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Tampa Bay Bucs work on running back balance

TAMPA — Bucs RB Derrick Ward isn't the only one keeping tabs of his carries.

The coaching staff has been trying to find ways to get Ward involved, but Cadillac Williams' strong play and game circumstances have made it difficult to get Ward more work.

On Sunday against the Patriots in London, Ward led the Bucs with a season-high 13 carries, but they came at the expense of Williams, who appeared to be heating up with 51 yards on his first seven touches, which included a 19-yard reception. Williams finished with 11 carries for 29 yards.

It seems striking a balance between the two running backs — while facing big deficits that make running the ball difficult — continues to be a sticky issue.

"Derrick's a very valuable piece of this team, but Cadillac's a tremendous running back, too," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "It's a good problem to have. We need to have more possessions, we need to have more plays, and that'll sort itself out."

Ward finished with 48 rushing yards, with a long of 12 yards. His previous opportunities had been severely limited by circumstances and by Williams' production. Ward has averaged 7.7 carries in his six games, though he was the centerpiece of an otherwise uninspiring class of free agents and signed a $17 million contract. Because Williams has been steady and has played earlier in games — before the score tends to get out of hand — Ward has suffered.

"We'd like to (get Ward involved) but what happened is, in the previous game, we only had three series in the second half," Olson said. "(We said) 'Hey, Derrick, it's your turn.' Well, we only had two possessions, now all of a sudden, it's the fourth quarter."

TRANSACTIONS: The Bucs filled their lone open roster spot with FB Chris Pressley, signed off the Bengals' practice squad. Coach Raheem Morris said Earnest Graham would continue to start, a role he assumed after B.J. Askew was lost for the season last week after a car accident. The Bucs also signed DE Maurice Evans to the practice squad.

Tampa Bay Bucs work on running back balance 10/28/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 29, 2009 1:07am]

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