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    Farr: Jerious Norwood and Cadillac Williams Seek Redemption with Rams

    Jerious Norwood and Cadillac Williams Seek Redemption with Rams
    By D'Marco Farr
    Published: August 04, 2011 @ 6:38am

    The Rams have signed two different running backs who both seek one thing - redemption.

    Jerious Norwood and Cadillac Williams will get a chance to compete to win the job as the second and third tailback behind Pro-Bowler Steven Jackson against holdovers Keith Toston and Chauncey Washington.

    I got a feeling that RB Jerious Norwood would be leaving the Falcons soon after Atlanta drafted RB Jaquizz Rodgers out of Oregon State in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. I figured the Falcons could go with a Michael Turner, Jason Snelling, and Rodgers backfield and be pretty darn good with that combo in the NFC South. However, I also told myself not to be surprised if Norwood blew up somewhere else. Since he's here in St. Louis now let's hope I was right. OK, so he's had a lot of injuries during his career, but that's football folks. No one can predict injuries but what Norwood has shown in the past is an exceptional ability to run the football in the NFL.

    I didn't like they way they used him in Atlanta anyway. I didn't believe they were creative enough to get the most out of his ability. When Atlanta hired Mike Mularkey in 2008 to run the offense there was a major philosophical switch going from a zone blocking scheme to more power blocking. To me, Norwood is a great one-cut, inside outside zone runner and with Atlanta's new emphasis on power based running schemes it caused his production to drop.

    That is also football.

    Sometimes a player just doesn't fit what you're trying to do. I have a feeling that Mularkey prefers bigger and more physical running backs. He likes to punish defenses with a brutal Pittsburgh Steelers style running game. Norwood's talents simply didn't match. He's a true speed back with great stutter step, but in an offense where most running plays are attacking up the middle it really limited his effectiveness. When they did get him into space there where flashes of brilliance. I'd love to see Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels use Norwood has he should be used, as a true speed back. When healthy he has the potential to be one of the most exciting runners in the NFL. When healthy his stats and highlights are remarkable. It too bad that he didn't fit into Atlanta's offensive scheme, but it could be great for the Rams. And I'm not entirely sure that the scheme change did not contribute to his injuries.

    As for the newly signed Williams he still has a special place with the Tampa Bay franchise given his impressive first season when he led all rookies in total rushing yards with 1178. His battled back from a pair of torn patellar tendons in 2007 and 2008 made him a folk hero among the Buccaneers fan base. His bounce back performance in 2009, when he played in all 16 games and was the club's leading rusher with 839 yards on 217 carries cemented his status as an against all odds type of player that everyone roots for.

    The comeback last year was emotional and there were modest expectations going into the 2010 season. I really didn't see Cadillac as a thousand yard back anymore, but I did not see him doing any worse than the previous year. If anything, I thought we would see slight improvement. His knees should have been much healthier in 2010 and that should have made a big difference in how harder and fast he would able to run. Maybe we would get to see that quick burst through the hole that made him so effective at Auburn.

    Going into training camp last season I thought that Cadillac was still the best running back on the Buccaneers roster even though Derrick Ward was signed in March to a four- year contract worth $17 million in 2009. Ward rushed 114 times for 409 yards and just 1 touchdown and was cut from the team in August. Tampa didn't need a Pro Bowl caliber season from Cadillac, just a compliment to an emerging passing game with Josh Freeman. Cadillac was a dominant running back when he was handed the ball 24 times a game. With head coach Raheem Morris's commitment to transitioning the offense to go through Freeman, Cadillac's days of the bell cow back were all but done.

    Reality set in during an October game that saw the Buccaneers beat the Rams 18-17 at home. It was obvious that rookie backup LeGarrette Blount needed to be the starting running back. The 47-yard run that Blount busted was called back by a blocking penalty that had nothing to do with his breakaway rumble. It was the best run from scrimmage I saw all day. You could tell the crowd wanted to see more of Blount and he delivered 72 yards on just 11 carries (6.5 yard average) coming off the bench. Williams found other ways to be effective and was Tampa Bay's leading receiver with eight catches for 34 yards, including the game-winning touchdown reception which says a lot about him. It was clear early in the game that he would be taking a permanent backseat to Blount he didn't pout and disappear. He was ready to make plays when called upon. He finished the day with only 4 carries for 12 yards but he found away to rip off a big 10 yard gain in the fourth quarter.

  2. #2
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    Re: Farr: Jerious Norwood and Cadillac Williams Seek Redemption with Rams

    WOW! I'm glad he doesn't write for the Clan. (Lots of mistakes) LOL!!!

    I hope he's right about Norwood and Cadillac having something to prove. If these 2 guys make the most of their opportunities when on the field we will be one prolific offense!

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