Bucs will have to carry on without Graham

November, 17, 2008
11/17/08
1:19
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

The good thing about not having a lot of offensive stars is that the Bucs won't be crippled by the loss of one player. But the bad news is it looks like they've lost the guy they least can afford to lose.

Graham

That's running back Earnest Graham. Coach Jon Gruden confirmed Monday what was suspected. Graham's ankle injury is serious and he's likely to miss the rest of the season.

That leaves the Bucs dangerously thin at running back. They've got veteran Warrick Dunn, who at this point in his career should be nothing more than a role player. They've got undrafted rookie Clifton Smith, who has a chance to someday be a role player.

And they've got Cadillac Williams, who is a total wild card after just returning from a major knee injury. The Bucs might be able to scrape through upcoming games against Detroit and New Orleans with a combination of Dunn and Smith and, perhaps, a gradual increase in Williams' role.

But, like it or not, Williams is going to play a major role in December. I still think the smart approach would have been to sit Williams until 2009. But that no longer matters. Fact is, Williams may have to carry this team starting with a Dec. 8 Monday night game against Carolina.

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