THE OPTIMIST: A Happy Goodbye To Cadillac

August 14th, 2011

You’ve all read THE PESSIMIST, who spews his Bucs-related anger like no other. But Joe brings you THE OPTIMIST

THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the team goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of BucStop.com, a place Joe goes to get lost in time via Houllis’ stunning video collection.

THE OPTIMIST will shine that positive light in your eyes. Some will love it. Some won’t.

No doubt it was a sad sight last night seeing beloved Cadillac Williams in a Rams uniform scoring a touchdown and looking pretty darn quick during an 11-yard run.

When Cadillac officially went to St. Lous early in August, Facebook was on fire with differing opinions about the man who carried a big load for the Bucs for the past couple of seasons, and going back to 2005. It’s hard to say who is right or wrong.

Cadillac was adored by many Bucs fans who love toughness out of their football heroes. We were crazy for our No. 40, Mike Alstott, and were able to overlook his fumbling problem for a few years because he scored touchdowns, was the definition of class, and with his Brad Pitt looks gave back to fans as fans gave to him.

We feel the same about No. 24; but is Cadillac Williams still a strong football player? Sure, last year showed us as much when he is not relied upon to be the main guy. Cadillac thrived in all areas as a third-down back. But much as Alstott had a downside, Williams two knee surgeries obviously had taken their toll.

People say Cadillac should be kept because he is a leader, yet most who played with him say he was quiet in the clubhouse. He wasn’t a team captain. He may be a leader to by his example, but experience doesn’t make one a ‘leader.’ One only needs to view the whole Cadillac Williams tribute Video on BucStop.com to see the way No. 24 ran in 2005 when he was a rookie. It wasn’t the same as in 2010, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, first and foremost, are a business.

We don’t like to think of it as such, but we’re reminded of it every time one of our favorite players is bid adios by the organization. It was hard to swallow when Derrick Brooks was let go, but the Bucs needed to move on one day, they just felt 2009 was as good as any. Looking back even farther, Joe Jurevicius, Warren Sapp, Hardy Nickerson, all at some time had to sit at the desk of someone telling them they were great in their time, but time did, after all, move on.

And no, the decisions weren’t always correct. John Lynch was let go even after offering to take a pay cut. The Bucs felt Lynch had his best days behind him, with his shoulder and neck issues. Tony Dungy (Colts), Herm Edwards (Jets) and Lovie Smith (Rams DC) all passed on him, too. Denver took a crapshoot, and hit big. Lynch played at a pro bowl level for several more years.

Up until this decade, Bucs fans have never really known what it’s like to lose local sports heroes. Oh sure, Jimmy Giles was cut and picked up by the Lions, as was Kevin House, and Doug Williams left for the USFL, but it wasn’t the same as when our Pewter guys were let go. But were now feeling what it’s been like for other team’s fans.

I can promise you Buffalo Bills fans weren’t too thrilled to see Thurman Thomas close out his careerin a Miami Dolphins uniform. Or Dallas Cowboys fans watching the NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith play his days out with a Bird on his hat. I won’t even get into the Green and Purple stuff.

But life goes on for the NFL, its fans, and its teams.

Someone else will move forward to play second string to LeGarrette Blount, and he will do just fine. There was a time when Cadillac Williams had to be taken off the field on thrid down because he could not pass protect better than Michael Pittman. In time, that job became Caddy’s.

We wish Cadillac well, and share our fond memories, and remember his courage and tenacity when we run into hurdles in our lives.

33 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: A Happy Goodbye To Cadillac”

  1. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Very good read. But proof-reading is important…especially when the first word is an error ;)

    I will miss Caddy. He’s all heart and a very hard worker. I hope he gets a couple 1,000 yard seasons under his belt before retiring. But I doubt he will.

    I said last year he needed to be cut.

    And I’ll say this too…Graham needs to go as well.

  2. So. Ill. Bucs Says:

    I don’t know, no other back we have is an established receiving (or passing) threat like Graham is.

  3. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Sorry, but this is a case where the stats do not lie.

    Graham only played in 12 games last year. He ended with just 99 yards rushing. And on the catching the pass point, he only had 130 yards in receiving. Heck, he even had a fumble! That’s 229 total yards and he turned the ball over.

    The year before that he had even less. He’s a fumbling machine…people just don’t notice it because he rarely is trusted to carry the ball anymore.

    The man is 31 years old. At this point, he’s keeping someone better from getting on the team…and almost anyone would be better.

