Buffalo Bills fans wanting running back C.J. Spiller to get more touches should get their wish Thursday against the Miami Dolphins.
That good news comes with a price, though.
“It looks like Fred [Jackson] is going to be out this week,” coach Chan Gailey said Monday. “Tests [Monday] morning were not as good as we had hoped and he had hoped, so he won’t play this week.”
Gailey confirmed Jackson suffered a concussion Sunday against the New England Patriots on a fourth-quarter hit by linebacker Brandon Spikes.
That leaves Spiller in the role of feature back for the game that sold out Monday in time for the local television blackout to be lifted and will air in Western New York on WBBZ-TV and nationally on the NFL Network.
“This is familiar territory to me. I’m not worried about how many times I touch it. Like I said [Sunday], from here on out, I’m just worried about wins,” Spiller said. “Everybody’s concerned about ‘Can he touch it 25 times?’ But at the end of the day if I do that and we lose, that means nothing. I’m just trying to help my team win so we can experience what it feels like to play in the playoffs.”
Spiller has shined in the feature role before. He rushed for 392 yards and three touchdowns in the first two weeks of the season with Jackson out of the lineup because of a knee injury. Last year, with Jackson out because of a broken leg, Spiller rushed for 446 yards and scored five total touchdowns over the final six games of the season.
“He did it last year. He can do that. That’s not an issue,” Gailey said of getting the workload of a feature back. “If he needs to run it 20, 25 times a game for us to win, 30 times a game for us to win, that’s what we’ll do. … We don’t think he’s a fragile player or anything like that. We think he’s a strong player that can go carry it as many times as we need to carry it to win.”
Spiller, who suffered a shoulder injury in Week Three against the Browns, proclaimed himself 100 percent healthy.
“I’m ready to rock and roll,” he said. “I don’t doubt myself at all. I know I can do it [handle an increased work load]. I did it in college. I’m not concerned about ‘Will he get overworked?’ That’s why I put in all the hard work in the offseason.”
Spiller finished with 121 yards from scrimmage in Sunday’s loss against New England on 13 total touches. He’s averaging 7.3 yards per carry, so it’s obvious who the Dolphins will be keying on Thursday.
“These guys are going to be ready for me. They’re definitely going to have a lot of eyes watching me,” he said. “But I think if we have a great week, starting with [Monday] night and leading up to Thursday, we’ll be fine. I know my offensive line, they’re excited. We’re excited, we put up 480-something yards  against a great team [Sunday] and came up short. We know that we can make plays, we’ve just got to find a way to make that extra one.”
“We give the tailback a lot of opportunities in our offense,” Gailey said. “He’s a dynamic player to say the least. He’ll get a lot of chances this week, for sure.
“You have to make certain adjustments in a short week, but the good thing is we haven’t depended on having them both in the game for the majority of our game plan at any one time, so we’ve got enough that we can go into a game without Fred and have enough to keep people off balance.”
Defensive end Mark Anderson had another surgical procedure performed last week on his injured left knee and will miss an additional 2-3 weeks according to Gailey.
Fellow defensive end Chris Kelsay, who injured his neck in practice last week, has a “50-50” chance of playing Thursday, the coach said.
“It depends on how much he develops and gains confidence as the week progresses,” Gailey said. “It’s complicated by [the short week.] We’re not going to do much hitting at all. It’s really how he feels. We’ll put him through some simulated things without actually practicing on the field.
The Bills re-signed safety Delano Howell to their practice squad. He had been on the 53-man roster until Friday, when the team released him and promoted safety Mana Silva to the active roster.