NFC South: Carnell Williams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers mailbag

October, 28, 2010
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are up in our series of team-by-team mailbags.

Carlos in Panama writes: What has happened to Tampa's linebackers? You were singing their praises during offseason, preseason and the beginning of the season but now they seem to be dormant. I don't see Quincy Black, Geno Hayes or Barrett Ruud making big plays EVER on a game-to-game basis. Why?

Pat Yasinskas: Yes, I was singing their praises because the coaches and the front office were saying they expected big things from the linebackers. It hasn’t played out that way, but I think the reason is fairly obvious. The young defensive line isn’t playing very well, and it’s not keeping blockers away from linebackers. Rookie defensive tackle Brian Price has been hurt and fellow rookie Gerald McCoy is still adjusting to the NFL game. Until the Bucs get better up front, the linebackers won’t have a chance to shine.

Gerald in Casper, Wyoming writes: Going back to the draft in which Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez were selected ahead of him, don't you think Josh Freeman is doing more with less than the other two? The reason the Bucs are winning is because of Freeman with a less than stellar cast while Stafford has been hurt and Sanchez has Pro Bowl talent at every position.

Pat Yasinskas: Well, scouts don’t always get it exactly right. But the Bucs said they had Freeman rated ahead of Stafford and Sanchez, and I know one other general manager who told me Freeman was the highest quarterback on his team’s board last year. We’ll see how the careers of those three quarterbacks play out over time. But, right now, I like Freeman the best of the bunch.

Mike in Orlando writes: Is it too soon to start making John Elway comparisons when talking about Josh Freeman? He seems to have that same knack for carrying his team to 4th quarter comebacks.

Pat Yasinskas: Yes, just a little too early. It’s still very early in Freeman’s career. But he is showing a knack for making clutch plays, and that’s extremely encouraging. I’m very interested to see how he continues to develop as the Bucs work to improve his supporting cast.

Chris in Winter Park, Fla., writes: In your blog on what Raheem Morris said in his interveiw is correct. The Bucs aren't the best in the NFC, but if they continue the way they are going by winning the rest of their away games and winning the easy home games then they just might be at the level. Also have you seen what they can do in the 2nd half is amazing -- they are shutting down teams. Finally if the Bucs find their running game and defense then they will be set, because I see what Raheem is getting at.

Pat Yasinskas: Yep, there’s no doubt Morris’ comments were, at very least, premature. But, so what? He’s showing confidence in his team, and there’s nothing wrong with that. He clearly has this team headed in the right direction.

Drew in Clearwater, Fla., writes: I liked the way the Bucs finally had some semblance of a running game in the 2nd half of the game versus the Rams. Do you think that we will see more of LeGarrette Blount as the primary back and maybe more of Carnell Williams as the 3rd down back? Blount seems to have more of a burst and is quite a bit tougher to tackle. I know that he isn't experienced picking up blitzes but I believe that he can do the job if given the opportunity. Plus it actually makes our offense 2 dimensional. What do you think?

Pat Yasinskas: I think it’s safe to expect Blount’s playing time to continue to increase. But I think he and Williams will be splitting time at running back. It’s a long season and you need at least two quality running backs. Early indications are the Bucs might have stumbled onto something good by giving Blount a shot.

NFC South mailbag

March, 20, 2010
The final load of laundry is finishing up, the suitcase is partly packed and, soon, the NFC South Blog team bus will leave for Orlando and the NFL owners meeting. But as I waited for that laundry to finish, I took a quick look through the mailbag. Here you go.

Bobby in Burlington, NC writes: Keep feeding us these GREAT articles about the Cats!! First King Julius(a masterpiece) and then the one on our two-headed monster. Glad to know it's premium fuel they run on. Glad Marty Hurney and John Fox picked DeAngelo Williams over that idiot Lendale White. One prime example of excellent drafting. Too bad they don't make more decisions like this. DeAngelo defintely needs a raise though!!

Pat Yasinskas: Be patient. I think DeAngelo’s raise will be coming. The flip side of this purge is you could see guys like Williams, Jon Beason and Thomas Davis end up with long-term contracts. By the way, DeAngelo actually used the term “supreme’’ fuel.

Chris in Harrisburg, PA writes: I have been reading how everyone is wondering why the Glazers aren't spending any money on UFA's and I am kind of sick of hearing fans bash the Front Office for not pursuing guys like Dunta Robinson, Brandon Marshall or Julius Peppers. Don't they know that they need to save money to resign some of their own key players like Tanard Jackson, Davin Joseph, Barrett Ruud, and yes maybe even Geno Hayes?

Pat Yasinskas: Chris, I’m with you -- to a large degree. It’s very easy to sit there and call the Glazers cheap. Too easy and too many fans just do that because they can. Now, there may be something to be said about their frugality, but I don’t think it’s fair or accurate to say it until you look at all angles. You’re making a good point about keeping some of their own players and I’m glad you did. As far as pointing to Manchester United and saying the soccer team is draining the football team, I think that’s a huge leap. If someone out there has actually seen the books -- and not just read a few stories about Manchester United’s debt -- and you know for sure the Bucs are cheap, then let me know. But don’t just speculate about it. In other words, if you want to talk, be able to back it up.

Mookie in Snellville, GA writes: Pat, I know the chat is over. But I had to leave a comment to you on the 02' Bucs vs. 09' Saints. If my memory serves me correct, Aaron Brooks and the 02' Saints swept the 02' Bucs that year. Drew Brees and Co. woulda crushed them easily !!!

Pat Yasinskas: I promise, that will be factored in later this summer when we do our project on the best NFC South team ever and the best single-season team in the history of all four franchises.

Nate in Palmer, Alaska writes: The Bucs depth at running back seems pretty good this upcoming season. It appeared last season Derrick Ward was supposed to be the man at RB for the Bucs Carnell Williams returned with such force and energy. As a long time Bucs fan, I think he was one of the very few highlights of our 2008/09 season and wouldn't mind seeing him get the starting nod this year. What are your thoughts on this?

Pat Yasinskas: Yes, Ward was brought in to be the starter and got big money. He never really produced like the Bucs had imagined. Williams did produce. He won the starting job last year and I don’t anticipate that changing.