Seeing Cadillac Williams go down the other day was a tough pill for me to swallow. He not only is an integral part of this team, but my favorite player personally. I am going to try and analyze the repercussions and effects his absence will have on the other members of the offense and staff.
Coaching - While this may seem strange, I think the injury will open up Gruden’s playbook even more. I believe Pittman will gain the majority of the carries in Williams absence because Gruden trusts Michael Pittman. His hands on 1st and 2nd downs, will keep defenses more honest, as Pittman has the ability to slide out in the flats and be dangerous as well as moving in motion into the or X or Z receiver spots on the field. The running game will still be a byproduct of the passing game, which Gruden has shown in the first 4 games would be the case with or without Caddilac. Tosses and Sweeps might be thrown out the window though, as both Ernest Graham and Michael Pittman are much better north/south runners than they are at being patient and finding holes.
Oline – The pulling plays that we have been seeing the past few weeks (primarily with rising star Aaron Sears pulling from the LG spot) I believe are going to dissipate a bit. We have the horses and size up front though, to truly pound the ball down peoples throats. With Luke Petigout out and Donald Penn in, I think we gain in the run blocking department, and lose a little bit in the pass blocking, so we have the ability to line up, run north and south, and pound the rock. While Caddy was more of a cutter behind the line of scrimmage, the Oline better get used to Michael Pittman running into the back of them and falling forward for a few.
TE – Following the same theory that is prevalent with the O-Line, I see some some different blocking requirements coming as a result of this injury. More plays in the flats off of passes, than the typical sweeps and tosses we have been doing, as well as more pounding up the guts. Alex Smith, Jeramy Stevens, and Anthony Becht, will be responsible for taking on Linebackers primarily as opposed to safeties and cornerbacks before in the blocking game. With only Becht excelling in the blocking department, expect to see more of him in the game than we have seen the first few weeks.
WR – I think this is the part of the O that might benefit the most from Caddy’s absence. With Pittman having the ability to take up linebackers when he flares out in the flats, and safeties (coners are too small, and ‘backers are too big) when he moves in motion to the WR spots, the passing game will open up over the top for our best playmaker, Joey Galloway. I believe Gruden will be trying to exploit this on other starting this weekend in Indy. Typical play has Pittman and Galloway lined up on the strong side of the field, with the TE running a drag, Pittman running an out, and Galloway running a deep post in, leaving him alone down the middle with only the FS to decide which WR he has to hang with. Expect an increase in Galloway’s productions over the next few weeks until teams adjust.
QB - I think Garcia will move through this kind of seamlessly. He will have the trust factor working much better with Pittman as it looked as though Garcia has already been getting frustrated with the Caddy’s subpar hands in the passing game. Garcia will lose a target on some plays as Becht should see more time as opposed to our more receiving oriented TE’s in Smith and Stevans. The main benefit will come in the deep passing game, as I just explained when talking about the receivers.
While I make all this seem peachy and rosey, I do not think that replacing our main engine on offense is going to be a simple task. The veteran leadership of Michael Pittman, and Jeff Garcia should help the offense assimilate to a new version than the one we were running with Caddy in there. I just hope we don’t look like the Eagles last Sunday!!!