Bucs facing dilemma with RB Cadillac Williams
The Bucs are at a crossroads with Cadillac Williams. He has been ineffective as the starting tailback, rushing 76 times for 190 yards, a 2.5 yard average. But coaches trust him to protect franchise quarterback Josh Freeman, who has been blitzed repeatedly during the first five games this season.
To make matters worse, the Bucs lost backup tailback Kareem Huggins for the season when he tore his ACL in the third quarter of the Bucs' 31-6 loss to the New Orleans Saints Sunday.
"There's no doubt about it. Cadillac is an emotional leader on our football team,'' coach Raheem Morris said. "And he goes out there and he does a lot of great things as far as what we ask him to do. Can we get some better play out of some of the younger players in different situations? I agree, so you can write that and put that down. But I don't want to say the loyalty it clouds your judgement because it's not that. It's that you know what he's going to give you, you know what he's going to bring to you, you know he's going to protect your quarterback. It's more about protecting No. 5 (Freeman) than anything else.''
The Bucs plan to get LeGarrette Blount and Kregg Lumpkin more involved this week in practice, especially with the injury to Huggins. Lumpkin could even see some dual responsibilities at fullback after starter Earnest Graham aggravated a hamstring injury Sunday and was forced to leave the game.
"We were going to play the other guy, Kareem Huggins. We wanted someone to prove they're better than Cadillac Williams,'' offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "We didn't see it in training camp. Obviously, some of those guys we picked up late. And we don't go full go in practice. We still feel comfortable with Cadillac.
"We can go back and look at the carries yesterday and certainly throughout the season. We're not happy where we are in the run game. To pin it all on Cadillac Williams is a major mistake...I think Cadillac is still Cadillac Williams.''
According to Olson, the Bucs have had difficulty running against eight-man fronts. He said that won't change until Freeman can consistently make teams play by connecting on passes down the field. On Sunday, Freeman completed 25-of-43 passes for 219 yards with one touchdown.
"We've got to do a better job of coaching, of blocking the eight-man front,'' Olson said. "We've seen a lot of eight-man fronts, we saw a ton of blitzing yesterday, all-out blitzes two weeks in a row, which obviously makes it difficult to run. Until you start beating it with some of the deep throws down the field, you're going to continue to get the eight man fronts.''