Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson was an unlikely producer in 2013, putting up one of his best seasons ever at age 32. Jackson believes he can continue sustaining his production and wants to play three or four more years in the league.
At an age when most of his peers are either retired or in severe decline, Jackson found a second wind. He rushed for 896 yards on 207 carries and nine touchdowns, good for 4.3 yards per carry. He credits the timeshare with C.J. Spiller for keeping his legs fresh, believing that will keep his career alive a few more years.
The Bills entered the season planning to utilize Spiller as the feature back, but injuries derailed that plan. Spiller suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 4 and re-injured it in Week 7, severely limiting his speed and durability. Jackson ended up playing 663 offensive snaps on the season, compared to just 389 for Spiller. The injury wasn't the only factor — Bills coach Doug Marrone trusted Jackson more on third downs and pass protection, an important factor given the Bills' struggles at quarterback this season.
Spiller still had a fine season, recording 927 rushing yards on 201 carries and getting 4.6 yards per carry despite the injuries, but it wasn't quite the breakout year the Bills were hoping for. With Jackson turning 33 next month and entering the final year of his contract, look for the Bills to try committing to Spiller again as the main back. Ironically, a reduced workload could indeed help Jackson reach his goal of lasting three or four more years in the league.