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September 27, 2010 @ 9:44 am
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Bucs Plan Less Cadillac, More Backups

Written by Charlie
Campbell
Charlie Campbell

Charlie
Campbell

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After the Bucs have struggled to run the ball, head coach Raheem Morris said the team will look to expand the role of their backup running backs and reduce the work load on starter Cadillac Williams.
A day after the Buccaneers lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 38-13, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris talked about the team’s struggles to run the football. Against the Steelers, Tampa Bay ran for 75 yards rushing with starter Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams running for only 13 yards on six carries (2.2 avg.). While Williams has gotten a lot of carries through the first three games, Tampa Bay has struggled to get the running game going. The Bucs went to backup LeGarrette Blount during the game with quality results, and Morris was asked if the team will re-evaluate the running back position and the amount of carries going to Williams.

“I think we are. I think that’s the thought of getting LeGarrette in to get some carries. I think [Kregg] Lumpkin will start to get some carries,” said Morris. “We got to clean up those holds that are being called. … We aren’t going to sit here and complain about those calls being called. What we are going to do is coach this thing up better. … I think that Cadillac has played three well games. By no means I’m saying he played excellent, but I’m saying he played games that he put together and played well in. He can play better. We got to get him some blow. We can’t get him 28 straight carries in a row and all those things. Somebody has to come in and give a spark. Somebody has to come in and make somebody miss and break off a long run.”

Outside of Blount and Lumpkin, another backup that Morris said Tampa Bay would like to get involved is Kareem Huggins. The second-year pro Huggins led the Bucs in rushing in the preseason with 134 yards on 25 carries for an average of 5.4 yards per carry. The 5-foot-9, 198-pound Huggins missed the second game of the year with a groin injury, and Morris said that was the reason for him being inactive on Sunday.

“No question, hopefully we can get him back this bye week and getting him out there running around in practice and he can be ready to go health-wise,” said Morris. “That’s been a health issue only right now, and hopefully we can get him back with the bye. We’re fortunate to have one this early, and fortunate to be able have him provide some of those spark type runs that we need to change that average.”

Apparently Morris and his player weren’t on the same page as Huggins said that he was fine, and that it was a coaching decision as to him being inactive against the Steelers. Huggins, 24, practiced all of the week leading up to the contest with Pittsburgh.

“No I’m fine. I prepared like I’m supposed to prepare,” said Huggins. “I’m just ready to play. It is up to the coaches.”

During the bye week and afterwards, Morris said that Huggins and Blount would be competing with each other for carries and being active on game days.

“You got to say yes,” said Morris. “You have to evaluate that this week. That’s a good problem.”

Morris highlighted the fact that it is a team effort to get the running game going. Tampa Bay was down by 22 points at halftime, and the deficit hurt the Bucs ability to stay with the ground game, as they were able to do in the first two weeks of the season when the score was close or Tampa Bay had the lead. Morris was hoping to get Blount more carries yesterday but the game didn’t lend itself to running the ball.

“LeGarrette Blount we certainly can increase his role,” said Morris. “I think his role would have been increased yesterday if the game had played out the way I would have liked to have seen it played out. With a three-point lead and pounding them, not giving up the two big plays and not allow them to pound us and make us one-dimensional. His role could have been increased yesterday as well, all those things going into it and having that type of role and having that type of feel. We are 2-1. That is the message to the team, to you guys, and our fans. We got time this week to go back and get better and bring those young guys along.”

Blount finished with six carries for 27 yards (4.5 avg.) and a touchdown to lead Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers claimed Blount off waivers from the Tennessee Titans at the end of the preseason. Blount went undrafted last April because of a post-game fight during his senior collegiate season even though many teams felt that Blount was one of the better running backs in the draft. With the Buccaneers heading into the bye week Tampa Bay plans on getting Blount more up to speed on the offense’s playbook.

“I think the young guys will have more of a chance to catch up,” said Morris. “We’ll get more of [Arrelious] Benn. We’ll get a chance to get more of LeGarrette Blount because we’ll be able to sit down and slow things down for those guys a little bit more. LeGarrette has been on the team for two weeks. I’m proud of him that he is even able to get in the game in the third week of the season. Now having a bye week you can give him some bases, and some more fundamental core beliefs, and things that you were talking about all offseason that he wasn’t able to get.”

