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November 27, 2009 @ 10:10 am
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Bates Could Accompany Bucs To Atlanta

Written by Jim
Jim Flynn


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Raheem Morris indicated Friday that Jim Bates, who was demoted as the team's defensive coordinator earlier this week, "probably" would accompany the team to Atlanta. In other news, the Bucs are fairly healthy heading into Sunday's NFC South division showdown. The same can't be said for the Falcons.

Although a decision has not yet been made, Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris suggested Friday that Jim Bates, who was demoted as the team's defensive coordinator earlier this week, probably would accompany the Bucs to Atlanta for their game against the Falcons on Sunday.

"Jim Bates is actually thinking about coming with us," said Morris. "We talked about it because he can help is in so many different ways from the box and things like that. We'll just have to wait and see.

"The decision is ours together. It's what is best for us. I want him to come and he wants to come, so more than likely he will be coming with us."

Morris has taken over Tampa Bay's defense, which currently ranks 27th in the NFL and is coming off a loss to New Orleans where the defense surrendered a season-high 38 points. The Bucs are moving back towards more of a Cover 2, one-gap defensive scheme, which is what it played in under Monte Kiffin from 1996-2008.

According to Morris, the transition went well for his players this week.

"They've done well," said Morris. "All of these guys kind of know me and are familiar with what I like to do and how I present. It's been a nice, smooth transition."

Although there's no guarantee he will remain with the team, Bates has aided Morris in the difficult transition this week.

"He's been great," Morris said of Bates. "He's been very communicative with me upstairs, and when we're up there we talk about tendencies and what the plan is and how we want to execute it. He's been hands on and helping me out big-time.

"You're always concerned about him as a man, but he's got he got great character and is a great character guy. He's always been that way. He's been a tough guy in this league, and this isn't going to take away his pride or power.

This has been a challenging week for Morris, who has been able to spend as much time with Tampa Bay's 29th-ranked offense due to his new duties as the Bucs' defensive coordinator. But Morris said he was confident he'd get caught up to speed by offensive coordinator Greg Olson before Sunday's game.

"I meet with [Coach Olson] later in the day and try to get done with him the things I need to get done later in the day," said Morris. "It's been primarily defense this week. I have to get back in the lab with him and catch up tomorrow on offense."

Bucs Healthy For Falcons Game, Dirty Birds Banged Up
Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris was pleased to report that his team is fairly healthy heading into Sunday's game in Atlanta.

Every player on Tampa Bay's injury report, including middle linebacker Barrett Ruud (ribs), tight end Kellen Winslow (knee), cornerback Torrie Cox (knee) and safety Tanard Jackson (illness), are expected to play vs. the Falcons.

"Everybody was full participation today and everyone is probable for game day, so we're healthy," said Morris.

The injury news is not so encouraging for the Falcons. Wide receiver Brian Finneran (knee) is out of Sunday's game vs. the Bucs.

Three key Falcons starters -- tackle Sam Baker (elbow), running back Michael Turner (ankle) and linebacker Curtis Lofton (knee/groin), as well as RB Jerious Norwood (hip) and WR Marty Booker, are questionable for the game against Tampa Bay.

Falcons T Tyson Clabo (knee) and WR Roddy White (knee) are probable.


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