Cadillac Never Gets Untracked
In 2005, Bucs RB Cadillac Williams burst onto the NFL scene with an impressive performance in a season-opening victory at Minnesota.
In the 2006 season opener, Baltimore's defense and a patch-work offensive line prevented Williams' motor from getting started in a 27-0 loss to the Ravens on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
The second-year pro out of Auburn was limited to 22 yards on eight carries, the third-lowest rushing total of his career (20 yards twice, 13 once). The Bucs gained just 26 rushing yards on 13 carries, which prevented the offense from ever getting on track.
"We got down early and I think that got us out of rhythm," Williams said. "[The Ravens defense has] some good people. But, man, for us to get shut out and for us to perform the way we did, man, it's definitely not acceptable. This is the professional football league. There's going to be times things don't go your way. But for us to come out and get shut out in the loss, I pray to God nobody [is] tucking in the season or feels like we can't be a dominant offense because I still believe in it, and I'm sure we'll do a lot better [next] week [at Atlanta]."
Williams, who was limited in the second half because of back spasms, according to Coach Jon Gruden, did contribute a team-high five receptions for 25 yards. It was first time in his short career Williams finished with more yards receiving than rushing.
What didn't help Williams and the running game was the fact the Bucs were forced to replace both starting guards. LG Dan Buenning (ankle) and rookie RG Davin Joseph (knee) were inactive.
Sean Mahan stepped in for Buenning, who started all 17 games last season, and Jeb Terry made his first career start in place of Joseph.
However, none of the offensive linemen were willing to chalk up their ineffectiveness to the personnel changes made because of injuries.
"We all know each other, we all played together last year, throughout practice, throughout camps and things like that. So we know each other well. Injuries are no excuses. We just didn't do our job [Sunday]," LT Anthony Davis said.
Added RT Kenyatta Walker: "I can't say it made a difference. We got out butts whipped. That's the bottom line."
The Tampa Tribune 11 September 2006