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I would say that the Chan Gailey era was a dark time for Buffalo, but really, after Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey, and Dick Jauron, I guess darkness is relative. Doug Marrone, former Syracuse head coach and, more importantly, former Saints offensive coordinator, is the latest attempt at a worthy carrier of Marv Levy’s torch, and so far, Bills fans at least have to be pleased that the sins of the previous regime are slowly being purged.
In March, the Bills released quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, he of the six-year, $59 million contract signed less than two years earlier. With their first pick in April’s draft, Buffalo drafted the man they hope to be their answer at that position — Florida State’s E.J. Manuel. And about a month ago, 40-year-old Doug Whaley replaced Buddy Nix — the man responsible for Fitzpatrick’s payday — as the team’s general manager.
But if Fitzpatrick is the most brutal crime committed by old management, C.J. Spiller is the black mark of the old coaching staff. Spiller, taken ninth overall in the 2010 draft out of Clemson, was used as a situational player for his season and a half in Buffalo. A punt returner in both 2010 and 2011, Spiller didn’t hit double-digit carries until a Week 10 injury to starting running back Fred Jackson gave Spiller the nod for the rest of the season. Spiller did well enough with the work — averaging 5.19 yards per carry over the final six games — to earn the 1a role in Buffalo’s two-man running game heading into last season. What followed was enough to drive Bills fans completely insane.
Each week, the Fantasy Island contestants will submit a preview for each of that weekend's games. The best preview from each game will be selected and combined with the others into one comprehensive guide, and points are awarded based on how many individual previews from each writer are selected. Get it? OK. We sorta do, too.
Each week, the Fantasy Island contestants will submit a preview for each of that weekend's games. The best preview from each game will be selected and combined with the others into one comprehensive guide, where points are awarded based on how many individual previews from each writer are selected. Get it? OK. We sorta do too.
Buccaneers at Cowboys
The Bucs are legit. They fell victim to a little Eli magic this Sunday, but I think we all know Tony Romo is about as magical as David Blaine. (Sorry, buddy. Standing in an ice cave for two days isn't magic.) The 'Boys haven't been able to stop anyone, so I like Doug Martin a lot this week; I think he finishes as a top-10 RB. Vinnie Jackson is always a boom-or-bust play, but an interesting sleeper in this game is Dallas Clark. America's Team of 1992 has given up TDs to TEs (that's a weird phrase) in two straight weeks, and Clark is better than either Martellus Bennett or Anthony McCoy (my apologies to the McCoy family, who may be the only people who knew who Anthony was before this week).
The home team's offensive possessions in Sunday's Bills-Chiefs game saw two units traveling in opposite directions. On one side was Bills running back C.J. Spiller, the speed demon from Clemson who has emerged as a surprise superstar during the first two weeks of this young NFL season. Opposite him was a Chiefs defense that had just allowed 40 points to the Falcons and was about to get 35 more put on them by Spiller and his teammates. Spiller produced his second monstrous performance in as many weeks, running for 123 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries while adding in 47 more yards on three receptions.
Whenever a big game like this happens for a back, it's always a combination of effective offense and ineffective defense, but the important thing is figuring out which side contributed more to the effort and why. In this case, we want to figure out how the Bills are using Spiller, what they did to prevent the Chiefs from getting near him, and whether the Chiefs can do anything about it in future weeks. Let's try to figure out if C.J. Spiller and the Chiefs' porous defense are each for real.