tuesday after the Packers game, and would be eligible to play in games at that time. A roster move would also need to be made at that time to add Spiller to the 53-man roster.
Fred Jackson owners shouldn't worry too much about Spiller's potential return. Everything has to go right for Spiller to return in Week 16, and even then, he's likely to be limited in his first game back. Jackson is the RB1 in Buffalo for all intents and purposes.
Bills running back C.J. Spiller will be eligible to play in Week 16 after eight weeks on I.R. with an injured collarbone and coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday that the team was optimistic that Spiller will be able to return.
“We’re hoping to see C.J. to start coming back,” Marrone said, via the team’s website. “That designation is coming up.”
Spiller is eligible to resume practicing with the team on Wednesday, although Marrone didn’t say whether or not that would happen. Spiller, who has 287 yards on 69 carries this season, can become a free agent after the season, so a return to action for the end of the season could benefit him as well as the Bills. Spiller would be a very risky fantasy play for your finals in Week 16 - if he even suits up.
Friday, October 24, 2014, 6:26pm
Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 8. Jackson is expected to miss around four weeks with the groin injury. Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown are likely to split the workload with Jackson sidelined and C.J. Spiller out for most of the year. Dixon was working with the starters in practice, and should see more carries and most of the goal line work, while Brown would serve as the pass-catching speed back.
Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm
Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin) missed practice again Thursday. Jackson is expected to miss around four weeks with the groin injury. Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown are likely to split the workload with Jackson sidelined and C.J. Spiller out for most of the year. Dixon is first to work with the starters in practice, and should see more carries and most of the goal line work, while Brown would serve as the pass-catching speed back.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 6:13pm
Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin) did not practice Wednesday. Jackson is expected to miss around four weeks with the groin injury. Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown are likely to split the workload with Jackson sidelined and C.J. Spiller out for most of the year. Dixon was working with the starters in practice, and should see more carries and most of the goal line work, while Brown would serve as the pass-catching speed back.
In the portion of practice open to reporters Wednesday -- essentially just warm-up drills -- Dixon lined up with the first-team next to Kyle Orton, while Brown was paired with EJ Manuel and the second team.
That doesn't mean Dixon will receive more touches than Brown but it's further indication he's ahead of Brown on the depth chart.
This indicates that the Bills don't currently view Brown as the "starter," and that Dixon is likely to get first crack at the carries in the Buffalo backfield. The team has split carries between Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, and is likely to do so again with Dixon and Brown. We're expecting Brown to be more active than Dixon in the passing game, but Dixon may see more carries and get the goal line work. In short, it's unclear which back has more fantasy value, and it may depend on your league format (i.e. Dixon in standard, Brown in PPR).
Buscaglia added the Bills love Dixon. And it makes a lot of sense given C.J. Spiller's recent struggles and the team still not playing Brown. As we stated before, Brown may be the more talented back but is still a bit raw. On top of all of that, it's not a great matchup against the Jets.
As expected, Bills running back C.J. Spiller has been placed on injured reserve after surgery to repair a broken collarbone. As not expected, he has been given the one-per-team-per-year designation for return.
With Week 8 approaching, it means Spiller can return to game action in Week 16.
Pro Football Talk is one outlet with sources saying Spiller is out for the season. However, with Spiller on IR/Return it means he could possibly play games at Oakland Week 16 and New England Week 17, along with any playoff games if healthy. While those are both pretty nice matchups, there's not a lot of reason to carry Spiller on your roster in typical redraft leagues.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 1:39pm
The Bills needed help at running back with injuries to C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. Tanner has visited the San Francisco 49ers this year and previously worked out for the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts.
Tanner spent the last three seasons with the Cowboys and rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns, as well as nine receptions for 93 yards. He recorded 21 special teams tackles.
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