The good news for head coach Raheem Morris and the Buccaneers is that they finished their “Race to 10” wins. The bad news is that 10 wins were not enough to get Tampa Bay into the NFC playoffs. The Bucs did what they needed to do by beating the New Orleans Saints yesterday by a score of 23-13. But they needed losses by the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants and both teams won their games.
After failing to make the postseason, Morris said that he might have to change his motto next season.
“Maybe we’ll race to 11 next year,” Morris joked. “You have to set your goals higher. The ‘Race to 10 theory’ is this. It’s a race to 10. It’s the first team to get to 10 because once you get to 10 [wins] usually those guys control their destiny down the stretch. You are putting yourself in a bye situation. You are putting yourself [in position] to win the division and home games – things of that nature. We’re still going to race to 10 next year. We’ll just try to get there first and get there as fast as we possibly can. Obviously you don’t want to have to do that in the 16th game of the season and not make the playoffs again.”
By finishing 10-6, the Bucs had franchise-record seven-game turnaround after going 3-13 in 2009. Despite recording a winning season and establishing a nucleus of young talent to build the future around, Morris said that he is still upset about not making the playoffs.
“Just disappointed for our team more than anything,” Morris said. “These guys worked hard and they wanted to get in. If we would have had the opportunity to get in there we could have went out there and made some noise of our own and backed up some of their cocky coach’s bold predictions. We don’t have that opportunity and this game comes down to inches. It came down to one game and then two games for us [on Sunday] in the afternoon. Just disappointed for the team, but more disappointed for Mark Dominik and all of the hard work he put into it and for my coaching staff. Everybody wants to play in the tournament and that’s what makes you sad about it.”
So does Morris think 2010 was a successful season for the Bucs?
“You guys can write all that stuff,” Morris said. “We accomplished a lot. We did, but I know Olie and I know Mark Dominik and my staff. We all want Super Bowl rings. Until we get that we’re never going to really be satisfied to sit up here and gloat and be ecstatic about going 10-6 and not making the playoffs. That’s the story. That’s what it is. Now, my reporters – you guys will do some positive things and put some positive spins on things and get our fans back. That’s your job.”
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