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October 18, 2010 @ 8:30 am
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Run Game Q&A With Morris and Olson

Written by Wolf
Wolf Heard


Beat Writer & Videographer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
The Buccaneers running game has been anemic thus far in 2010. Through five games the team is ranked 27th in rushing offense. Find out what head coach Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Greg Olson had to say about their ground game.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have come out of the first five games of the season with a 3-2 record despite having little to no production from the running game. So far this season the Bucs have the 27th ranked rushing offense in the NFL and are showing no signs of improvement. Starting tailback Cadillac Williams has only 190 yards on 76 carries (2.5 avg.) with zero touchdowns. Kareem Huggins is now out for the season after suffering a torn ACL against the Saints. Rookie LeGarrette Blount has shown glimpses of ability, but has not had much opportunity to produce on the field. In the two games he has seen action, Blount has rushed for 30 yards on 10 carries with one touchdown. Fullback Earnest Graham has been the ground game’s best weapon due to his versatility, but he is currently banged up with a hamstring injury. Graham is averaging 6.4 yards per carry with 89 yards and one touchdown. He also has 10 catches for 98 yards and one touchdown as a receiver out of the backfield.

After rushing for only 42 yards – 11 of which came from backup quarterback Josh Johnson on a scramble late in the fourth quarter – in a 31-6 loss to New Orleans, head coach Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Greg Olson addressed the problems with the running game on Monday.

(Morris on whether he is disappointed or not that his running backs and offensive line can’t get on the same page)
“I wouldn’t say that they are not on the same page. It’s a lot better than it was last year because we have some positive runs and we are doing some positive things. It’s just one small breakdown on a particular play can kill a play and that is what’s happening a little bit right now. The chances you do have to make plays, you aren’t making them for whatever reason. You get tripped up, you stumble, you get a holding call, and we have to get all of those things coordinated.”

(Morris on why rookie LeGarrette Blount was inactive vs. the Saints)
“The third back is usually a luxury. After Kareem got hurt you can certainly second guess yourself and say, ‘ I wish I had that luxury right now.’ We went into it thinking that Mike Williams was gimpy all week from practice so we put up the extra wide out and went with the two backs, then bang, Earnest Graham gets a mild hammy [injury]. Kareem Huggins goes out for the season, and now you are back to giving Cadillac too many carries, which is what you didn’t want to get into in the first place.”

(Morris on if he is confident Kregg Lumpkin or Blount can spell Cadillac in the run game)
“I am confident in those two young men and I’m real excited we got them. You never know what is going to happen in this league and I am glad we have them on our football team. They have been here the last couple of weeks learning our system and getting better and better every week. Now it may be time for a little bit of Lumpkin. It may be time for a little bit of Blount. It may be time for a little bit of both of them. Who knows? It all has to play out in a gameplan and we have to figure out how we are going to do it. Let’s get those guys out there and let them play.”

(Morris on if his loyalty to Williams is clouding his judgment to play him so much)
“No doubt, no doubt. Cadillac is an emotional leader on our football team. He goes out there and does a lot of great things as far as what we ask him to do. Can we get some better play out of some of the younger players in different situations? I agree. I don’t want to say the loyalty clouds my judgment because it’s not that. It’s just that you know what he is going to give you, you know what he is going to bring, you know he is going to protect your quarterback so it’s more about protecting number 5.”

(Morris on if he is confident the offensive line can open up holes in the run game)
“We have to be. They are our guys. To see [Jeremy] Zuttah go out there yesterday and play as well as he did for [Jeff] Faine yesterday was an encouraging sign. How well Donald Penn has been playing is an encouraging sign. Now we have to get everybody going… We have to find a way, whether it is at running back or our O-line or our scheme, all together as a resilient team to figure out how we are going to do it.”

(Morris on if he can fairly determine the problems without making a change at the halfback position)
“You have to go out there and certainly look into it. You have to get some guys some carries. Yesterday Huggins was the feature back for about five plays before disaster struck again so we still don’t have that answer. So we have to go out there and get it from somebody this week. It won’t be Huggy unfortunately.”

(Morris on if things are too complicated in the running game)
“When we get up there we want to have great tempo, run the ball, and go get ‘em, Right now we might be trying to be a little too perfect with some of things that we are trying to do. We don’t want to over think the run game. We want to go out there and execute. That’s the number one thing. We don’t have a million runs. We have a couple of runs, but we just have to go out there and run them well.”

(Olson on why Williams can’t be just the third down back due to his excellent pass protection)
“We want someone to prove they are better than Cadillac,” said Olson. “We haven’t seen it. We didn’t see it in training camp. Obviously some of those guys we picked up late and as you guys know, we don’t go full go in practice. We’re still comfortable with Cadillac. You go back and look at the carries throughout the season we are not happy right now where we are at in the run game. To pin it all on Cadillac Williams is a major mistake.”

(Olson on whether anything is different with Cadillac Williams)
“No, Cadillac is still Cadillac Williams. We are going to look at some things. I don’t want to make any excuses for anybody. We have to do a better job of coaching, of blocking an 8-man front. We have seen a lot of 8-man fronts. We saw a ton of blitz yesterday, all out blitzes two weeks in a row, which obviously makes it difficult to run, and until you start beating them with deep throws down the field you are going to continue to get 8-man boxes. We have to do a better job of blocking the 8-man front and scheming the 8-man front, and that will make life easier for whoever the running back is.”

