Much to the dismay of fantasy football owners, Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller was underused in former head coach Chan Gailey's offense until the second half of last season. Nothing was more aggravating than watching Spiller waste away on the sidelines every time the offense landed in the red zone, the most important 20 yards on the field.
Bills fans shouldn't have to worry about pulling out their hair in frustration under new coach Doug Marrone, who has no plans to pull his best offensive player in short-yardage, third-down or red-zone situations.
"My philosophy's always been if someone starts off and they're running well, keep feeding them the ball," Marrone said, via The Buffalo News. Asked if he shared Gailey's reservations about using Spiller in certain situations, Marrone shook his head and pointed to the running back's "great ability to get outside and also run inside."
Spiller averaged just 12.3 touches per game over the last two years under the Gailey regime. Last season, he still became the first Bills player to gain at least 1,700 yards from scrimmage since Travis Henry in 2002, accomplishing the feat on 138 fewer touches.
The 2012 Bills' per-carry average of 5.052 ranked 32nd in NFL history. They figure to continue to emphasize the run under a coach whose Syracuse offenses had more rushing than pass attempts in each of his four seasons.
Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett are installing a fast-paced, no-huddle offense designed to create more possessions and score more points. Backfield partner Fred Jackson is 32 years old and coming off a season-ending knee injury. The offensive lines of new position coach Pat Morris have blocked for the NFL's No. 1 rushing team three times in his 12 seasons.
Spiller's explosive playmaking ability jumped off the game tape as much as any back in the NFL last season. He finished first in Pro Football Focus' Elusive Rating, third in Breakaway Percentage and fourth in Forced Missed Tackles while averaging 6.0 yards per carry.
All signs point to a monster 2013 season for Spiller if he can stay healthy as Marrone's featured back.
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.