The reality of playing with a rookie quarterback is hitting C.J. Spiller like a charging linebacker.
The Buffalo Bills running back missed the second half of Sunday's 27-20 loss to the New York Jets because of a knee injury, but he was confident Monday about playing this weekend, per The Buffalo News.
What bothered Spiller was the defensive fronts he's been facing this season.
"They pretty much put a lot of people in the box and dared our passing game to beat them," Spiller said, suggesting things won't get easier until EJ Manuel consistently connects on downfield throws, per The News.
Last season, Spiller averaged 6 yards per carry. This season, against stacked boxes, he's averaging just 3.6 yards per rush. On Sunday, he had 10 carries for 9 yards before exiting. After watching film, Spiller said it was "one of those games where I could have got like, one or two yards."
Manuel has struggled through three weeks with his accuracy on deep passes. Week 3 underscored those difficulties as the Jets suffocated the run and dared Manuel to beat their secondary.
The always optimistic Spiller said he has "confidence" that the rookie quarterback is progressing but, until Manuel makes defenses pay with deep passes, defenses will continue to stack the box.
"I mean, that's gonna be the model," Spiller said. "If I'm a defensive coordinator, that'd be my biggest thing too, is to stop our run and pretty much make our rookie quarterback beat us."