Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson breaks down the Bucs running game and suggests that backup RB Kareem Huggins immediately start to split the carries with Cadillac Williams.
Jeff Carlson is a regular contributor to PewterReport.com. In his regular columns, Carlson will share expert analysis and insight regarding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL based on his previous playing experience with the Bucs and in the league.Carlson played quarterback in the NFL from 1990-92. He spent two seasons (1990-91) with the Bucs and one season (1992) with the New England Patriots. The former Weber State signal caller originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick with the Los Angeles Rams.Since his NFL playing career ended, Carlson has remained active and busy in the Tampa Bay area by heading up America's Best Quarterback, which is a clinic that trains quarterbacks privately or in groups in Tampa year round. To inquire about America's Best Quarterback, visit AmericasBestQB.com, e-mail
or call 813-789-9255.In addition to his work with Americas Best Quarterback, Carlson is a regular host on Bright House Sports Network, which is PewterReport.com's television partner.By Jeff Carlson as told to Pewter Report Editor-in-Chief Charlie Campbell.
The issues with the Buccaneers running game are pretty basic. Running back Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams is a serviceable strong runner, but without the flash ard, but when he gets a seven-yard gain it is like ‘wow that is really good. That was a great run, 7 yards!’
I think one of the things that was disappointing in Cadillac as the fifth pick in the draft was I thought we were getting a guy that was super quick. That was the way Jon Gruden talked about him. Maybe that was my misperception, but it felt like he was being sold as a guy that had burst. He’s turned out to be more of a strong runner as opposed to a quick big-play runner. I think that’s exactly what he is.
Immediately I would start splitting his carries with Kareem Huggins once Huggins is healthy. I’d like to see what they could come up with Huggins. Sometimes teams go with the thought that you have to give a back a number of carries to wear down the defense and in the fourth quarter they get stronger and hits the crease because the defense is worn down and all of sudden they start to break bigger plays. I’d like to say Huggins get an opportunity early in the game, and split it up evenly. If Cadillac is the first down back to run straight ahead to set up second-and-7, then you put in Huggins as a change of pace. Throw him some screen passes, or do sweeps and tosses for him to see if he can get the first down or make third down shorter than what they’ve been facing.
With Cadillac I think you’ll see a lot three-yard gains with a few four-yard gains, and probably not a lot of negative gains. But overall that will be setting the Bucs up for a lot of third downs of six-to-nine yards. That will force a lot of good play-calling on first and second down just to get into some good third-down situations. I thought offensive coordinator Greg Olson did a pretty good job of play-calling this past week to try and get out of those situations with some play-action passing and stuff like that.
Right now they are running a lot of straight base run plays and I don’t think with Cadillac’s ability they can make any extended runs that are going to make it easier on the offense. They’re going to depend on Josh Freeman’s arm.
I don’t think the offensive line is really struggling. I think they are doing their job. I think it is the offensive coordinator’s job to give the opportunities to have blocking angles, and make it possible to for Cadillac to get through the hole by the design of the play, and make bigger plays.
After re-watching the tape of the Panthers game, I thought the offensive line used some variety in their blocking schemes, which I liked. I think they are doing a fine job, but nothing spectacular. The tight ends and fullbacks I honestly think are doing an okay job. There were a couple of poorly executed plays that stood out. The one where tight end Jerramy Stevens got duped and Cadillac Williams got hit hard in the backfield. Another time Chris Pressley got his legs taken out from under him by Chris Gamble I believe, and that led to a no gain. In a general sense I think they are blocking fine.
I think that Greg Olson has to use motion with the receivers, or other kinds of misdirection at some point in the game to open a crease. If they just block their standard man-on or zone blocking to the right or left, Cadillac will be a three-yard and a cloud of dust type runner, every once while he’ll get seven yards, and sometimes he’ll get stuffed at the line of scrimmage. I think some misdirection to get a guy out of position in the run game will create some more holes and bigger plays. That’ll help Freeman in the play-action situations, and more manageable third down situations.
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