Having signed a two-year, $9 million contract extension this offseason, Jackson has both the respect he’s long desired from the Bills, and also the drive to show last year was no fluke.
“I want to show that I belong as a 31-year-old running back,” Jackson said. “I want to go out and show why they showed faith in me, and why they kept me around.”
Spiller has something to prove as well. He’s eager to show he can build off what he did in showing flashes of his potential in filling in for Jackson over the final six games last season. Enjoying his most playing time since arriving in Buffalo, Spiller averaged 74 yards per game and scored five times, including two touchdowns receiving.
It was enough for him to finally feel like a true contributor after managing just 283 yards on 74 carries in 14 games as a rookie.
“I never lost confidence in myself. I think the fans were more concerned about it,” Spiller said, referring to questions about his initial lack of playing time. “But I don’t think anybody in the organization was worried about my abilities. It was just that we had a guy playing a Pro Bowl level. And when you have that then coach Gailey obviously kept with him.”
Jackson is more of a straight-ahead runner, who’s capable of pounding out yards against opposing defenses. Spiller is smaller, and more elusive, relying on his breakaway speed to beat opponents.
Their one-two punch has been on display in training camp, ever since the Bills began practicing in pads last weekend.
On Wednesday night, Jackson punched his way through a hole on the right side. A few plays later, Spiller went left, and found a crease for what would’ve been a big gain.