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Williams Fights Through Injury

Posted Sep 26, 2011

Until he arrived at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday, Rams running back Cadillac Williams was under the distinct impression that his role against the Ravens would be to share the load with returning starter Steven Jackson.

Jackson was cleared to return to the lineup following Saturday’s walk through and though Williams knew Jackson would be limited, he also thought that it’d be more of a timeshare.

“I wasn’t really anticipating it, especially when I heard Jack was going so I kind of figured with both of us being kind of banged up it was going to be more or less both of us sharing the load,” Williams said.

Before the game, though, coach Steve Spagnuolo let Williams know that Jackson’s role would be limited to short yardage and third down opportunities and Williams would be asked to take on a bigger role.

Himself coming off a hamstring injury, Williams braced for a heavy work load.

“But coach kind of came to me before the game and was like ‘Well, you know Jack is going but we are going to use him more on third down, short yardage’ And we are going to see how you feel to take the bulk of the carries,” Williams said.

Williams did indeed get the bulk of the carries against the Ravens stout run defense. And despite not practicing most of the week, Williams actually fared quite well.

When all was said and done, Williams posted 18 carries for 75 yards and a catch for 4 more yards.

For the season, Williams now leads the Rams in rushing with 50 carries for 202 yards, an average of slightly more than 4 yards per attempts and is third on the team with nine receptions for 57 yards.

“I thought he ran pretty well for the most part,” Spagnuolo said. “He seems to think he came out OK. I don’t know that he was 100 percent; I think he’d tell you that. But in this league you don’t always have 46, 100 percent body-type guys throughout the season. Certainly as we get going further and further it will be tougher and tougher.”

Despite the bigger than expected workload, Williams does believe he came out of the game just fine. While he said he didn’t have his full burst, the experience of playing on an injured hamstring was new to him.

“Yeah, I did, I came out of it well,” Williams said. “I still really didn’t have that explosiveness, it still kind of grabbed. But as far as re injuring it, I feel like it’s getting better. I feel like this week here, it should be not a problem.”

Williams has had some injury issues in his career but none of those were soft tissue things like a hamstring. So dealing with it was something new for Williams. 

“What’s weird is it’s actually my first one I have ever tweaked or whatever,” Williams said. “Everybody says to be careful because you can feel good but you’re not really good. That’s one thing I worried about. But I think the training staff did a good job the whole week of treatment and just getting me prepared to play.”

BRADFORD BANGED UP: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford was sacked five times and hurried 11 more by the Ravens in the unofficial pressbox statistics.

After the game, Bradford was moving noticeably slow after Baltimore continued its relentless attack for all four quarters.

Bradford said Sunday it was the most beat up he’s been after a game in his short NFL career.

“Yeah, probably,” Bradford said. “I took probably more hits tonight than I have in a while, so I probably am a little more beat up than I have been the first two games.”

On Monday, Spagnuolo revealed that Bradford suffered a sprained toe in the game and though it’s not believed to be serious, it is going to need treatment and care during practice this week.

Spagnuolo also said there is going to be added emphasis on protecting Bradford this week.

“Yeah, (I’m) very concerned,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s a focus.”

KING LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK: By his own admission, Sunday’s game against the Ravens was a tough one for cornerback Justin King.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco targeted rookie wideout Torrey Smith three times in the first quarter and Smith was able to get the better of King in most situations, including the 74-yard touchdown on Baltimore’s second play from scrimmage.

“I just could have made the play,” King said. “That’s what I am paid to do. I am paid to man up on guys and I got beat. I’ve just got to show character now and get back to work and fix the mistakes.”

On Monday, Spagnuolo gave King a vote of confidence. While acknowledging that King struggled, Spagnuolo said he likes King’s attitude and believes he will bounce back.

“I would say this about Justin King; did he struggle on a couple plays? Yes, but that guy played his butt off the whole game,” Spagnuolo said. “You watch a couple of plays; he’s throwing himself in there. He caused a fumble on Joe Flacco there, which I thought was a good play. He’s all over the place and he’s playing nickel and he is playing corner. I’ll go to battle with Justin King.”

INJURY REPORT:  The Rams seemingly made it out of Sunday’s game relatively healthy.

In addition to Bradford’s toe injury, the only other ailments of note were safety Darian Stewart (finger), tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (back tightness), King (stinger) and defensive tackle Darell Scott (thumb).

Of that group, only Scott’s injury appears to be anything beyond a normal bump and bruise. He is expected to see a specialist this week.

“This one we didn’t know about yesterday,” Spagnuolo said. “He is going to be seen by a hand specialist, so you always get a little concerned when you’re talking about fingers, hands, thumbs.”

Jackson and Williams both came out of the game in good shape and are expected to return to a more normal routine this week in practice and in Sunday’s game.

“Hopefully,” Spagnuolo said. “Yes that’s the hope.”

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