One day after Tampa Bay's 20-17 overtime win in New Orleans, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris fielded more questions regarding his job security and the NFL.com report regarding ownership's interest in former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. Read Morris' comments in this article.
Despite coming off the team's biggest win of the season in New Orleans, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris continued to field questions Monday regarding his future with the organization, and for good reason.
The line of questioning during Monday morning's press conference at One Buc Place stemmed from Sunday's story from NFL.com that stated Tampa Bay's ownership had contacted former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher regarding the possibility of coaching the Buccaneers in 2010.
"I don't think Bill Cowher makes those decisions, I think ownership does. I know I don't," Morris said Monday. "I don't worry about it. I enjoy SporsCenter. I kind of miss the old SportsCenter, though, where you could become attached to a team or a player because of the positive stories out there. I choose to ignore some of the gossip out there. I left that stuff with Jerry Springer back in the day."
Morris, 33, is the youngest head coach in the NFL. He has been with the Bucs organization since 2002 when he was hired as a defensive quality control coach. Morris has since been promoted to defensive backs coach, defensive coordinator and head coach, the last two promotions coming within the last year.
Things haven't gone as planned for the Bucs in Morris' first year on the job. Morris fired offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski 10 days before the start of the regular season and demoted defensive coordinator Jim Bates last month. He had a hand in hiring both coordinators in January. Although Tampa Bay has won two straight games, including a 20-17 overtime upset in New Orleans, the Bucs currently have a 3-12 record.
The Glazers have not commented publicly regarding Morris' future with the team. In January, Morris signed a four-year contract that included a team option after two years following the firing of Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen as head coach and general manager, respectively.
"When was the last time you saw one of my owners speak publicly? That's not what we do around here," said Morris. "We don't have to answer to all the critics. That's not our job. They actually came out and addressed the Madoff rumor, but good. That's what they do. They don't do that type of thing."
The Glazers don't typically talk to the media. The only exception is the annual NFL owners meeting, which is held during the offseason. Ownership also made itself available to the media the night Gruden and Allen were fired back in January.
The Glazers issued a press release on Oct. 29 refuting a report from WDAE 620's Dan Sileo that suggested the Glazers had lost a substantial amount of money in the Bernie Madoff scheme and faced financial hardships as a result.
Morris said he has regular meetings with the Glazers, but doesn't expect to be given any assurances regarding his future with the team.
"The assurances they gave to me is that I have to do my job tomorrow," said Morris. "That's what you have to do. When you're put in position to coach a football team that what you do until they tell you to stop. That's what I'm doing now."
Morris also addressed a report from ESPN that suggested Bucs special teams coach Richard Bisaccia, defensive line coach Robert Nunn and defensive backs coach Joe Baker would not be returning to the team in 2010. That report stated that Bisaccia, who has been with the team since 2002, would be taking a job with the Tennessee Volunteers.
"It's all rumors," said Morris. "Rich Bisaccia is under contract upstairs the last time I checked. All my guys are. We'll make an evaluation on everybody at the end of the season, but we're just coaching. We've got one more game and we're going to go out and play that game. I know it's fun for [the media to do the coaching carousel, but for us it's reality and life. This is what we do."
Tampa Bay will attempt to finish the 2009 regular season with three straight wins. In order for that to happen the Bucs will have to defeat NFC South division rival Atlanta, which downed the Bucs 20-17 last month.
The outcome of Sunday's game at Raymond James Stadium could weigh in to any decision ownership might have to make regarding Morris' future with the Bucs.
The last Bucs head coach to produce a 3-13 record was Richard Williamson, who was fired after posting that record in 1991.
Should the Bucs defeat the Falcons they would finish the 2009 season with a 4-12 record, which is the identical record Gruden's team finished with in 2006. Gruden survived that season.
Morris said he refused to let outside distractions get in Tampa Bay's way of focusing on preparing for the team's 2009 regular season finale.
"This game is not for everybody," said Morris. "It's not for the mentally weak, it's not for the soft; it's just not for everybody. For me, it's about production and going to the field and progressing. All that other stuff will just mess you up as you prepare for the Falcons."
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