    We drafted Bradford at RB. He can play at Fullback…he’s big enough. But we also have Rendrick Taylor.

    We have people to at least tryout at the position.We have 5 RBs and FBs on the roster besides Graham and Blount…someone in there should be able to replace the man. If he stays, we see potentially good player cut.

  4. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I’ll add…I would have preferred keeping Caddy over Graham…and I wanted Caddy cut too.

  5. So. Ill. Bucs Says:

    And the *career* receiving yards for backs not named Cadillac or Earnest: Blount 14 Lorig 10 Lumpkin 7. We have a few backs that look like they can be threats in the receiving game and good blockers, but only one that has proven that he can, even if he only plays a few games this year.

  6. So. Ill. Bucs Says:

    Addendum: I’m not saying we should keep him another 5 years, but at least this year he should have a safe spot; next year-well we’ll see how the young backs turn out.

  7. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Pete you are clueless:

    Earnest Graham was a fullback last year. Look around the league and see how many FB’s had impressive offensive stats – none in traditional fb roles.
    Graham accepted this job out of necessity and because he is unselfish. Lorig wasn’t ready last year and may still not be.
    With Graham you get a versatile player who can play Productively at all three rb positions: rb, fb and third-down back. Nobody else on this roster and few in the league can do this.
    So please limit your criticisms to subjects that you have a clue about, like self-promotion.

  8. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Btw- I believe that Blount led the league in fumbles since he became the starter.

  9. WeNeedDefense Says:

    Where is the positive Ruud farewell?

    Graham > Caddy… period.

  10. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    I should have qualified as a rb bc quarterbacks always have the most. It seems that the top 5 rb fumblers were: hillis, Bradshaw, benson, Blount and ivory.

  11. Jason Says:

    Oh yea like we’ve never let a good RB walk away and watch him succeed elsewhere… Warrick Dunn? Thomas Jones?

  12. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    Legarrette Blount had 5 fumbles and only lost 3 last year. Big deal. Peyton Hillis lost 8. Ahmad Bradshaw lost 7. Blount does not have a fumbling problem. His fumbles put him right in the middle of the league for last year.

    On the subject of Caddy I won’t be shocked for him to have a better year in St. Louis than he has in Tampa in recent years. Our line rarely seems to open big holes in the running game and those are the kind of holes Caddy requires to run through these days. St. Louis line is somewhat better and they added guard Harvey Dahl from Atlanta so they should be even better this year. We really are lucky to have a tackle breaker like Blount running behind our line. I sure hope the “brothers from another mother” can get their heads out of their rear ends and become the power run game maulers again that they started to become under Bill Muir.

  13. Garv Says:

    Simply put from this fan…….Carnel Williams was an inspiration. He showed incredible determination and courage in coming back from those two devastating back to back knee injuries.

    I won’t forget that. He was a hard worker and an excellent teammate by all accounts. He will always be a Buccaneer in my eyes, like Jimmie Giles, like Warren Sapp and like Doug Williams.

  14. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    Look at this liar trying to paint Blount as a “Top 5″ fumbler. 11 running backs lost more fumbles last year(4 or more) and Blount is tied with about 5 or 6 more guys with 3 lost fumbles. Then a whole gaggle of dudes all had 2 lost fumbles. The point is Blount is right in the middle of the pack when it comes to lost fumbles among starting running backs. Guys like Peyton Hillis, Bradshaw and Benson are the ones with real problems. Blount is right around average in ball security. Its funny how a supposed fan will try to twist and obfuscate stats just to make his own teams players look bad. Either that or said fan is just a troll with no real attachment to the team just looking to ruin a message board. Trolls do that kind of stuff. They are sometimes pyschotic and will research topics to troll for things like a sports team they care nothing about. I think there is a case of that going on here.

  15. Gary Says:

    Twisting around the truth until it’s unrecognizable is what Thomas does best. He is either the best or worst lawyer I have ever seen.

  16. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Heh, now that’s funny. Thomas called me “clueless”.

    Silly me…I thought they were called runningbacks for a reason.

    Above all other things, a RB should be a good rusher. The receiving yards should always be secondary.

    A fullback is primarilly a blocker, not a receiver. One of the best in league history at this was Lorenzo Neal. He opened lanes where they needed to be opened, and as a result he had a 17 year career…nearly unheard of for a RB of any sort these days.

    Graham is not a good blocker…that’s why Caddy was doing the blocking when needed.

