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September 7, 2009 @ 12:01 pm
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Bucs Name Cadillac Williams Starting RB

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Expect all three of Tampa Bay's primary running backs to carry the ball this season, but against the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday's season opener, Cadillac Williams gets the starting nod over Derrick Ward and Earnest Graham. Williams makes his triumphant return from a season-ending knee injury against Oakland in 2008.
The Buccaneers released their first official depth chart for the 2009 regular season on Monday, and running back Cadillac Williams has been named the starting halfback ahead of high-profile free agent signee Derrick Ward, who is the backup, and incumbent starter Earnest Graham, who is listed as the third-team running back ahead of Clifton Smith.

After nine months, Williams has made a triumphant return from a torn patellar tendon injury suffered in the 2008 season finale against Oakland to reclaim the starting role at halfback. Playing in just one preseason game, Williams rushed fro 54 yards on eight carries (6.8 avg.) against Miami on August 27, including a 19-yarder.

Williams, the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year five years ago when he rushed for 1,178 yards and six touchdowns to help lead the Buccaeners to the NFC South championship. After rushing for 798 yards in 14 games during the 2006 season, his last two years have been injury-marred affairs as he wound up on injured reserve with a torn patellar tendon injury in each knee during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

Ward, who rushed for 1,025 yards on 182 carries (5.6 avg.) last year with the Giants, finished the preseason with 52 yards on 13 carries (4.0 avg.), including a 27-yarder, while Graham also produced a 27-yard run in rushing for 40 yards in nine carries (4.4 avg.).

In other depth chart news, rookie Sammie Stroughter is listed ahead of Brian Clark as Antonio Bryant's backup at split end, while Maurice Stovall is listed as Michael Clayton's backup at flanker.

The Bucs official depth chart can be viewed right here.
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