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I guess it was a good idea to get rid of Petitgout


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Bucs' Cadillac, Petitgout out for rest of year

Associated Press, Updated 1 day ago









Coach Jon Gruden cringed at the thought of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing the rest of the season without running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and tackle Luke Petitgout.



"You lose a lot of skill," Gruden said Monday after revealing both players will undergo season-ending knee surgery this week.


"Watching Philadelphia yesterday play without their left tackle and without their running back, it's not an easy thing to overcome," the coach added. "Experience and production at those positions is something an offense relies on."


The Eagles allowed 12 sacks and didn't score a touchdown in a 16-3 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.



The Bucs (3-1) were able to finish a 20-7 victory over Carolina after losing Williams and Petitgout, but Gruden knows it will be difficult to stay atop the NFC South without two key players.


Williams was carted from the field in the first quarter after hurting his right knee when he was tackled by Carolina safety Chris Harris at the end of an 18-yard run. Petitgout limped off in the second quarter after defensive tackle Kris Jenkins fell into his right leg at the line.


"That's a big blow. ... We have some people who need to step up now," Gruden said.


The Bucs will use of a combination of Michael Pittman and Earnest Graham to replace Williams, the 2005 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and Tampa Bay's leading rusher the past two seasons. They finished Sunday with 138 of Tampa Bay's 189 yards rushing against the Panthers.


Petitgout, a ninth-year pro who spent his first eight seasons with the New York Giants, was signed during the offseason to stabilize an offensive line that has three starters in their first or second year in the NFL.


Donald Penn, a second-year pro, will take over Petitgout's spot at left tackle.


"We're confident in Donald Penn. ... Michael Pittman helped us win a couple division championships here and Earnest Graham is clearly a capable runner and receiver," Gruden said. "We'll move on and do the best we can in the absence of these two players."



Williams was the fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft and made an immediate impact, becoming the first running back in NFL history to begin his career with three consecutive 100-yard games. He finished his rookie season with 1,178 yards and six touchdowns, then fell off to 798 yards and one TD in 2006.


He started slowly again this year, but was on the way to his best game of the season against Carolina. He gained 41 yards or six carries before being carted off, and finished the year with 208 yards and three TDs.


In a show of support, the entire Tampa Bay team came off the sideline to surround Williams as he was lifted onto the cart Sunday.


"To see a guy have a serious injury is hard to swallow, it's hard to take," Gruden said. "But we've got a lot of resolve on the team. We can't look at this as a season-ending situation. The season's just beginning. We're excited about what we have left."



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