How important is Cadillac?

Without rookie runningback and the third leading rusher in the league Carnell Williams in the lineup against New York the Bucs looked worse than they did last season when they went 5-11.

The Bucs only converted on two of fourteen third downs today, and failed to score a touchdown. Only three times did the Bucs have less than five yards to go on first down. This meant, that the Jets (who have a very good pass defense) knew the Bucs were going to pass the ball on third down.

When Carnell Williams is in the game, he can gain those four yards on first and second down to set up short yardage situations for the offense on third down. With Williams out, the Bucs tried running Pittman, Graham, and Alstott, but none of these guys gave the offense the same kind of spark as Williams. As has been pointed out, Williams has been good at gaining yards after contact, and typically the first guy who hits Williams will not tackle him.

Pittman is great at catching balls out of the backfield, but can't run the ball as well as Williams. Alstott is difficult to tackle, but he can't run east-west, a fact defenses are well aware of. And Graham has a nose for the endzone, but he will never be a starting runningback.

Griese and the secondary (especially Juran Bolden and Will Allen) looked dreadful, but that is to be expected. Griese has a history of playing like an Pro Bowler one game, and then looking like a rookie the next. Ronde Barber (when not abusing refs) looked really good today, but Bolden and Allen are fairly young and will make mistakes.

What this loss makes clear is that the Bucs can not depend on Griese to win games for them. Instead they need Williams to stay healthy, because Cadillac is the engine that powers this offense.


Scott said...

You had me up until the end.

Cadillac is the engine that powers this offense.

Allow me to direct you here.

And Alstott gained 9 yards on his first carry. You'd think they could have fed him the ball a little more to get him in a rhythm. His best days are definitely behind him, but the guy isn't useless yet. At least give him 10 or so to punish the Jets d-line for a while.

Ski said...

Yeah, I have to apologize for that.
I had to get one car analogy in there at some point in the season.

I don't really know why they didn't give Alstott more touches but one reason may be because there were simply not enough touches to go arouund. Not counting when Griese scrambled the Bucs passed the ball (42) almost twice as much as they ran the ball (23).

Jim said...

As I watched the game Sunday against Vinnie and the Jets, I felt I was lost in some sort of painful time warp . . . Yes, this was vintage Buc ball "BC" -- Before Cadillac.

Bada-bing, Badda-boom.

John F. said...

Ski, it's been Gruden's MO to use Alstott as a typical Fullback more than the Rhino back that he is - dump offs are all he gets from time to time, let alone regular carries.

I think Gruden would like nothing more than for "Mark" Alstott to retire so people stop talking about him needing or deserving more touches. :-(

Ski said...

I hadn't really given "Mark" much thought but you're right John, Gruden inherited this guy and Alstotts's such a part of the community and so well liked by the fans Gruden can't get rid of him.

Additionally, Alstott's one serious injury away from ending his career so why risk his health by giving him non-goal line carries?