(Olson on which halfback, Lumpkin or Blount, is prepared more to large role)
“We will have to get a real hard look at both Lumpkin and Blount. Those are the only two other guys that we have at this point. So, we will look at both of them this week. Again, they got to us late. They are still learning the position and everything that goes along with it: the protections, as well as the running game. There is a chance we may dual role Lumpkin. He may be a fullback/tailback depending on Earnest’s status throughout the week.”

(Olson on whether they would consider giving Graham a dual role)
“It’s a possibility. We will wait and see Earnest’s health this week, but we feel good about Earnest as a tailback.”
Last modified on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 13:54

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  • avatar

    To me the Bucs need to pursue Bill Callahan for OC. Bill Callahan has a ton of experience, very detailed oriented, has a great track record, is a proven winner and would fit in perfectly with the Bucs. Olson is a great QB coach but in over his head as OC.
  • avatar

    The OLine is mostly to blame, it's clear to everyone. Not that Yugo is an elite running back, or would be the starter on ay other team. I think Morris is hesitant to feature another running back as it would even more clearly define to other teams how poor the run blocking is for the backs. That being said, only a true power runner has a chance running behind the marshmellows such as we have. Use Blount and use Lumpy you have no choice. Be careful in using Graham too much, as he will go down again with injury, he is prone and I think at his age getting more and more fragile....already struggling with a hammy, add an ankle and he's out for multiple games. He is better used in pass protection and as an outlet receiver, than pounding him very much. All I know is hat Olsen better start getting creative and create some running plays that can work given the OLine that he has, or we'll be so one dimensional that Freeman will get hurt and so will the receivers.
  • avatar

    Here's something to think about. The reason the Bucs are afraid to throw Blount in there is because he signed a one year contract. If he goes in there and blows it up all season then the Glazers will have to pay him way more money then they want to. Just a thought but i wouldn't put it past the organization. Put the kid in there and let him run it!
  • avatar

    I think the Bucs are so focused on protecting #5, that they haven't taken the time to ensure the Offense as a whole is straight. During Raheem's press conference he even stated it's all about protecting #5. Caddy still have some skills, but I think we got to get the scheme right.
  • avatar

    I know I am not the only one who is tired of the pointless attempts, thats right I said pointless attempts of rushing. I understand that Cadillac is an inspiration, but I want to be proven wrong; who really considers Cadillac a fan favorite? Like it or not, a feel good story is not worth this pathetic excuse for a run game. It must also be hard to run with a group of defenders in the backfield on everyplay, so i understand that, but this is a league of what have you done for me lately, and when were you able to say you were "legitamately" impressed by the Bucs running in a game? I'll wait......
  • avatar

    @JC5100 - very good point. I believe the O-Line, the RB and the obvious schemes are all to blame, but the fact that the plays are not even remotely deceptive is a huge problem. From a defensive perspective, it is the same deal: Every time I saw E.J.'s dreads bouncing around as he came in for the nickel package, I thought "so, now they'll call a run play" - mostly, they (the Saints) did just that.
  • avatar

    Love this quote: "Caddy is doing everything we ask him to." Hey coach! Ask him to run for five yards before he crashes headfirst into the nearest defender. Caddy can do better with better vision, and trying to avoid tacklers when possible rather than try to run everyone over. Maybe Raheem can also ask the Oline to push forward during the running plays. LOL. Our Oline is being manhandled by the better teams and being pushed backwards on run plays. We are improving as a whole team, but the areas that need addressing are obvious. Who is the starting RB has nothing to do with protecting Freeman as Raheem says it does. As it is, Freeman already has no protection. The bench is the only place Raheem can put Freeman to protect him. Wise up, coach!! Your offense needs a spark, and you CAN'T continue to trot out a 2 ypc RB.....if you want to be a head coach in the NFL, that is.
  • avatar

    after seeing how well D.Ward is doing at houston this year - averaging 8.3 yards per carry with 3 TD's on 17 carries - we have to blame the offensive line for most of our problems
  • avatar

    I'd love to see Graham and Blount split the carries and use Caddy as a third down back. I know this would be more power backs than speed, but with the problems in the o-line, we need backs that create their own holes and at least get positive yards.
  • avatar

    Give Graham the ball. He has never disappointed. Find someone else to play fullback.
  • avatar

    i agree-give Graham the ball!!!
  • avatar

    I won't put the run game problems on Cadillac either. He may have run for 200 yards if he had played for the Saints yesterday. And Ivory would have had a poor game if he played for us. The vast majority of Ivory's yards were YBC -yards before contact, usually 5-10 yards downfield before being touched. Cadillac would have shined with that much room. And Ivory would have had a poor game if he played for us yesterday. It was a bad scheme poorly executed , a physical mismatch. We were blown off the ball.
  • avatar