Blount said that he knows it is a long season and he is not rushing to become the Bucs starting running back or receive a significant amount of carries. Blount and Morris believe that over the bye week Tampa Bay can get Blount up to speed on blitz pickup.

“Oh yeah I’m definitely willing to be patient,” said Blount. “I’m not going to rush anything. Especially when I’m not 100 percent comfortable with the offense. If was 100 percent comfortable with the offense then it’d be a different story because I’m pretty sure they’d get me out there, but since I’m not 100 percent comfortable with the offense they’re not going to take that chance. They got a multi-million dollar quarterback that doesn’t need to be getting hit.”

Williams is averaging 2.5 yards per carry and has a total of 139 yards on 55 carries and no touchdowns in 2010. Williams, 28, has not had run longer than 38 yards since rookie season in 2005, and that was the only year in his career where he was able to average four yards per carry or eclipse the 1,000 yard mark.

The 5-foot-11, 217-pound Williams was second in the NFL’s voting for Comeback Player of the Year in 2009. He ran for 823 yards and four touchdowns while catching 28 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns last season. Williams renaissance came after he suffered massive knee injuries in 2007 and 2008. He is in the final year of his contract with Tampa Bay.
Last modified on Sunday, 03 October 2010 20:59
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    After reading the comments about the running game and Caddy's performance, I think that something is missing from most of the posts here. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, some viewpoints are based off of the court of public opinion (AKA knee-jerk). Let's see...game #1 vs. Cleveland, Caddy has 75yds rushing with 2 runs of 20+ called back due to suspect holding calls. That's 115+ yds of rushing performance with (3) 20+ runs. Game #2 vs. Carolina with the Bucs and Josh Freeman employing a conservative passing game plan due to Josh's 5 pick game last year, the Panthers stacked the box and took away the rushing game to force the Bucs to pass. Of Caddy's 27 attempts, I counted 14 times that he was hit at or behind the line of scrimmage. Now you can say what you want about him not being an "elite" back, but that is more of an indictment on the offinsive line than on Caddy's running ability. What Caddy really is, I'm not sure. I do know that he is a more competent back than this offense demonstrates. IMO
  • avatar

    I would say that it is a knee jerk reaction if Cadillac Williams had managed to average over 4 YPC more than 1 season of his career. I don't know what it will take for some people to see what's right in front of them. Cadillac is a great guy. He's not a great runningback. It's just that simple.
  • avatar


    This says it all: Williams, 28, has not had run longer than 38 yards since rookie season in 2005. Phase him out and phase the others in.
  • avatar


    Blount needs to be the feature back with Cadillac the change of pace back and Huggins the third down back when it is not short yardage. On short yardage we should put in Blount in a jumbo package with our 260 pound fullback; however, we should not forget in that situation that our QB is 250 pounds and can get that short yardage on a quarterback sneak, or he can bootleg out and hit Stroughter in the slot positon.
  • avatar

    Relax people....geeez! Some of you act like every team plays up to potential every week and no one has an off Sunday. C'mon! We have some good running backs in the wings. Huggins not playing was a smart move. The guy is coming off of a groin injury which can get re-aggravated easily. Sit him till after the bye week. Blount is looking very promising and Lumpkin will be a bruiser too. Caddy's role will be diminished but it will be done in a way that is respectful to Caddy and beneficial to the young players competing for his spot. They have to be able to come in and do more than run. They have to know the blocking schemes or Freeman will be toast and they have to really understand and be able to execute the playbook and the system. If they don't they will be more of a detriment than an asset. We'll be just fine. We moved the ball well against Pittsburgh without a running game and once we get that going....we'll score against anybody. The defense will tighten up and Grimm will be fine. Talib blew more plays than Grimm and I don't see anybody wanting to replace him. I trust Raheem's judgment when it comes to picking D-backs. He knows what he's doing. I saw Cody make some big time tackles out there. That kid is not afraid to hit. We'll come back strong against Cincy.
  • avatar

