TORONTO - Fred Jackson keeps defying expectations, and now, he wants a new contract.
Jackson has unexpectedly taken over Buffalo’s starting running back job the past two seasons — over the more heralded Marshawn Lynch and C.J. Spiller — and is off to a great start this season.
Jackson leads the league with 229 yards on the ground after rushing for 1,062 yards in 2009 and 927 last season.
This week, whispers suggested the Bills were thinking about an extension for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. But what about Jackson, the heart of the offence?
“We’ve approached them, and it’s not gone the way we would’ve liked it to,” Jackson said. “I’m annoyed by it. I’ve been playing at a high level for three straight years now. I would like something to be done about it this year. I want something done that’s fair for myself and the team.”
Teams don’t always treat running backs fairly because there are so many out there, but given Jackson’s importance to the Bills, perhaps they should make him happy.
Jackson’s agent and the Bills are not believed to have discussed an extension. He is making $1.75 million US this season and is slated to earn $1.83 million next year, the final season of his deal.
QB A GOOD FITZ FOR THE BILLS
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been getting a lot of praise so far for leading the Bills to a stunning 2-0 start. You can bet he’s more excited to get props from a future Hall of Famer, though, than from fans and the media.
Kurt Warner weighed in this week on the veteran who finally earned his first Day 1 starting assignment this season.
“I love the way (Fitzpatrick) is playing right now. He reminds me a lot of me,” Warner told NFL.com. “He’s a gunslinger, he’s a guy who attacks you, throws the ball down the field. Unfortunately, I think there’s going to be times this year where he takes a few too many chances and has one of those games with three or four interceptions. But right now, he’s making all the plays for this team. He’s been extremely impressive and exactly what that young team needs.”
Fitzpatrick is tied for the league lead with seven passing touchdowns.
It would help Fitzpatrick out quite a bit if C.J. Spiller could start living up, at least a bit, to those Marshall Faulk comparisons that have been lobbed at him for years.
Faulk, of course, teamed with Warner in St. Louis as the key cogs of one of the best offences the NFL has ever seen.
FEWELL-ING THE FIRE
New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell isn’t making it clear if he has told his players to fake injuries in order to slow down offences.
Video evidence shows a couple of Giants clearly faked injuries during Monday night’s win over St. Louis.
Bryan Kehl of the Rams, a former Giant, said Fewell coaches players to, how can we say this politely ... act like some soccer players.
“Perry Fewell coaches that,” Kehl told ESPN radio.
“I can’t say I’ve ever done that and I can’t say that I haven’t done that,” responded Fewell on Thursday.
“I know that (Giants safety Deon Grant) was down and I was glad that he got up, and he was able to play. If the guy can’t play to his full potential and he was hurt, then he was hurt. But I can’t say I did and I can’t say I’ve never done that. So I’m not gonna go back and forth about it.”
Grant defended his defensive coordinator.
“That’s a lie,” Grant said of Kehl’s comments. “Perry never said that a day in his meetings since I’ve been here. And Kehl’s been here as long as I have with Perry Fewell.”
The plot thickens.
TEBOW GLAD TO BE OF HELP
Sick of all the Tim Tebow talk yet?
If so, sorry, but most people can’t seem to get enough of the Denver sophomore’s status.
Tebow was forced to line up as a receiver last weekend when the Broncos lost what few remaining wide receiver/tight end options they had left following a run of misfortune.
Coach John Fox insisted afterwards that Tebow is a quarterback and Tebow says the same thing, though he’s fine with playing wherever he is needed.
Still, Tebow knows what his preference is.
“I want to be a quarterback. I believe I can be. I believe I will be. And I’ve just got to keep working at that,” he said. “But if I can help the team in another way, that’s what I’m here for.”
Tebow said he isn’t sure why he is criticized for being versatile.
“Some people would look at it as a negative, but I don’t. I say if I’m blessed to be able to do that, and I have an opportunity to do that, I don’t look at it as a bad thing,” he said.
Tebow, the third-string signal-caller at this point behind Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn, did not get a pass thrown his way, but the Broncos didn’t rule out it happening in the future
THERE'S A HOLE IN THE LINE
Though Matthew Stafford and the 2-0 Detroit Lions are off to a great start, the offensive line is feeling a bit of heat.
Stafford has already passed for 599 yards and seven touchdowns this season and has not been sacked (the Lions are the only team to not allow a sack, yet), but trouble looms, says Mark Schlereth. The former offensive lineman said on ESPN’s NFL Live that Detroit left tackle Jeff Backus, in particular, needs to pick up his game.
“Don’t let stats get in the way of facts — don’t let them get in the way of your eyeballs,” Schlereth said. “There still are some concerns with this team when it comes to pass protection, and I have concerns about their left tackle.”
In Detroit’s 48-3 blowout of Kansas City, Backus was matched up against Chiefs superstar Tamba Hali and the result was ugly. Though Hali didn’t get a sack, he constantly got licks in on Stafford as he was releasing the ball.
Stafford has been able to play through the pounding, but will face another test against Minnesota on Sunday. Backus might not play due to assorted injuries.