In what might turn out to be an ironic twist of fate, the back who replaced Cadillac Williams after his tragic knee injury last season, Ernest Graham might have suffered his own season ending injury the week Cadillac Williams finally will return to the field.
“His status for the rest of the season is very much in question right now,” Gruden said Monday. “I don’t have the exact medical terms, but I will say right now, it doesn’t look like he’ll play any time soon.”
There has been a lot of speculation about the true readiness of Cadillac Williams to step back onto the field and contribute. It has been a full 14 months since the 3 ligament tear that Caddy suffered last season vs the Panthers. I personally don’t believe we would have put him on the 53 man roster and released preseason stud Michael Bennett, if we didn’t think Cadillac was fully capable of being a productive back for us. Head Coach Jon Gruden feels the same.
“We brought Cadillac up with the understanding that he’s ready to go,” said Gruden. “He’s a workhorse-type back and that’s what we’ve been trying to bring him back to, not just a situational runner but an every-down workhorse-type back; a guy that can handle it in short yardage and goal line; a guy that can finish the game with repeated runs in the four-minute drill where you know that the clock is the enemy. But I think his stamina will continue to be evaluated and we’ll just let you know.”
Cadillac probably would have been eased into a featured role a little more cautiously had Graham not suffered this injury, and promising undrafted free agent Clifton Smith had shown that he could hang onto the football. Smith’s fumbling issues will certainly not bode well for his playing time because as I’ve mentioned on this site many times, Gruden despises fumbles.
“Clifton [Smith] has got to take care of the football. All those backs will have to step up. It’s good to have Askew back yesterday as well. We might have to have him carry it, too.”
The aforementioned return of BJ Askew is a significant addition to the team, as he is a stellar blocker, experienced receiver, and although has only one TD in his career (last week) would seemingly be a formidable short yardage back, especially behind our behometh guards. I would imagine that BJ will continue to start at FB with Cadillac and Warrick Dunn splitting carries as Ernest and Warrick were doing at the start of the season.
This might be a little premature since nobody has definitevely said that Graham is out for the remainder of the year, nor have the Bucs placed him on Injured Reserve.