    Not for nothing, but I called it on Caddy back in preseason and was crucified on this message board for it. I made two predictions that got blasted, and both have come true. I called it that Williams was not a feature back, and that we would be in trouble leaning on him and just him this year. I also called it that Huggins was not yet ready for prime time, and his not knowing the protection packages and playbook would keep him off the field, forcing us to have to lean on Caddy. We now have a week off to fix this thing. Coach Morris, please start Blount, mix in Huggins situationally, and make Caddy the 3rd down back.
  • avatar


    hope huggins will share carries with Blount and not be deactivated on Sundays.....we all are thinking right now about Huggins and Blount...hope Raheem is....unless hes thinking about us punting again when its the 4th qt and we are down 4 tds...LOL.
  • avatar


    I agree with assessment of the RB situtation and that Blount needs more carries. I think the idea is correct that Caddy, Huggins and Blount all need carries. I not so sure about the guy from Green Bay though. He seems to be a luxury at this point and should probably concentrate on FB more. Unless Morris is talking about giving him carries from the FB position.----------Now that I've seen Blount play for the Bucs I'm changing my tune since initially I didn't like him much as an all round RB, but keep in mind that he's only he only had 6 carries on Sunday. Let's not put him on the ring of honor just yet. I think the change up of going to all 3 RB's is best. With Caddy, you don't know whether we're running or passing because he can catch and pass block. Huggins is fast but you know the play is either going outside or it will be a screen. With Blount it's either up the middle or a play action. If you mix it up you will confuse then tire out a defense.
  • avatar


    caddy has worked so hard to get back and it's almost a miricle he is out there functioning as a sufficient runner....and raheem is showing his loyalty to him, which is understandable at this point...however, the loyalty has been shown and this is the nfl...it's a now league...and now is the time to make a change and i think raheem knows it...coaching is a hard when you are so young and friendly with your players, but rah has to be a coach now and not a friend to caddy...he needs to do the right thing for the whole team and start using graham more to fill caddy's role and sprinkle in blount and huggins for a few games....they need to test that out and see where that goes...and if graham is under producing, no more sprinkling in of the young guys, let their roles increase to full time by mid season and phase graham out to a situational fullback and dump off receiver...i have a feeling graham and blount can be very effective with huggy getting sprinkled in as a change of pace back to throw off defenses....we all love caddy for his heart but there is really no reason he should be in there at all at this point...i as many others feel bad for caddy, but this is a win now league and caddy needs to possibly be benched for good and not be resigned in the future either...his time in the nfl as a starter is really over...he's a great comeback story, but truth be told he is like a 30 year old gimp already....he simply is not toting the rock out of the backfield with much thump, or juke and jive....we love you caddy but time for you to ride off into the sunset...............adam from ny
  • avatar


    Blount fired up the whole team when he was in there. Huggins can bring a homerun threat to the running game. I'm all for it.
  • avatar


    Did Coach Morris actually say "We got to get him some blow." about Caddy? Think the NFL may have something to say about that no? :D
  • avatar

    Alright, We had a bad game. It is not the end of the world. Every true Buc fan knew this was going to be a tough year, and shouldn't have gotten too high on the great start to the season. Could we have beaten the Steelers? I think so, but we didn't play smart football. We had too many penalties, and gave up way too many splash plays on def. I am still trying to figure out how Grimm was the best choice at safety. I have never seen the deep safety play with his back to the QB every time he is the deep safety. How are you suppose to make a play on the ball with your back to the QB? I think this was just a case of the team getting caught with their pants down, with the whole T-Jac suspension. I like Grimm as a strong safety, but I would prefer to see Corey Lynch as the Free. He plays the pass so much better. But moving on, the running back situation is not going to change drastically unless one of these young guys really shows they can be an all around back. I think Lumpkin is closest to that title, but he is the low man on the totem pole. Blount is going to be our Stephen Jackson down the road. And I think Huggins will be the speed 3rd down back. But this all depends on their development. Right now our biggest problem is the O-line is sluggish, they are not getting any pancakes and they are just getting man handled. I don't know if it is the scheme, the conditioning, or just the play calling, but something has to give. We need to find something that works. The O-line is the weakest link in our running game right now. Hopefully that will change, but if it doesn't we will be seeing some new faces on the o-line next summer.
  • avatar


    Huggins and Blount are clearly our future at RB. They are WD40 version 2.
  • avatar


