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Buffalo Bills try for Fred Jackson-C.J. Spiller balance


The Buffalo Bills have tried to find the perfect balance between their running backs since C.J. Spiller was drafted No. 9 overall in 2010. Fred Jackson's presence seemed to keep Spiller from progressing, but Jackson rushed for 1,000 yards in 2009 and just missed that benchmark in 2010 and 2011. He missed six games in 2011.

Spiller, however, thrived after Jackson injured his knee in this season's opener and missed the next two weeks. He put up 292 rushing yards in the first two weeks.

Now, Jackson is back, and the balancing act continues. Bills coach Chan Gailey hit it perfectly in Sunday's 35-34 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The two combined for 222 yards on 35 touches.

"It was good. I'm not sure if ideal ever hits," Gailey told The Buffalo News. "First of all, nothing is ideal unless you win. There were some opportunities we had to score more points, so it wasn't ideal, but for them to touch it 35 times between them and about four, five other times we tried to get the ball to Fred on some thows and did not connect on them.

"If we can let them touch it between 30 and 40 times a game, I think that's pretty good four us."

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That's quite a committment to two backs when quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has quietly thrown 15 touchdown passes, third-most in the NFL. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson deserves his chances, too.

That's the dilemma for Gailey -- managing two backs who have shown the ability to be the clear-cut No. 1.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.


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