The Buffalo Bills are shaping up to have the deepest stable of running backs in the NFL. That's great in the event of injury, but it's a nightmare in the making when it comes to keeping players happy.
Dixon gained 28 yards on nine rushes in Friday's win over the Carolina Panthers, including a one-yard touchdown plunge in the goalline situations that have thwarted the Bills on many occasions in recent years. And Brown gained 64 yards on 11 carries – a 5.8 average yards per carry – and looked far more explosive than anyone else on the field for most of the game.
Together, he and Dixon provide a thunder-and-lightning feel to the backfield that could give the offense some good balance – assuming they see the field. Coach Doug Marrone has said he would prefer to only use two running backs in any given game, meaning neither backup would be likely to play much. Given the group's performance, they deserve a shot at the rotation.
They deserve it that much more when Buffalo's passing situation is taken into account. EJ Manuel was better Friday – 9-of-13 for 96 yards – but those still aren't stellar numbers. If he still lacks that deep-ball capability like he did last year, then the running game will be counted upon to an even great degree. When you consider that one of the Bills' running backs is the oldest running back in the NFL (Jackson is 33), you have to figure that he is going to wear down at some point over the course of 16 games.
And that doesn't even take into account Spiller's inability to stay healthy. He had yet to make it through a 16-game season.
All of these point toward splitting up carries a bit more once the regular season hits. Having so many options, of course, is a good problem to have, but hopefully Marrone will figure out a way to incorporate everyone in.
The Bills are back at practice at training camp at 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. They then begin a week of work in Pennsylvania leading up to next weekend's game at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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