    I think it made sense with the groin pull and the bye week and Blount being on the team for 2 weeks to go with Caddy this week. He had 6 carries for 13 yards on the stat sheet but 2 more besides that went for 8-10 yards a piece. I even felt like a few of the holding calls the O-line got were on the edge for a change. 8 carries for 28-30 yards isn't amazing either, but the guy isn't *censored* either. He went out after the injuries and learned to catch the outlet pass, he's better on pass protect by far than he used to be, he's a serviceable back. But this isn't a single back league anymore and while this guy won't drop the ball on the ground or get a lot of negative plays, he's just not going to blow things up anymore either. I don't think we even have to go with 2 backs. Let's have 3 halfbacks and Graham as FB and pound the hell out of the rock. Also, while Raheem does not always employ the best grammar, I would like to point out that there are a LOT of type-o's on this site too. Half the time I read something on this site I can't figure out who's to blame :-) I can live without copy-edits for more content though. If the Bucs go 2-1 their next 3 games I'll be pretty damn pleased. 1-2 I can live with... 0-3 would be pretty damn depressing after a great start. Man, it was rough watching Grimm too after losing Jackson. I was scared of how much that was going to change things and it sure did.
  • avatar


    Is it really too much to comprehend that Coach Morris (Ra) has a plan? He pulled out Blount an hour before game time. He damage controlled a bad D-coach & a bad O-coach. Just because he doesn't say what he's supposed to say (whatever that is) at the podium he's an idot? It's a long season. Chess fans, when do you put your Queen in motion; early or late? The Bucs are growing. That's what's fun about this season; this schedule. The Ravens & the Rams, with the Bengles in the middle. 3 weeks in...D-tackle is comming along, reciever is comming along, and the running backs are comming along. Personally I'm in with the race to 10. If you thought they were going to be below .500 or get fired, why are you dissapointed? It's not "I told you so!" time yet. You have to wait.
  • avatar

    Sounds like a personal attachment some of you have with Caddy. Its all about performance. Likeing a player personally has not one damn thing to do with it. I hope someone is evaluating the play calling. I'd like to see Morris take over the offensive play calling. The players performing the best should be playing. Pretty simple. Sometimes Managers think they have some special expertise that the average person doesn't understand. More often than not they sound stupid for a very good reason. Morris on Sports Connection....pure babble. Cmon' Man.
  • avatar


    I agree with you on performance, but Morris calling the offense, that's a recipe for disaster....he's never done that before ever.
  • avatar


    I'd like to see Caddy's stats without those holding calls. And he is great catching out of the backfield and picking up the blitz. Love the guy and want to see him do well. But... change of pace with Huggins and Blount will only make us better.....
  • avatar


    Huggins has been suffering from a groin pull. I'm sure he felt like he was ready this week, but if you push a groin injury too hard too soon you can be out for the year. I want to see Huggins get on the field probably more than Huggins himself, but letting him heal up this week, and next was the smart thing to do. Now he should be 100% after the bye week.
  • avatar


    jdouble, right with you.
  • avatar


    I would like to see the O line actually open up a hole!! I am sure caddy feels the same way because the only time he has had great runs its because of holding...he has had 70 yards at least called back because of the O line! Thats they way we get running again...blocking! Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    It almost seems like Rah is afraid to put Huggins on the field?
  • avatar

    huggins was supposed to be this super secret weapon, thats what they were trying to sell him as then unveiled him in preseason with great results now he cant even get on the field during a regular season game...wasting away on the bench like crowder and michael bennett
  • avatar


    coopiani, Huggins has a groin problem, same as a couple other players and that's why they aren't playing right now. did you look at the injury report before the game?
  • avatar

    “No I’m fine. I prepared like I’m supposed to prepare,” said Huggins. “I’m just ready to play. It is up to the coaches.” huggins was deactivated...by no means do suggest we cut caddy especially since i rock his jersey every week but we have weapons that should be used, no i dont want rookies to take over unless prove to be better, remember caddy was rookie offensive player of the year so rookies dont have to be proven to be stars all anyone needs is an opportunity thats how you become proven players
  • avatar

    wow really raheem, your leading rusher in preseason and the guy that allowed you to cut dead weight in whats his name because i dont even remember him he was so usless oh yea ward...but anyway now he has to compete again to be active and compete with someone who barely knows the blocking schemes...sounds like garbage too me and the head coach is getting less and less impressive...last year ward, caddy and peanut were active all year so why not caddy, blount and huggy, caddy is the one losing carries and the way raheem acts it doesnt matter how good huggins or blount play because he will stay loyal to caddy even though he's not producing..blount ran through those same holes that supposedly werent there for caddy with that same busted line and even with zuttah in the line up, if you didnt see the game be glad, it was much uglier than the score
  • avatar


    coopiani, right now Caddie is the only proven back with experience that can pass protect, not fumble, and knows the playbook. They aren't going to just cut him out and go with two unknowns. They will work Huggins and Blount in and work Caddie out as the season goes on. Expecting them to just go with two unproven guys immediatly is unrealistic.
  • avatar


