TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 20, 2005) -- Cadillac Williams was so excited, he could hardly enjoy the moment.
The crowd roared when Tampa Bay's first-round draft pick was introduced during pregame introductions, and got even louder when he carried the ball for the first time in the Buccaneers' 20-17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"It's just crazy," Williams said. "I never thought it would be this way. I've thought of some wild stuff, but I never thought I'd be on cloud nine like this."
Williams gained 2 yards on his first carry, then picked up 5 on the next play. The crowd even cheered when he lost 1 on his third attempt.
The Jaguars may have won, however Bucs fans left reasonably happy after getting their first closeup view of the rookie running back who's going to be the centerpiece of Jon Gruden's offense.
David Garrard and Derrick Wimbush ran for second-half touchdowns and Josh Scobee kicked one of his two 29-yard field goals at the end of a 17-play, 10-minute drive that was a reminder of how Jacksonville struggled to get the ball into the end zone last season.
The Jaguars were last in the AFC and 29th in the NFL in scoring in 2004. They marched 77 yards against the Bucs' No. 2 defense in the second quarter, with Byron Leftwich completing 9 of 10 passes for 73 yards before the drive stalled at the Tampa Bay 11.
|The Jaguars won the game, though Williams made a solid impression.|
"It's just a process," Leftwich said. "We are in step two."
The Bucs don't want to take any unnecessary risks with Williams, so the fifth pick in this year's draft will play sparingly in the preseason, especially with the team sorting through problems on an injury-riddled offensive line.
Williams sat out all but one play of Tampa Bay's opener at Tennessee, and didn't carry the ball. He got it five times and gained 13 yards against the Jaguars, and his best run of the night -- a 10-yard burst off right tackle -- was wiped out by a holding penalty.
"It felt wonderful to get out there...It's an amazing feeling," said Williams, who played a little more than a quarter.
"I was pleading with the coaches to let me play the whole first half. Maybe next week, I can play the whole first half and just get in that groove. As the game goes on, I get better."
Three injured starters on the Bucs' line -- tackle Derrick Deese and guards Matt Stinchcomb and Jeb Terry -- sat out the game. Anthony Davis, the leading candidate to start at left tackle if Deese doesn't return soon from a foot injury, also missed the game.
The Jaguars played without running back Fred Taylor, who is recovering from offseason surgery to repair torn knee ligaments. Safety Donovin Darius, linebacker Daryl Smith and cornerback David Richardson were pregame scratches on defense.
Garrard, Jacksonville's backup quarterback, scored on a 7-yard run in
the third quarter. Wimbush's 9-yard TD run gave the Jaguars a 20-9 lead
that Tampa Bay trimmed to three points on Luke
McCown's 45-yard TD pass to
The game ended with Tampa Bay's Matt Bryant missing a 53-yard field goal that would have forced overtime.
Although Jacksonville's first-team offense only produced a pair of field goals, Garrard said it's too early to draw conclusions.
"It's the preseason and I don't think they should be judged too terribly. They will get it going, and they will turn it up," Garrard said. "Byron is a great leader, and he will get them going."