Ward “Has Shown He’s Just A Backup”

June 28th, 2010

A couple of months ago Bucs offensive coordinator Greg Olson told the The Tampa Tribune that Derrick Ward would see more action this year, in part to help “get Cadillac through another year.”

“Part of the reason Derrick was signed was our concerns about Cadillac Williams coming back from two devastating knee injuries. I didn’t think he’d play last year, but Caddy played well for us. We will play Derrick more this season so we can get Cadillac through another year. We’re going to utilize all of them, but there’s no doubt spreading the football among three backs is difficult,” [Olson said].

At the time, that statement simply seemed like Olson acknowledging the obvious: that Cadillac is damaged goods and the Bucs want to get much more out of Ward. Remember, the Bucs are paying Ward a lot more cash than Cadillac.

Now, Pat “Vacation Man” Yasinskas, of BSPN, reports that Cadillac is completely healthy and the No. 1 running back.

… It’s not hard to imagine Williams turning in a bigger year in 2010. He’s completely healthy now and he’s the unquestioned starter at running back. The Bucs have shifted Earnest Graham over to fullback and Derrick Ward, who was signed last year with the dream of him becoming the feature back, has shown he’s just a backup.

Joe’s not so sure Vacation Man is accurate when it comes to the clarity of the Bucs running back situation. Cadillac’s health is relative. He played well last year with his carries limited because of his two horrific knee injuries. But Joe would be stunned if the Bucs chose to rely on him to carry the load in 2010.

Ward may be “just a backup” in Vacation Man’s world, but Joe suspects Ward will get every opportunity to lead the Bucs in carries and prove the front office’s investment in him was a wise move.

22 Responses to “Ward “Has Shown He’s Just A Backup””

  1. RahDomDaBest Says:

    Patty Y is rarely accurate. How on earth did he pull off the ESPN NFC South gig anyway???

    I wonder if that’s his full time job?

    Joe, you give away more analysis for free than what Patty Y get’s paid for.

  2. eric Says:

    Not sure why Ward was not considered “fools gold”, but perhaps he was signed before the grand plan/scam was hatched by Glazerland.

    Probably a moot point, as opposing defenses will shut down our running game, and we have no answer through the air.

    It is not hard to imagine that Y is a hack.

  3. bucfanjeff Says:

    Pay Penn. (I know, not a Penn article, but if anyone in the Bucs FO reads this site, it should be obvious how F@#$ed they are if he’s not in camp.)

  4. RahDomDaBest Says:

    I actually think D Ward is better than a back-up but not an elite starting HB. So he is a tweener.

    as far as Caddy, I don’t think he is elite either since his knees are so fragile… and since he lacks elite power. But Caddy is in the middle of the pack for starting HBs.

    What really bugs me, is that Earnets Graham was the most consistent back of all, play in and play out. The offense beneifted from Graham far more than Caddy, because Graham made the defense step up in the box to stop him. He was always getting extra yards, thereby helping the passing game as it was always in 2nd and 3rd and shorts.

  5. Patrick Says:


    Graham is great talent that’s just going to waste and his career is gonna be over quick because our HOF coach is having him play fullback!!! It’s a joke.

    Earnest Graham is not built like a fullback and doesn’t have anywhere near the size that one must have to play the position. He’s 5’9, 220 lbs. Raheem needs to have his head examined if he thinks this is a good option. Btw, we also have two other “actual fullbacks” on the team in Rendrick Taylor and Chris Pressley. They are both big, strong guys that actually have the size and who actually “play” the position. And Graham starts over them??!!!

    Rendrick Taylor: 6’2, 255 lbs. Chris Pressley: 5’11, 260 lbs.

    Someone please get Raheem a doctor.

  6. TJ Says:

    Still believe in Ward I just feel like the bucs got away from the run point blank and that is horriable cause they put way too much pressure on freeman. Look at Flaco, Rothesburgher, Sanchez good running games not alot of pressure was on them there rookie years. Alot of temas would love to have 3 capable RB’s. Grahm is not being used at all he should be the short yardage and RB in the game with the lead. Ward should spell caddilac and Ward should be the 3rd down back. Would not be a bad idea to get clifton smith in on some 3rd downs and get him in space (if he can hold on to the ball)

  7. BigMacAttack Says:

    I don’t think that Earnest is just at FB to block. I think they plan to utilize him on 3’rd down screens, check downs and counters. They obviously feel Cadi can consistently gain the most running yards, but the more Graham is on the field the better their chances are. I tend to agree with their plan, but I think Pressley will play a good amount, and Taylor is not good enough to make the team this year. TE’s block as well. Graham is a pretty good chipper in Pass protection and still our best option at FB IMO, but he is not built like a FB. Oddly enough Cadi and Graham both have huge arms and upper bodies and possess excellent upper body strength. They both can stiff arm, smack you in the head well. I don’t think our backs are as weak as other’s think, but we need Penn and we need Gilmore to run block well, along with the rest of the cast.

