However you break it down, the St. Louis Rams truly bettered their roster through free agency this year. Billy Devaney did not sign a super start wide receiver, a sack master defensive lineman or a shutdown corner. Instead, he found role players to address key needs, like safety and guard, and strengthen the depth chart. As far as addressing the need at backup running back, the Cadillac Williams underwhelmed some who fancied a flashier pick in the draft, but it looks as thought Williams was exactly what the Rams needed.
Allow me to get the preseason performance/statistics caveat out of the way right now. And...done.
Through three preseason games, Williams leads all Rams rushers with 29 carries, 116 yards and a touchdown. For you math wizards, that works out to 4.0 yards per carry, a preseason number that correlates well with success in the regular season.
NFL Films' Greg Cosell talked about Cadillac with Matt Waldman over at Waldman's web site. Here's a sample of what Cosell had to say.
There's a difference between tough and physical and strong and powerful. I thought he was tough and physical, but not strong and powerful. Unfortunately, he's had so many injuries that I think he's evolved over time into a very good sub-package back who understands how to pick up blitzes and is an excellent receiver out of the backfield.
Cosell says more, so be sure and read the whole thing.
With Steven Jackson still topping the depth chart for the Rams, Williams made for a nice addition. As a pass blocker, he's an upgrade over Jackson. As a backup runner, he gives the Rams some options to do some different things when Jackson's off the field. Defenses will naturally be looking for passes from a Rams backfield minus Jackson, which helps Williams all the more.
Having Jerious Norwood also provides another element to the running game, and Norwood and Williams would split carries should the Rams be without Jackson, saving some wear and tear from their medically repaired bodies.
As far as next season's running back picture...we'll save that for another time.