Cadillac To Get First Test Drive

Top pick didn't get much time on preseason opener, but coach Jon Gruden said Cadillac will make big impression in front of home crowd.

By Jeff Berlinicke

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden defended his decision to use first-round draft choice Cadillac Williams sparingly in the Bucs' pre-season opener last Friday.

The Bucs beat the Titans, 20-17, on an overtime field goal by Matt Bryant, but Gruden received criticism from fans who expected to see more of the fomer Auburn back who was the fifth player taken in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Williams was in for only one play and used as a decoy on a play in the first quarter. Gruden said he was using the game as a contest between former Florida tailback Earnest Graham and former South Carolina running back Derek Watson. Both were impressive in their battle for the third tailback position behind Williams and Michael Pittman.

Williams reported to camp on time and has impressed the Bucs coaching staff with his efforts. Used as the main back at Auburn, Williams is used to getting the ball early and often, but didn't have a problem with his limited use on Friday.

Gruden said Williams' coming-out party will be on Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Bucs' first appearance of the season at Raymond James Stadium. He added that keeping Williams healthy was also a factor into resting him at Tennessee.

In other news, rookie Dan Buenning was back in practice on Tuesday after missing the Tennessee game with an injury. LT Matt Stinchcomb also practiced, but G Jeb Terry is out for four weeks with an injury. The Bucs have been decimated this summer by injuries to an already unsure unit, but Gruden said the offensive line is getting healthier by the day.

The battle for the No. 2 spot at quarterback could be decided in the Jacksonville game as well. Chris Simms looked hurried and confused at times during his stint against the Titans and his tenuous hold on the backup spot to Brian Griese could be in jeopardy if free agent Luke McCown has a big night against the Jaguars. McCown will likely enter the game in the second quarter and be given at least 30 minutes to run the offense

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