  8. Tom Says:


    Did you ever agree on whether you were wrong in your assessment that Freeman absolutely should not play as a rookie, it appears that outside of the Carolina game he showed an awful lot, has lots game film of himself it’s reported that he analyzes and is better for the experience. I seem to recall you saying you would post a retraction if it proved to be positive and all indications are that it was.

    The reason I ask is that when Ward proves he is a bust this season will you admit your bias toward him getting more carries last year was wrong too given that he didn’t earn more? Whether anyone else higher up a similarly foolish opinion, it is pretty clear in your posts wording that you felt he was “underutilized” only getting 100+ carries.

  9. admin Says:

    Joe here –

    Tom – Of course, Freeman’s got a long way to go, but he showed enough to offer real hope. Clearly him playing last year was a positive for his development, so it sure seems. But there are a lot of variables in last year’s QB situation, none the least of which is the absolute joke of a way the Bucs handled the quarterback position last year starting by bringing in Leftwich. And subsequently not having a QB coach for Freeman. If Joe had to do it again, Joe would have made him the No. 2 QB as soon as he got here and not thrown him in the way it played out for the Bucs. … … As for Ward, the guy had an excellent opening day against a good team and then Olson couldn’t figure out how to use him. Definitely felt he was underutilized, especially considering the 3-13 record and anemic running game. …Sure, if Ward stinks, Joe is happy to say Joe was wrong and Ward was a bust.

  10. eric Says:

    Yeah but which Joe!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Eric – That’s like wondering, ‘which Glazer?’

  12. eric Says:


    Except for the billion dollars!

  13. Patrick Says:


    What do you think of my post concerning the fullback position above?? Please read it and tell me if you agree or disagree.

  14. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Eric – Mere details. 😉

  15. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Patrick – Agreed that Graham seems like a lock to be injured as a starting fullback, and it will surely shorten his career. But if Pressley was all that, then he’d be playing. Taylor, nobody knows about this guy.

  16. Joe Says:


    The reason I ask is that when Ward proves he is a bust this season will you admit your bias toward him getting more carries last year was wrong too given that he didn’t earn more? Whether anyone else higher up a similarly foolish opinion, it is pretty clear in your posts wording that you felt he was “underutilized” only getting 100+ carries.

    Joe doesn’t know if Ward is a bust or not but it seems like it wasn’t money well spent at this point. Joe has zero bias for or against Ward. Joe just knows someone in the highest reaches at One Buc Palace was upset with Greg Olson for not giving Ward the ball more.

    The only bias Joe has in the Bucs running game is that whoever gets the ball gains yards.

  17. TJ Says:

    Joe I have to say if Ward does not pan out. We can say outside of the Winslow trade that Domminck may have good drafts but in the area of Free agency and resinging free agents he is lost in that area. I just never have got this if the Glazers are cheap why waste money on Clayton, who in reality is not helping freeman grown, but Penn can and will keep freeman from being the next Concussion king, just dont understand it alll and never will

  18. Capt.Tim Says:

    Derrick Ward could actually be a very good back behind a great Offensive line(The Captain nows waits for the roars of” we don’t have a great offensive line ” to die down) . Well, if we don’t have great offensive line, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO RUNS THE BALL!! Unless we are gonna clone Jim Brown or Earl Campbell, there aren’t any backs who dominate behind a weak line.While Three of our starters are pretty good(Penn,Faine,Joseph), on is below average( Trueblood),and one shouldn’t be starting(Zuttah). And we have no depth at all. Great lines make great Backfields. Weak lines turn Allstars into Also rans! If our running game is any better than mediocre, then we have good backs.

  19. Joe Says:

    Capt. Tom:

    Joe doesn’t buy that the Bucs have a weak line. What other NFL team would turn down Jeff Faine? What other NFL team woudl turn down Davin Joseph? Joe’s not sure there are 25 other NFL teams who would turn away Jeremy Trueblood. Donald Penn has proven he’s one of the better pass blockers in the league.

    Problem is, these guys are not groomed to zone block. They may be able to but it takes more than a few games to get that down.

  20. Capt.Tim Says:

    Graham is at fullback to extend his career. Blockers don’t get tackled, so he will stay healthy, and excell as a reciever in the flats. Graham one on one in the flats is gonna be a big part of our playbook this year! While Graham does not have prototypical size for a “normal” fullback, the Bucs aren’t playing a standard fullback offense. Olsen is using a hybrid of the west Coast offense, which ussually dosent even have a fullback. In the new offense, Graham is almost always the dump off option, which Graham has a unique talent for. By the way, the new offense looks really innovative and exciting! Attacks a defense at 3 levels almost every play, lots of Deep options, which really play to Freeman’s strength, and Grahams! To bad that I don’t think the line will be able ta block well enough for any of that to develop:)

  21. Capt.Tim Says:

    Pretty sure we won’t go injury free all season. You wanna whip up a depth chart? You’ll see where my concerns lie. And thats ncluding the fact that I believe Dotson is gonna be really good!

  22. Joe Says:

    Graham is at fullback to extend his career.

    It ain’t working.