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Spiller takes Jackson's vent in stride

C.J. Spiller understands Fred Jackson's frustration and isn't upset with the comment the veteran running back made this week. It's competition, and both want to be on the field.

"Who wouldn't want to be a No. 1 back? The big thing is that everyone is making a big deal about it," Spiller said. "The thing about me and Fred is that we're pushing each other to get better. Whoever they go with, the other person has to be right there helping make sure he gets his job done."

Jackson met with running backs coach Curtis Modkins on Tuesday and was informed he would start the Bills' third preseason game against Jacksonville on Saturday. Spiller started last week's game at Denver although Jackson wasn't on the sidelines for long and was in on the second play from scrimmage.

Jackson said he wasn't happy with the lack of first-team reps he's received in practice recently, nor his contract which leaves him as the 23rd-highest paid player on the team, and 40th in the league among running backs.

Meanwhile, Spiller has yet to live up to the Ruthian expectations that he carried with him as one of college football's preeminent home run hitters at Clemson, and the Bills need him to do what he was drafted for: Become a playmaker and score touchdowns.

Jackson is consistent and that's why he's so upset he isn't the No. 1 back. Spiller has only dropped hints. In his rookie season after being selected ninth overall in the 2010 draft, Spiller averaged 3.8 yards per carry and 6.5 yards per reception. The Bills need more and Spiller said he's learning from Jackson, who he considers a friend.

"I'm coming out here every day trying to get better," said Spiller, who rushed for 283 yards as a rookie. "This is my second year and I feel like I'm making improvements. Fred doesn't have to prove himself. Fred has nothing else he needs to prove. I'm just a guy trying to learn off what he has done. Whoever it is, that's what we'll go with. The other guy just has to be ready. This is a business and everybody handles it professionally. Fred has been in the league and he's a professional. I don't have any doubts that he's going to come in here as a professional."

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The Bills signed free agent inside linebacker Kirk Morrison, a third-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2005, which could be an indication that Reggie Torbor might be out of the lineup for a while.

Torbor, who has an undisclosed injury, hasn't practiced the last two days and the Bills might be bringing in Morrison, who played with the Raiders until 2009, as insurance. Morrison played for Jacksonville last season.

* * *

No. 83 was spotted on the field Wednesday and, no, it wasn't Lee Evans. It was free agent wide receiver Ruvell Martin, who was issued No. 83.

Martin has totaled 65 receptions for 1,006 yards and seven touchdowns in 53 games with nine starts since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent with San Diego in 2004.

Martin spent the 2005-08 seasons with Green Bay before joining St. Louis in 2009 and spent a portion of the 2010 season with Seattle.

"Probably the most difficult part for me is going to be picking up the offense," Martin said. "I've changed a couple teams the last couple of years and for the most part they've been pretty similar. And this one's a little different. It's been awhile since I've had to get my nose in the playbook but I'm definitely going to be doing that so I know what to do. Other than that, football is football."

Bills coach Chan Gailey said Martin will play a limited role against Jacksonville.

"Maybe get him in late, some special teams, just to see and let him get on the field," Gailey said. "We'd like to see if he can learn enough to get there. The good thing is that we are in somewhat of a game-plan situation. He only has to learn a limited amount. He doesn't have to learn the whole thing."

email: rmckissic@buffnews.com