    Don’t get me wrong…I like Mr August well enough. But at this point we need to find a replacement, and his roster spot would increase the odds. He will certainly not contribute much in rushing, and even receiving he won’t do much.

  17. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Also, consider this…if Blount goes down do you really want Graham filling in for him?

    That would really help…

  18. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Guys: read what I wrote – “since Blount became the starter.” I also said this based on memory from a discussion toward the end of the season when Blount’s fumbling was a big concern within the org.

  19. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @PeteDutcher You said the first word was an error. You mean “No”? How was that an error?

  20. Mauha Deeb Says:

    lol Thomas, check your fumble stats again.

  21. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Btw: Blount had nearly 100 less carries than Bradshaw and nearly 80 less than hillis who were the 2 backs with the most.

  22. Mauha Deeb Says:

    Blount wasn’t even in the top 15 in fumble percentages.

  23. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    Yeah genius and a bunch of the guys with MORE fumbles than Blount had LESS carries too. Whats your point? How hard will you try to spin things to bash a player you’re supposed to root for? The bottom line is Blount’s 3 lost fumbles were far outweighed by all those 20+ yards runs and 1000 yards in general. No one thinks that Blount hurt his team more than helped. You don’t either. Im sure you don’t believe half the things you write. You are just trying to be a contrarian which is what trolls do.

  24. Mauha Deeb Says:

    I agree, BHR. A fan does not go out of there way to twist stats to make his/her team look worse. I have heard of fans twisting stats to make their team sound better, but never worse. That is what loser opponents or “trolls” do.
    Fans don’t try to bury their own team with lies and deceit. So, Thomas is not a fan.

  25. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    I am not saying that Blount is a bad player at all. I like him so far. I was responding to Dutcher making up the Graham was a fumbler by arguing that if anyone is fumble prone it is Blount. I heard Rah express concerns about it last year.
    Nobody with fewer carries had more fumbles lost than blount (only hillis, bradshaw, benson and 1 or 2 other backs with a lot more carries had more). Yes, a lot of qb’s had more (including Freeman).

  26. Angelo Says:

    If Blount went down, I wouldn’t want Cadillac filling in for him. We saw how great he was as a starting RB at the beginning of last year before Blount got a lot of carries. I’m sure Graham, Lumpkin, or Bradford would have no trouble getting the sub 4.0 ypc that we were used to with Cadillac as a starter.

  27. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Graham is a very good backup and third down back. Unfortunately, until lorig is ready graham will be playing fullback.

  28. gotbbucs Says:

    for once, i gotta back you up on this one thomas. graham is so cross trained at this point that he held way more value than caddy. also, you have to take into account the number of carries when looking at fumbles.

  29. McBuc Says:

    U agree with homas on Graham, but I do not remember any of Morris’s pressers taking about Blount losing the ball too much. Just him not knowing the blocking schemes. Pete, back in the day FB got more carries, and sometimes you have a special FB like Alstott was. Typically they do not have hige rushing stats.

    Most downhill power runners funble, it is usually during their second or third effort. Alstott had this issue, Eddie George had it too. Thomas is just a jack ass that does not want this team to win, due to some irrational hatred of Raheem Morris. BTW, Eric is the lawyer, I do not recall Thomas ever saying he was a lawyer. I have known many lawyers that were clueless jack asses though. All the educational in the world cannot buy class.

  30. McBuc Says:

    That should have said I agree with Thomas on Graham.

  31. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I actually agree with Thomas on the Earnest Graham thing. Although Graham may not be great at any position, he is very serviceable at multiple positions (including special teams). With the amount of injuries that can occur in a football season, that is extremely valuable. He has already proven he can carry us into the playoffs as a tailback. He willingly gave up the prime of his career to help the team. I can’t think of too many players that are willing to do that. He’s the ultimate team player, and he is the one “bubble” guy I would be extremely upset if we got rid of. Now that I’ve actually agreed with Thomas, I’m sure he will proceed to quickly make another ridiculous point.

  32. Burg Says:

    Caddy will always be one of those “could have been” guys, like Rocco was.

  33. mjmoody Says:

    I remember Caddy working on those hands in his 2nd year. Then he caught that TD pass against the Rams last season. The pass that got him paid. Pardon my soapbox but this is what makes this team so much fun to watch. I drank the kool-aid way back in the early 90′s. I like watching my Bucs’ grow up and get better. Now I’m old enough that I get to watch my coach grow up too. It feels pretty good.

 
 

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