BBD Staff Writer: Glenn Gifford
In a two-part (Part 1 | Part 2) sit-down interview with Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, BuffaloBills.com reporter Chris Brown asked Coach Hackett several questions about the Bills new offense. The answers Hackett gave speak volumes as to the expectations of this coaching staff.
What jumped out from this interview was Hackett’s flexibility with regards to the offensive system he wants to run in Buffalo.
Hackett told Brown that there will be a “competition among everyone,” and that his offense will be predicated around getting the team’s best skill-position players on the field, regardless of the positions they play.
“Who are the best five skill players that we have?” Hackett said. “And I think that it is my job to take those five best players and put those guys out there a whole bunch and be very multiple with them.
“So if it is a lot of wide receivers, then you might have a lot of wide receivers. If it’s more tight ends, more running backs, whichever one dominates and does a better job on the field, that’s who we want out there. So I think it just kind of depends on who excels through training camp.”
What we are left to do now is consider who Buffalo’s top five offensive talents are, because we can expect those five players to receive consistent playing time this season.
I am going to include the quarterback position in this discussion. Some would argue that every team has a quarterback and that this position is not tied to a particular scheme, but this position still counts as a skill position.
The following are my choices as the Bills’ top five skill-position players.
1. C.J. Spiller, RB
I do not pretend to speak for all Bills fans, but I think it is safe to say that C.J. Spiller is a complete weapon on offense. He is clearly the most dynamic and explosive player on the Bills offense, and I am looking forward to an offense that will exploit his talent regularly.
Hackett mentions in the interview when talking about Spiller, wide receiver Stevie Johnson and running back Fred Jackson that his offensive system “will get them the ball a lot.” What a refreshing thought!
Hackett is in favor of giving the Bills’ greatest talent the ball. I’m all-in for this move. Spiller is capable of handling the increased work load. Bills fans should be excited about the prognosis of an increase in the amount of Spiller that they see next year.
2. Stevie Johnson, WR
With three consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more receiving yards, Stevie Johnson is an obvious choice for this list. Johnson has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dull and predictable offense.
What I like best about Stevie is his consistency. He has been able to maintain consistent and respectable numbers in the face of mediocre quarterback play.
Bills fans should be excited about Johnson’s upcoming season. He will get a shot in the arm at the quarterback position, regardless of who the starter is. He will also be playing in an up-tempo offense which will most likely result in a few more plays from scrimmage. He also has more weapons at other wide receiver positions (T.J. Graham, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Da’Rick Rogers) to draw coverages away from him than in previous years.
Look for Stevie Johnson to put up career numbers this year.