Backfield of Williams and Graham shine as Ward misses OTAs with dental problem
Cadillac Williams has not missed a day of work in the off-season, his first not having to recover from a devastating knee injury since 2007.
The same cannot be said for running back Derrick Ward, who is not attending Organized Team Activities this week because of a 'dental issue.'
Ward, 29, missed the first voluntary OTA two weeks ago. He said he was frustrated by the team's 3-13 record and not by backing up Williams. He rushed for just 409 yards on 114 carries (3.6 average).
"With Derrick, it would be nice if he were here,'' offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "It's not mandatory and he's not here right now -- for legitimate reasons. He's seeing a dentist this week and taking care of some issues there. But it's hard and you want to reward the guys who are here. They want to be here and be part of the solution.
"It's good that we've got them here, the guys that are here, we're real happy with. You'd like to have 100 percent participation, but that's not the case nowadays. Again, there's legitimate reasons for why guys aren't here.''
Earnest Graham is working mostly as the Bucs' starting fullback. Olson said Kareen Huggins also has been making some plays in practice.
"I love blocking for Cadillac, I truly, truly, do. For me, it's about winning,'' Graham said. "Right now I'm starting at fullback.
"I'm shooting to be a Pro Bowl fullback. I really believe every time I catch the ball in the flat, it can be a first down. I feel I can break those tackles. Those are the things I'm looking forward to. I believe I can catch 50 or 60 passes once Josh (Freeman) gets really comfortable with me. I think I can do some damage.''