    The Oline stinks, Caddy is getting hit in the backfield almost every play. I would bring in Blount to get more physical and try to pound on defenses and split carries with Caddy. With Huggins out we've got no speed. Trueblood and Joseph are really disappointing - what happened to these guys?
  • avatar

    are youguys kidding me did you see how many times caddy was hit for loss in the backfield this is an o line problem cause the blocking scheme (zone) is not condusive to the physical nature of our line caddy is a tackle to tackle hard nose runner who needs maulers up front if rawhide is being loyal to someone its mandarin or mangurian or whatever his pathetic coaching is
  • avatar

    Morris, If you take away Johnson's 11 yard scramble, the running game produced 31 yards.....no matter what change you make in the running game, how could it possibly be worse than it is right now. Sh*t or get off the pot!
  • avatar

    Morris quit Grudenizing (lying) and get your head out of the sand. What are you afraid of? You say stats are for losers, but I say fear is for losers and you are afraid to make changes...you dip your toe and dip your toe to see what temperature the water is...commit to something, anything 100% and find something out you dumb*ss! "We want someone to prove they are better than Yugo (Cadillac)". Are you kidding me? You admit you can't evaluate it in practice because it's not full speed and you won't commit to replacing Yugo in the game long enough to measure the difference, so how will anyone ever prove they are better than Yugo? What is this, the "Stick in the Mud, Scaredy Chicken Butt" Philosophy of Coaching?
  • avatar

    Gee this is so frustrating. Morris is coach for a reason and I have no dobut he knows more about football than anyone on this site but come on! I need to see that he knows how to fix these glaring problems! It doesn't take a football scientist to see that Caddy isn't cutting it and that the O-line has more holes in it than a wiffle ball. If you don't have a speed back use the one you have that will gain 5-7 yards at a time. How many times did we have 3rd and more than 7 yards yesterday? LeBlount can get some yards even with the wiffle ball O-line. What gets me is they put someone out there for 5 carries in an entire game and think they gave them a shot. JUST TRY someone besides Caddy. How much worse can it get? Arrrrrrgh!...............By the way, dumb is spelled like that.....
  • avatar

    Caddy's not the problem and neither is the O-line. There's no deception in the formations. If I can sit in my living room in New Jersey and know where the play's going so can the defense. How many times have we seen linebackers shift to the point of attack presnap? Also, Winslow and Stevens can't block a lick, hence you can't run wide. The Buc's offense is extremely predictable and doesn't create any confusion for the defense. A confident defense always plays better! If you want to see a confused defense just wait till the opponent gets the ball. The Buc's have seen blitzes all season on anything longer that 3rd and 4. The line has done a good job of picking up the blitz and Freeman handles it very well. Winslow should be killing these blitzes! The staff must find a way to make defenses pay for these all out blitzes, remember the screens vs Seattle late year?? The receivers need to do a better job of getting open against all this man coverage and with Freeman's ability, it should be easy pitch and catch for 1st downs. This along with some creative play action and boots should open up running lanes. Coach Morris is doing a good job and will get this solved.
  • avatar

    Olson sounds dum
  • avatar

  • avatar

    To me this was a very discouraging Q & A. No coach should let loyalty to a player cloud his mindset. Morris clearly is doing that with Williams, admittedly so. Now Huggins is gone for the year, which to me suggests the Bucs running game will continue thru this season with the majority of the carries going to Cadillac. vs. Rams Looks to be a loss given the way the Rams are playing and they are certainly good enough to run all over this Bucs D for the win on the road. @ Cards Certainly winnable, but the trip out west makes it hard to invision a W here with no running game. @ Falcons I've not liked us to beat them even before the season began. vs. Panthers. I like the team to win here, if they can stop the damn run. Something tells me Fox and co. will figure out a way to run every other snap and win this game though. This is a trap game in some ways. Looks obvious now, but due to injuries and other things it could be a trap, especially if we lose the next the previous 3 games. @ 49ers. Never pick the team to win that far out west, and I'm not going to this time either. I like the 49ers here. @ Ravens No chance. None whatsoever. vs. Falcons I like the Falcons again for the sweep. @ Redskins Good ol' Bruce Allen and company gets the win in what should at least be a competitive game, unless the injuries continue to mount. I like the Skins in this one. vs. Lions Everyone's gimme pick due to the history of the Lions. Not so fast. If Stafford is healthy, they will win this game in Tampa to close out what's going to be considered a great overall season of building a good team for Detroit. They are on their way fellas. vs. Seattle I'm torn here somewhat but I'm going to pick Tampa Bay just because this is a game they are talented enough to win and should win at home. @ Saints Depends on whether the Saints are in the playoffs or not. My guess is they will be, just like last year, and the Saints will "shut it down" so to speak and Tampa gets another win on the road to close out the absymal season. So I like the Bucs to get to 6 wins, which would put them with one more win than I thought before the season began. I had them pegged at five, and so did Vegas. If the trap game falls thru (Panthers), then it could very well still be five. It could have been more if Morris would have not fallen victim to being loyal to Williams.
  • avatar

    The reality is the coaches are just going to have to take a leap of faith with the other, younger RB's. Trial by fire. BTW, we could have had M Lynch.
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