Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Greg Olson said the Bucs would look to rotate in backup running backs LeGarrette Blount and Kareem Huggins, and reduce Williams workload starting with the Week 5 game at Cincinnati.
“I think in ways it is good to get the young guys up to par,” said Williams. “For down the stretch to get them in the game more. You know me, I’m here but basically just whatever.”
In 2010 Williams has come under criticism while averaging 2.5 yards per carry. He has run for 139 yards on 55 carries with no touchdowns. Williams said that he feels he can play better, but physically he feels as good as he did in 2005 when he won the NFL’s Rookie of the Year award.
“I think me personally I can do better,” said Williams. “I also think overall as a team we also can do better. From the guys blocking to me running and making better reads. Until we start playing like one unit we are going to continue to struggle in that area.”
The sixth-year back said the running back platoon can be good for him to keep him fresher, yet it will limit his chances.
“It can and it can’t. With fewer carries the opportunities aren’t there,” said Williams. “It is a long season and you just never know how the season goes so you just never know.”
In the Bucs last game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Williams had six carries for 13 yards. The rookie Blount was given six carries and he ran for 27 yards and a touchdown. While Morris spoke about getting the other backs more involved throughout the Buccaneers’ bye week, the coaching staff did not tell Williams that his role would be reduced.
“I mean you can tell where the team is heading,” said Williams. “It is not like they came to me. You can just tell how things are heading.”
This year Williams’ longest run was a 20-yard carry in Week 1 against Cleveland. Since then his longest rush has been eight yards. Williams, 28, has not had a 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 and 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, and he was asked if he feels that he is being phased out.
“I mean you know this business, of course that is a possibility that they are looking beyond this year, which is cool,” said Williams. “I’m just going to continue to prepare myself and go out there on Sunday and continue to put stuff on film.”
When asked if it was discouraging to have to split carries Williams shrugged it off.
“No man it is part of it,” said Williams. “It is part of the business and you may not agree with it, and you may not like it, but I’ve been here six years in this thing so these days nothing surprises me.”
Morris downplayed the fact that Williams was getting a less carries while being in a contract year.
“He’s one of our vets, one of our leaders and one of the people that is going to carry us to the next level,” Morris said. “We’re trying to get there this year. We’re trying to get there right now and he understands that. If you sit around and worry about what is going on next year – me, Caddy, we’re all in the same contract year. You guys (the media), too. I’m evaluating you guys. I’m trying to get rid of all you.”