TAMPA — RB Cadillac Williams has accepted his role as the Bucs' de facto third-down back, playing primarily on third downs and in the two-minute offense.
The emergence of rookie RB LeGarrette Blount, who rushed 19 times for 91 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 31-16 win over Carolina, has pushed Williams into the shadows.
Though Williams has started all nine games, he has been used primarily in passing situations, but his 45-yard touchdown run Sunday in the fourth quarter sealed the win. He finished with five carries for 62 yards.
"Things are really starting to come together," Williams said. "LeGarrette has stepped in and done a really good job, breaking tackles, getting looks. … So it's cool.
"Me, I am a competitor. I would love to be out there and get more carries and put forth what I can do out there. But it is what it is. We're winning, we're 6-3, and it's just a pleasure to see these young guys out here playing, man, so it's cool. Whenever my number is called, I'm going to continue to do what I can do."
Williams caught two passes for 23 yards, including a 16-yarder on third and 15 just before his touchdown run. He also called his shot in the huddle.
"To be real, I stepped into the huddle and I said, 'Look, guys, I know we're just trying to run the ball. But I'm trying to score. If you guys come off the ball, I'm going to the house,' " Williams said. "They said, 'Yeah, yeah.' I said, 'Yeah, bro, for real.' I told them about two or three times."
Bucs coach Raheem Morris said Williams doesn't get enough credit for being unselfish and helping to develop Blount.
"When Cadillac goes out and doesn't have a great game running the ball and everybody wants to be down on him, it's easy to be the coach from outside the building if you don't know what's going on inside the building," Morris said. "If you don't know how much Cadillac has helped LeGarrette Blount get to this point, then you're sadly mistaken, you're making a big mistake judging that young man's character.
" … Cadillac is the ultimate character guy on our football team."
Talib accused: The fallout from the late fracas between Bucs CB Aqib Talib and Panthers WR Steve Smith apparently didn't end when the final whistle blew.
Panthers coach John Fox said Monday that QB Jimmy Clausen sustained a concussion in the game, and Fox suggested the damage might have come on the play where Smith took exception.
With Clausen attempting a sneak in the closing moments, Talib appeared to dive head-first into the large pile after Clausen's forward motion was stopped. He wasn't penalized, but Smith saw the maneuver and retaliated, drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty.
Fox didn't say whether he thought Talib should have been penalized, but he said the Panthers will ask the league office to review the tape. Given the league's recently enacted zero-tolerance policy on helmet-to-helmet hits, Talib could be assessed a fine or worse.
The league reviews all plays in every game.
Thinking of Sears: Morris said Monday that he was hoping for a positive outcome in the wake of former Bucs G Arron Sears' weekend arrest, during which he was placed in custody under the state's Baker Act. The law lets law enforcement take people into custody who are considered a danger to themselves (for more, see B section).
"My thoughts and prayers are with Arron," Morris said. "It's always sad when a former family member has something come up. But our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. … We miss him."