Old people like Cadillacs. They're big, boxy, and perfect for being driven at somewhere less than 15 MPH below the speed limit. The St. Louis Rams apparently don't see any similarities in the like-named Cadillac Williams, a Tampa Bay Buccaneer ticketed for free agency this year...whenever it arrives.
According to a report at Pro Football Weekly, Williams is generating "buzz" (have the Rams embraced an MTV/TRL style of free agent ranking?) at Rams Park, with Darren Sproles still being the most oft-mentioned candidate. Missing most of his 2007 and 2008 seasons with two patellar tendon injuries, Williams has gotten used to being a part-time running back. Per the source at PFW:
I hear he had no problem accepting a part-time role in Tampa. The one thing you have to wonder about, though, is whether the Bucs would really be willing to let a guy like that leave.
Hopefully, willingness to be a role player isn't the top quality Devaney is looking for in a backup running back. But what about the numbers, Williams' numbers?
On 125 carries last year he had 437 yards and 2 TDs, an average of 3.5 yards per carry. That was a career low. However, much of his work came early in the season, which as we noted in this piece about free agent OG Davin Joseph, the Bucs' o-line got better later in the season, with Joseph out with injury.
Williams was a good receiver last year, catching a career-high 46 passes for 355 yards and 1 TD. According to Football Outsiders' game charting data, Williams gained an average of 6.9 yards after the catch. He is also a top-notch pass blocker. Steven Jackson averaged 8.1 YAC last year.
However, need I remind you that the Rams already have the best third-down back in the game in Steven Jackson? In the lead up to the draft, it looked like the Rams were considering some options for a bigger running back to pick up some of the rough and tumble between the tackles work for Jackson. With Darren Sproles in the mix now and Cadillac Williams another whispered possibility, it looks like Jackson will be the go-to guy for first- and second-down runs and any short yardage work. Jackson didn't look great in that role last year, though some of that is on the interior o-line. It will also put him at greater risk for injury.
Don't rule out a three-back system either. McDaniels comes from a New England system that used three backs.