    You know PR each one of you can come in with all the individual stats you want to and spin it anyway, but the fact is that we are not ready yet to play .500 ball. It's all in the trenches and we need more quality players on the DL and OL. Unfortunately there is not much we can do about it until the next draft. I don't believe free agency is going to help us that much yet=; maybe if we were a player or two away from the playoffs, but not right now. Lets just keep playing the young guys and lets at least see who is worthy to be on this team and who is not. Go Bucs! Play harder!
  • avatar


    Really Horse? You don't think we can win 6 of our next 13 games to go 8-8? We have plenty of talent, we are just young, which means we will get better and better. I'd be shocked if we didn't finish atleast 7-9. . . . We got pummeled by a good team because we made mistakes. It doesn't mean we are horrible. The Texans got beat almost as bad as us yesterday by the Cowboys...who had looked horrible untill yesterday. The Ravens almost lost to the Browns. The Patriots lost to the Jets and almost lost to the Bills yesterday. The Falcons got shut down by the Steelers then destroyed the Cardinals the next week. The Redskins had like 600 yards of offense last week, and then got beat by the Rams this week. The Giants just got destroyed two weeks in a row. This week they got blown out by the Titans...who looked like garbage the week before against the Steelers. All I'm saying is it is too early to really tell who is who, or to make too much of a big loss.
  • avatar


    JDouble, I don't think .500 is likely at all unless we discover how to run the ball. I do agree that teams are really hot and cold this year, but the Bucs simply do not excel in any phase of the game, so wins will be tough to come by.
  • avatar

    I agree with all you guys. I love Cadillac. He has more heart and want-to than anyone in the NFL. And I believe he gives 100% on every play. But he just isnt what he used to be getting closer to 30 with two bad knees. Its about time we let Huggy and Blount do their thing so we can finally have a real running game again. I loved Blount ever since college, he runs with an attitude and a mean streak! Thats something Bucs fans havent seen since the A-Train!!!
  • avatar


    This is great news. I am probably more excited than anyone. I've been screaming 4 kareem huggins to get tis a chance since last year and i was really disappointed that we didn't get blount in the 7th round. I've had huggins and blount as my running backs on my madden fantasy team for about 6 months now. So This is like a dream come true for me. We are bringing thunder and lightning back.
  • avatar


    According to PR Huggy is only 19 pounds lighter than Caddy, yet he is a ton quicker. Let's go with the quickness and speed. Let's use Blount as a younger Ernest Graham. Just a thought.
  • avatar


    RB is not the only position where the backups are more talented than the veterans ahead of them on the depth chart. Parker, Briscoe, Crowder, Bennett, Johnson, Lynch, and Larson, should all at least be a part of a rotation. The talent and ability is there. They just need experience so we can cut some more dead wood in January.
  • avatar


    Either you have (1) RB's that can run and hopefully pick up the blitz or(2) you have RB's that can maybe run and can pick up the blitz. I'll take option #1. Enter Huggins and Blount.
  • avatar

    Big fan of Caddy but I'm ready to see more youngsters. Saddle up Huggy, Blount, it's time to hit the hole!
  • avatar

    Somebody needs to get Raheem hooked on phonics or something. I'm tired of seeing the speech impediments. " I think that Cadillac has played three well games." I think the substitution of "Good" instead of well would work best here. "We got to get him some blow." I had to read this one twice. Surely he isn't drug traffic'ing for players now. Cocaine is a banned substance. Surely he knows this. "We can’t get him 28 straight carries in a row and all those things." All what things? What the hell is he talking about here?
  • avatar


    It hurts to see Caddy like this. Looks like the Blount/Huggins era is about to start.
  • avatar


    LeGarrette should get a lot more carries from what I see. The only thing that I worry about with a young player is whether he can pickup the blitz. I'm a huge fan of Caddy but quite frankly, he's not getting the job done.
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