Playmaker: C.J. Spiller is hungry, and the Saints must continue to feed him


Playmakers on offense are usually capable of controlling the flow of the game.  Of course, the New Orleans Saints have Drew Brees to handle the tempo.  But it’s hard to deny that the All-Pro quarterback was lacking a playmaker to start the year to help power that potentially high-powered offense.

Wait, C.J. Spiller is a playmaker — he was in college and he is in the pros.  But health issues have been a concern since making his way into the NFL via Clemson in 2010.  Spiller suffered a number of setbacks in his five years with the Buffalo Bills, and he did again in New Orleans, undergoing a minor knee surgery that left him sidelined during the preseason and Week 1 of the regular season.

He made a brief appearance Week 2, but was limited to just seven total snaps.  He followed with 15 snaps the next game in Carolina, which caused head coach Sean Payton to believe he failed to utilize his star free agent acquisition in the appropriate manner.

But Payton stuck to his word when the Saints hosted the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night.  It was said Spiller would be involved in the offense more, and he was.  He was bumped to 21 snaps, which is still a bit low, but it’s understood since he spent preseason rehabbing that knee.

More from Saints News

Spiller rushed twice and finished second on the team in receptions with five.  But it was that fifth and final touch that hopefully made Saints fans, players and coaches realize why his talents were acquired in the first place.

In case you’ve been MIA for the past several days, the Saints won their first game of the season thanks to a superbly run play and a beautifully thrown pass by Drew Brees to Spiller for an 80-yard catch-and-sprint to the end zone for an overtime win.  It was reminiscent to the Darren Sproles days down on the bayou.

A man defined by upside, C.J. Spiller certainly has the potential to come in and add a tremendous boost to an already high-powered offense — he showed that in extraordinary fashion Sunday night.  While Drew Brees and company still finished atop of the NFL stat sheet a year ago, that unit was indeed missing a spark without Sproles, and it showed with a lack of unpredictability.

Now, with Jimmy Graham out of the picture, Brees and the Saints must look elsewhere for the big play-making ability, and Spiller would be a great start.

Speaking of Darren Sproles, who the Saints will face on the road in Philadelphia Sunday, C.J. Spiller mentioned how he was intrigued when he came to visit the Saints because of the way they ran their offense with Sproles, and even Reggie Bush.

“I’ve followed this offense very closely,” Spiller told New Orleans media after signing. “We tried to do some similar stuff at Buffalo early on in my career. And the way that they (Saints) use their running backs in general, it’s very intriguing if you was in my position. You’d be a fool not to take a visit there (New Orleans) and at least see how they can utilize your skill set, especially my type of skill set.”

C.J. Spiller’s skill set is indeed special.  Between speed, versatility, great hands, an ability to separate from his defenders, and the trouble he can cause in the open field, he is everything you want from a playmaker.  Drew Brees knows it.

“C.J. can do a lot of things,” Brees said during his press conference Wednesday. “It’s fun now that we have him healthy and he has a few games under his belt. Now we can see how we can incorporate him into the offense. I think the three-man punch that we have going with Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson and now C.J. really gives us a lot of elements. We’ve got a lot of confidence in all of those guys doing a lot of different things. Certainly, C.J. gives you a big play element.”

Drew Brees, C.J. Spiller and the Saints will look to build some momentum off their first win heading into Philadelphia.  Hopefully the early struggles this year on offense are in the past for New Orleans. Spiller adds that “it” factor and must continue to be involved as a big-play weapon in order for this team to find success sooner rather than later.

Next: Hau'oli Kikaha continues to impress for Saints defense