TAMPA — At a time when the Bucs offense seems incapable of consistency, RB Cadillac Williams is emerging as perhaps the unit's most reliable weapon.
It's arguable that no one else has shown up week to week for the offense — quarterbacks have been unreliable, receivers have not been open consistently and fellow RBs Earnest Graham and Derrick Ward have missed games with injuries.
Williams had 99 total yards Sunday against the Redskins, averaging 4.95 yards per touch on 16 carries and four receptions.
But he was more focused on why the offense couldn't convert enough to win a game in which the defense had its best performance. Whether Williams intended it or not, his comments seemed to call for others to step up.
"The defense played too good as a whole for us not to reward them," he said. "We talk about being a good offense, but to me, it's just time to (end) the talking. It's time to see production. The talent is there; the coaches are preparing us. We just need to self-evaluate and just man up. That's basically what it comes down to."
For the most part, Williams has done that. He earned the starting role to begin the season only nine months after sustaining a torn patellar tendon in his left knee, his second such injury in as many seasons.
Still, he runs with authority, proving difficult to tackle. The consistency is evident: He is averaging 5 yards a carry. In his five-year career, he never has averaged more than 4.1.
But when will he get help?
"To me, our offense being 2-of-13 on third down, man, that's not good," he said. "We have to find a way to get better. We have to find a way to man up. … I feel like our offense, we need to bring it."
Jackson returns: S Tanard Jackson's four-game league suspension ended Monday, but the Bucs aren't committing to a specific role for him yet.
Because Jackson could not practice with the team or work out at its facility during his suspension, coaches must evaluate him before deciding whether the two-year starter can help.
"I haven't seen Tanard in four weeks," coach Raheem Morris said. "We have to get him back in the building, let him practice. To be fair to Will Allen, to be fair to Sabby (Piscitelli), to be fair to Tanard. You have to find out what Tanard is, what he can do and what he can't do."
Jackson's loss was a severe blow to the secondary. The safety position was dealt another setback when Jermaine Phillips (broken thumb) was lost for the season. Jackson has three interceptions, 19 deflections and three forced fumbles in his two seasons. In 2008, he ranked fourth on the team with 102 tackles.
Not yet: C Jeff Faine said he expects to miss Sunday's game at Philadelphia, though he feels ready to return from a triceps injury suffered in Week 1. Faine, who has missed the past four games, has targeted the Oct. 18 home game against Carolina for his comeback. Though he has improved, Faine said team doctors told him to give the injury more time to avoid a setback.