We could all use a little more Cadillac in our Sundays

It’s how we know what to get our families for the holidays. It’s why the company we keep is an intricate part of who we are. It’s why some people are born leaders and it’s why human nature leads us to hang around the people who bring out the best in us.

To truly know someone’s strengths and weaknesses and how to best utilize them in a team atmosphere such as the National Football League is as important a part of coaching as any. The gameplan means nothing if coaches cannot utilize the strengths of their varied personnel to execute it.

Carnell "Cadillac" Williams: A lot of things come to mind, don’t they. Auburn University, Ronnie Brown, Rookie of the Year. Gloves in the Hall of Fame, injury prone, patellar tendon. The number 24, a big black Escalade, Jon Gruden. Late-game heroics, another patellar tendon, and that time he broke a 71-yard touchdown run against the Vikings in his first professional game to clinch a Buccaneer win with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

There was a time, before the two knee surgeries and Earnest Graham and Derrick Ward, when Cadillac’s name conjured up much different images than it does these days. Back in the day, he used to get better as the game went on. Now, he’s trapped in a three-back-attack that seems more like a Pop Warner timeshare: Everyone will get some carries, kids, we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or get the parents mad.

In his 2005 Rookie of the Year campaign, Williams had a reputation of starting off slow and gaining momentum as the game wore on. He averaged 3.3 yards per carry (YPC) in the first half of games and 4.7 in the second half. In the last two minutes of the half he averaged 8.3 YPC. Below, his production by the quarter in 2005 illustrates the same point.

 

Quarter Att Yards YPC
1st 88 266 3.0
2nd 74 265 3.6
3rd 63 234 3.7
4th 76 417 5.5
Overtime 7 45 6.4

 

It would be naive to suggest that Cadillac is the same player in 2009 as he was in his rookie year. Many thought his playing days were over after his second knee surgery, so the question coming into this season was whether or not he could carry the load. The Bucs signed Derrick Ward from the Giants in the offseason in case Cadillac went on the shelf again, and they’ve been splitting time ever since.

"Sometimes, I find myself sitting and I feel like I haven't played," Williams told The St. Petersburg Times. "But it is what it is."

A hard life for a running back once coined the future of the franchise.

The Bucs are 7-1 in games in which Cadillac rushes for 100 yards or more, something he’s yet to do this season. When he gets at least 30 carries in a game, he averages 7.1 YPC on carries 21-30. Last week, against Carolina, he rushed for 92 yards on a season-high 17 attempts.

We could all use a little more Cadillac in our Sundays. Know your team. Know your playmakers and get the ball in their hands as often as possible. Pound the rock.

It’s time for the Buccaneers to re-introduce Cadillac to Tampa Bay, because these days, I feel like I don’t even know the guy anymore.

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