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
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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