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Spiller struggling to show he’s ready to start

C.J. Spiller, Von Miller, Cassius Vaughn, D.J. Williams

Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller (28) is tackled by Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (58), Denver Broncos cornerback Cassius Vaughn (41) and Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams (55) in the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

AP

C.J. Spiller entered this training camp ready to put his sluggish rookie season behind him.

The Bills apparently have liked what they’ve seen. Tim Graham of the Buffalo News made this surprising statement before Saturday’s preseason game:

“Hearing more and more Bills top RB job is C.J. Spiller’s to lose, not Fred Jackson’s,” Graham wrote.

That notion was supported on Saturday night, when Spiller started over Jackson, Buffalo’s most versatile and unappreciated offensive player for years. Jackson has 2,575 yards from scrimmage the last two seasons.

It’s clear the Bills have high hopes for Spiller, but he hasn’t shown the consistency in games yet. Spiller ran six times for 10 yards on Saturday night against Denver. He caught two passes for 11 yards.

“I thought C.J. did a couple of nice things there,” said coach Chan Gailey. “He hit some runs, hit some creases. He ran up in there. He held onto the ball. . . . We wanted to look at him tonight to see where he’s made progress and I thought he did make progress. That was a positive.”

This is how BuffaloBills.com worded it:

“Spiller’s first three carries went for 19 yards. He also had a couple of receptions for 11 yards.”

They completely decided to omit the glaring fact Spiller’s next three carries went for -9 yards. Fred Jackson, who avoids negative plays, rushed four times for 34 yards. Spiller has 13 yards on eight preseason carries.

We understand the Bills want Spiller to be a huge factor. Perhaps he will be.

He still has a long way to go to prove he’s a better player than Fred Jackson.