Steven Jackson Injury: Is Cadillac Williams a Viable Replacement for Rams RB?

Cian FaheyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 13: Carnell Williams #33 of the St. Louis Rams runs with the ball during the NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Colts 33-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Carnell "Cadillac" Williams averaged 4.8 yards per rush on 19 carries in relief for Steven Jackson and the St. Louis Rams in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jackson—the team's longtime star and all-time franchise leader in rushing—had two carries for 56 yards and a touchdown before injuring his quad.

The 28-year-old figured to be a huge part of the team's game plan; his injury was a big turning point in momentum against the Eagles. However, Josh MacDaniels understood that the value of Jackson in that particular game was much higher than it usually is.

That being said, it usually is pretty high, but this year the Rams were hoping to become a more balanced offense.

In recent years the whole offense has been based around Jackson. For the most part, the Rams have been cellar-dwellers and have lacked a respectable quarterback under center. Last year Jackson still had 330 carries, but the offense as a whole was more balanced.

This year Sam Bradford is expected to emerge and carry a greater load of the offense with better targets on the outside. Should Jackson miss games and if Bradford overcomes his finger injury, the offense would be able to survive with Carnell Williams in the backfield.

Williams has had his problems with knee injuries in the past, but played 16 games last year for the Buccaneers and looks to be 100 percent healthy right now. He is a tough runner and a good receiver out of the backfield. He won't break off huge runs like Jackson can, but he will punish defenses and make them respect the run.

His knees may have been a problem, but outside of that he has a body built to carry the load. He wouldn't need to split time with anyone and the team could bring in Jerious Norwood on third downs to spell him should they need to.

Had Jackson been injured in the past, the Rams offense would have capitulated. However, if Bradford can stay healthy, he is now the most vital cog to the team's success.

Danny Amendola may be out for the majority of the season, but Brandon Gibson had a great day against Nnamdi Asomugha this week, Mike Sims-Walker is just waiting to break out and the team is deep at tight end. They don't have one star tight end, but they have a few reliable options including Lance Kendricks, who looks like a very talented rookie.

With Josh MacDaniels at the helm, he will understand that his best piece is now at the quarterback position. The loss of Jackson won't fully be covered by the addition of Williams in the lineup, but MacDaniels won't be looking to do that.

In a sense, Cadillac Williams isn't a viable replacement for Steven Jackson. But he is able to provide enough for the offense not to skip a beat should a slight change in philosophy be made.