Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cadillac's Back

Cadillac Williams returns to practice after missing Thursday’s session with a back ailment…Plus updates on Dan Buenning, Dave Moore and the long-snapping situation

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RB Cadillac Williams, who practiced on Friday, said he probably would have played had the game been held on Thursday

After sitting out Thursday's practice to rest a sore back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Cadillac Williams returned to the field Friday and should be ready to play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

"It feels pretty good," Williams said of his back after the week's last full-speed practice. "I went through practice, full practice, had a nice workout. I feel pretty good."

Head Coach Jon Gruden was pleased to have his star running back on the practice field Friday and said Williams' situation has improved.

"He did practice; it's a credit to him," Gruden said. "This has been a little deal here that's inhibited him, to say the least, here in the last seven or eight days, but he is improving. That's a good sign. The best sign is that he's tough as hell. He can probably play with just about anything. We are concerned, we are concerned yet optimistic."

Last weekend against the Baltimore Ravens, Williams carried the ball only eight times for 22 yards, adding five receptions. Those uncharacteristic numbers were partly due to the Buccaneers' growing deficit on the scoreboard but also partly due to back spasms suffered by Williams during the game.

Williams said he underwent a precautionary MRI the next day to ensure nothing was seriously wrong with his back.

"Yeah, I had an MRI done," Williams said. "There's nothing abnormal, everything looks good. It's just a little tightness, spasms. I'm definitely getting better, though."

That's good news for the Buccaneers, who are counting on Williams returning to his 2005 form against the Falcons in a game that marks the start of three consecutive divisional contests. In his first three NFL games last season, Williams carried the ball 88 times and rushed for 434 yards, setting a rookie record. He also gained 366 combined rushing yards in his two games against the Falcons.

"I'm definitely looking forward to [Sunday's game]," Williams said. "Last Sunday is over with. I'm kind of approaching it as if we're 0-0 and our season starts Sunday. For us to be going on the road at Atlanta, against our rivals in our conference – I'm looking forward to it. I'm sure everybody else is, too.

"If the game was today, I would definitely be ready to roll."

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Other Updates from Friday's practice

  • Tight end Dave Moore, who suffered a rib injury against the Baltimore Ravens, will miss Sunday's game. That was made official when Moore was downgraded to "out" on the Bucs' injury report Friday. In his absence, the Buccaneers are currently planning to use either tight end Doug Jolley or guard Jeb Terry at long snapper. Gruden said he does not expect Moore's injury to be season-ending.
  • Guard Dan Buenning (ankle) is still listed as questionable on the injury report though he did practice Friday. Gruden said Buenning did some good things on the field, but his status may ultimately be a game-time decision.
  • Gruden said the team has worked hard all week to rebound from its season-opening loss to Baltimore and should turn in a much improved performance against Atlanta.

"I showed our players a lot of games from last week," he said. "There were some very, very ugly performances from a lot of people. We happen to be one of those teams. The game slaps you right into a real sense of reality. If you're not rolling and you're not ready, teams are good enough nowadays to make you look bad. Watch the Ravens throughout the year. If they get a lead on you, they're a pain in the butt. They are really good, and I hate to keep readdressing it but this team has practiced well. We've practiced in pads a lot, a lot of physical drills. We've worked in the noise, so yes I feel like we are prepared and hopefully it shows in our play."

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