Texan feels for Bucs' rookie end

By STEPHEN F. HOLDER, Times Staff Writer
Published December 7, 2007

TAMPA - If anyone knows what Bucs rookie Gaines Adams has faced this season, it's Mario Williams.

The fellow defensive end was chosen first overall in 2006 by Sunday's opponent, the Texans, and has seen tremendous growth in his second year.

"It's just being more comfortable about going out there and playing ball, not having to decipher everything that's going on," Williams said. "My head was spinning last year with everything that was going on. This year, I'm just a lot more comfortable."

It shows in his play. Williams has 81/2 sacks through 12 games after 41/2 in 16 in 2006. Overall, he is playing more evenly. The process will be the same for Adams, Williams said.

"The season is so long. It's totally different. It's a learning experience," Williams said on a conference call. "Through time and repetition, he'll be fine."

Adams already is seeing tangible progress. He notched another sack Sunday - he has 41/2 - and was a factor in the game's most pivotal play, Reggie Bush's errant pitch on New Orleans' late reverse. The ball was recovered by Tampa Bay, which went on to score the winning touchdown.

"I didn't see the receiver coming from the backside. But I saw Reggie coming, and I just got up the field," Adams said. "When (quarterback DrewBrees) gave him the ball, he got wide, so I got wide. At the last second, I just saw a guy coming around, and I guess I disrupted the play."

Regarding his recent development, Adams said there is "less thinking, more instinct. I would say that I've been more comfortable. Things have really just been going good. I can't really explain it."

CADDY'S BACK: Cadillac Williams, who had reconstructive knee surgery after September's season-ending injury, returned to Tampa this week after two-plus months at his mother's home in Alabama.

"He's a big part of our team. The guys look up to him," coach Jon Gruden said. "He's facing some dark, lonely moments right now. We want to be there for him. It breaks my heart, but he's doing good."

The time frame for Williams' return remains unclear.

INJURY REPORT: Quarterback Jeff Garcia (back) continues to improve and appears on schedule to play Sunday after missing one game. Fullback B.J. Askew (ankle) and running back Michael Pittman (ankle) did not practice. Receivers Ike Hilliard (knee) and Joey Galloway (toe) were limited.

EX-BUC ARRESTED: Charles Lee, a receiver for the Bucs from 2002-04, was arrested Wednesday, accused of violating probation on a robbery charge. Police say he robbed a person at gunpoint near the Central Florida campus. In June, Lee, last with Orlando of the Arena League, was sentenced to 36 months of probation for a robbery, according to an affidavit.

OPEN HOUSE: The Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School, of which linebacker Derrick Brooks is president of the governing board, has an open house Saturday for students interested in enrolling for the spring semester. It is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the school, 11602 N 15th St., Tampa.

Information from the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.