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Rogers Hopes to Slow 'Cadillac'

For cornerback Carlos Rogers and running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, the trash talking began back in April just after the NFL Draft. Rogers had just been drafted ninth overall by the Redskins, while Williams was the fifth overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The two college roommates looked at their new teams' schedules and circled the Week 10 matchup between the Redskins and Bucs.

"I keep telling him, 'You all are going to be a top 10 pick again,' and he keeps telling me, 'You all are going to be sorry," Rogers said with a wide grin.

Obviously, these two longtime friends are joking. At Auburn last year, Rogers and Williams were roommates, as well as close friends with Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell and Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown.

Going up against Williams in practice at Auburn for several years, Rogers has a good read on Williams' running style.

"He knows that, as a defense, we'll be going after him," Rogers said. "He's going to try and run us over, especially me since I've been his roommate for the last three years. But he does try to make guys miss [on the tackle] and take it the distance."

Williams leads the Bucs with 496 rushing yards on 123 carries, a 4.0 yards-per-carry average. After getting off to a strong start--he set a rookie record by rushing for 434 yards in his first three NFL games--he has been slowed by a foot injury. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Bucs have lost three of their last four games.

In a conference call with Washington, D.C., reporters on Wednesday, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden rejected notions that Williams is worn down.

"That's crazy," Gruden said. "This guy plays his best football in the fourth quarter. I think most of his rushing yards come in the fourth quarter, when you could say that he was worn down. Carnell is a highly conditioned, highly competitive guy who has the potential to carry the ball 350-400 times per year."

Given Williams' injury, Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington has kept a close eye on backup running back Michael Pittman as well. Pittman, an eight-year veteran, rushed for 127 yards on 15 carries in a Week 6 game against the Miami Dolphins.

"Pittman is a nice number two back--he comes in and picks up the slack," said Washington, who also played his college ball at Auburn. "They're almost a one-two punch. Both guys are great cut-back runners. They're tough. They love to play football, and you can see it just by watching film."

Meantime, Rogers has gotten his pro career off to an impressive start as well. Despite a lingering ankle injury, he has played in seven of the Redskins' eight games, with three starts. His best game was in Week 3, when he tied for second on the team with seven tackles and added a forced fumble.

Given that he's a rookie and playing opposite veteran cornerback Shawn Springs, Rogers has stepped up and not cost the team by giving up any big plays. He has been solid as a tackler in run defense, logging 18 tackles (15 solo).

Asked why Auburn has produced so many quality running backs, with former Redskins running back Stephen Davis among them, Rogers replied: "I think the coaches down there have a good scheme. There's just a great group of guys down there who work hard. There's a great tradition for it. Now I'm trying to get a cornerback tradition going down there."

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