Will the New Orleans Saints see ‘the real C.J. Spiller’ in 2016?
The New Orleans Saints signed C.J. Spiller in 2015 with the idea of installing a new pass-catching weapon out of the backfield to fill the void left by Darren Sproles the season prior, but things haven’t worked out so well. In fact, things haven’t worked out at all.
C.J. Spiller‘s absent campaign began with a preseason knee scope surgery. He was able to return by Week 2, as the New Orleans Saints steadily increased his role.
He broke out of his shell by Week 4, tallying 99 yards on five catches, including a game-winning 80-yard touchdown reception in overtime against the Dallas Cowboys.
The one play had fans and media drooling over Spiller’s ceiling as a consistent variable in the New Orleans Saints’ high-powered passing attack. But it would all end there. The knee issue, not just the success of Mark Ingram, seemed to be the contributing factor to Spiller’s letdown season, where he would tally just 70 total touches between runs and catches for only 351 yards and two scores.
By Week 16, Spiller would find himself on season-ending injury reserve, and the term “bust” began to emerge, as he was considered by many to be just another one of the organization’s failures in free agency.
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Knee injuries can be disastrous for a player’s season, and often times for their career, especially for somebody like C.J. Spiller, whose NFL campaign has been highlighted by setbacks in the health category.
With three years left to go on his current contract with the New Orleans Saints and a full offseason to make a full recovery, Spiller still has a lot to prove before we can for certain label him a bust.
We’re talking about a very special athlete here, and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis will back that up. “We’ll see the real C.J. Spiller this season,” Loomis said in a Tuesday evening interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “He’s a special player when he’s right.”
I’d say I have to agree with Loomis. When healthy, Spiller can be one of the most dangerous threats in the National Football League. He proved it during his 2012 Pro Bowl campaign for the Buffalo Bills, where he totaled 1,244 yards and six touchdowns on just 207 carries (6 yard average), while adding another 42 receptions for 459 yards and two touchdowns.
If the New Orleans Saints can get that kind of production from Spiller, the sky’s the limit on offense, though, it still is as long as Drew Brees is under center down on the bayou, which he will be for the foreseeable future, according to Loomis.
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So, will the Saints in fact see ‘the real C.J. Spiller’ in 2016? This assumption, for now, is based solely on potential. The former first-round draft pick has a lot to prove with his new team down on the bayou, but hopes seem to be high within the organization, and for good reason.