Cadillac, 2007's QB and the coaching

Published November 5, 2006

This week's electronic conversation between Sports columnists Gary Shelton and John Romano focuses on Cadillac Williams, next season's quarterback and the coaching.

JR: So Gary, I think we can both agree the Bucs are not getting enough use out of Cadillac Williams. Since they rarely take him out for a spin, do you suppose they'll try to return him to Auburn for a refund?

GS: Would you buy a used car from Bruce Allen? Even one with low miles?

JR: Hmmm, not if it was inspected by the Bucs medical staff.

GS: Maybe Cadillac will be lucky today. Maybe there won't be a tornado in the middle of the field, which means the Bucs might not pass as much. What do you think?

JR: At this point, it's hard to be optimistic about a change in the prevailing winds. The Bucs have attempted to run the ball less than any team in the league other than Detroit. And that's only because the Lions are still saving themselves in case Barry Sanders changes his mind.

GS: Why run the ball? After all, you have a rookie quarterback and receivers who drop passes and a young offensive line. Throw in 40 mph winds, and it turns a coach into Don Coryell.

JR: Or Don Corleone. Be careful or you might wake up with a quarterback's spleen in your bed.

GS: If Bruce Gradkowski has impressed Gruden enough to get 48 throws in a game, has he impressed him enough to be next year's quarterback? What do you think? Gradkowski or Chris Simms?

JR: Like Gruden, I'll choose to pass. We still don't know enough about Gradkowski to know whether a franchise should be built around him. As for Simms, I'm guessing he'll see greener pastures - and greener paychecks - somewhere else. How do you see it?

GS: Unless Gradkowski has a great second half of the season, I think there will be another candidate on the game show. They will bring in a veteran quarterback this offseason.

JR: I think you're right, although teams rarely let good quarterbacks hit the open market. Drew Brees was an exception. Most of the time, you'll see discarded veterans (i.e. Mark Brunell) or you'll overpay for unproven hot shots (i.e. Matt Schaub). Can I get you a Trent Dilfer for your birthday?

GS: I don't think I want a Trent for my birthday, and I know he doesn't want a Gary for his. Maybe Brad Johnson could come back. As you know, the Bucs have never replaced Brad. Or Warren. Or John. If you think about it, they haven't even replaced Roman Oben.

JR: How bad is this offensive line that we're pining for the days of Roman Oben?

GS: The Roman Empire, I think we called the old days. Wasn't it just last year we thought the young line had some fight and some potential? You add in two high draft picks, and it's gone backward? That's a problem, too. Too many players - Simms, Cadillac, Michael Clayton - seem to flash one season and fall the next. Doesn't that disturb you?

JR: In the case of Clayton, I think the fault is his own. As for Simms and Cadillac and the offensive line, I think you have to seriously question how they were utilized.

GS: When a team is 2-5, all questions are serious. Still, I think the Bucs beat New Orleans this week. I think Cadillac runs the ball 26 times. And, after the game, I think Jon Gruden thanks all of us for our constructive criticism. Do you think we'll each get a game ball, or will we have to share?

JR: Hey, I'm not in the smart aleck business for the booty. Annoying people is reward enough.

GS: You should feel like Goldfinger. And I'm not sure you're the most annoying guy in this conversation.