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August 8, 2011 @ 1:06 pm
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Freeman, Morris Stress The Importance Of Winning The NFC South

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Buccaneers head coach Rahem Morris and quaterback Josh Freeman both spoke about Tampa Bay's aspirations of reaching the playoffs in the 2011 season and how close the team came in 2010.
Winning 10 games in a NFL season would usually reserve a spot in the playoffs in most seasons. But last year, even after 10 wins, the Buccaneers were home in January, watching the playoffs on television, and asking the what if question. What if they convert on fourth-and-one at Atlanta? What if the offensive pass interference call against Kellen Winslow versus Detroit went the other way? What if Matt Ryan’s touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins falls incomplete? There is a fine line between winning and losing in the NFL, and both Raheem Morris and quarterback Josh Freeman believe the Buccaneers are ready to make the next step.

“For us it has really been this term we made up, it’s a youngry team, [young and hungry],” Morris said. “We were 10-6 last year and didn’t make the playoffs. So everybody in here has to push for more. In order to push for more, and the only way you can guarantee yourself to make the playoffs is to gout and try and win your division. It’s clear-cut, it’s simple. Not simple to win your division, it a simple message and it’s a message that is going to have to spread throughout the building. Every phase and facet, and that’s what we are trying to work on right now. Winning our division. So we have to go out there and do that.”

Four of Tampa Bay’s six losses last year were by a touchdown or less [Atlanta twice, Baltimore, and Detroit]. In all four of those games a select few plays made the difference in getting the victory instead of the loss. Morris understands how close most games in the NFL are.

“My old defensive coordinator [at Hofstra] used to say, there are going to be two snaps in this game that will change it,” Morris said. “We just don’t which one they will be. So play all 60 snaps like it’s going to be those two snaps.”

Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, who spoke to reporters Monday after the team’s walk-through, commented on the Buccaneers’ goals.

“We’re trying to figure out ways to get those wins,” said Freeman. “Like Rah said it starts with your division, and winning our division is priority one right now.”

Taking the next step to the playoffs will require the entire organization making the good decisions and Freeman likes what he has seen from the front office.

“Our talent evaluators, Mark Dominik know how to pick them,” Freeman said. “He picks guys that are good character guys and good players. You had some guys get their first start in crucial situation and they stepped up huge. That is kind of the culture we are building around here. Everybody has got to be prepared to step up and play at a huge level. And guys take that to heart and take that personally.

“Our defense is looking really good. With the addition of the two defensive ends [Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers] those guys are studs. We got Brian Price back, Gerald [McCoy] both those guys are going to make it tough for teams to drop back and throw the ball.”

Realizing what you need to do, and actually doing them are two different things according to Morris, but he feels his team is up for the challenge.

“I think it’s about getting better at what you do,” Morris said. “And what we do is play hard fast smart and consistent. We have the ability to get better in all those things, and finish games and play more consistent in the games we lost throughout last year. Last year means absolutely nothing now. But to be able to use an example, to finish off those Atlanta games at the end last year. To play more consistent in those big time games. We have to get better at those things.”

Heading into the 2011 season, the Buccaneers are poised once again to be, one of, if not the youngest teams in the NFL.

“[Youth] really wasn’t an excuse last year,” Freeman said. “It’s the NFL, it doesn’t matter if you have freshmen playing, rookies, whatever. You get one shot in the NFL and we are trying to make the most of it.”
Last modified on Monday, 08 August 2011 14:02

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  • avatar

    Get some~!!!!! GO BUCS!!!
  • avatar

    Anyone who thinks Atlanta is superior to the Bucs didn't watch the two games. Yes, the Dirty Birds won but I have to believe even they would admit they were lucky to do so. This is the NFL, all teams are relatively equal so to declare the Falcons or Saints as locks to win the Division is pre-mature. Pay no attention to the prognosticators.
  • avatar

    To be real with you fans the falcons are not better than us for one, they have a shity pass defense and their pass and rush is kinda neutralized with donald penn on abraham and trueblood or lee should be a good match up with edwards and run defense isn't great neither legarrette shall punish and tried out their d-line out which means no pass rush in 3 and 4 quarter freeman and blount well have there way along as they both take care the ball and as far as the falcons offense we will struggle the fist time we play them and may lose because that reason but second time around we will beat that *censored* very very nice will some good ole tampa 2.0 zone
  • avatar

    we should have beaten the falcons twice last year....we will this year......all our injured are back and Blount starts right from the get go......we keep adding good wrs ......will be tough to stop......see the bucs winnin g 12 games at least.
  • avatar

    @Horse.. I totally diagree. Atlanta is not way better than us. There a finese team that takes a long time to get down the field. If our defense improves just a little, I see them as no problem especially with their defense. We had them beat and we totally outplayed them in the second meeting last year and if not for a bonehead play by Stovall ( that's why he's gone) would have easily beaten them and if not for a late pick by Freeman would have beaten them in the first meeting. I much more worried about the Saints than Atlanta. I also believe Atlanta won't have the success this year. No way we lose both games this year and wouldn't be shocked if we beat them both times. The Saints on the other hand I'm not sure about.
  • avatar

    We are in a very tough Division. Atlanta is much better than us and we are probably equal to the Saints. We need luck and key, no injuries like at Center and CB area. After that it gets very tough? Green Bay and Philapelphia are the teams to beat. We can do it, but it will take a very big effort. Who ever wins the NFC wins the Superbowl! Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    I believe Atlanta is better than us right now, but I believe the Bucs have a better future and if the can keep (thug) Talib in the line up and the DE's can live up to expectations I truly believe this team is poised for a super owl runin a year or two. i have never been more excited for our team before even more than 1997 because we truly have a franchise qb
  • avatar

    Well, if they want to win the south, then they must at least split their games with Atlanta and the Saints, with a sweep of either a big plus.
  • avatar

    @makshi I think I seen in a previous article that they have a lot of love for Mr. Gant. Ocording to the article he may be an outstanding steal like Brisco was. We'll see I guess.
  • avatar

    Hey PR, not really about this article, but what do you guys (or the Bucs coaches), think about the young WR's. We know about Mike W and Benn and Briscoe. We also have an idea about Spurlock, Straughter and Parker. What are the thoughts on Webber, Sanders, Gant and Lewis?? i have only been able to go to 2 practices, but thought Webber, Lewis and Sanders did fairly well. I used to see more dropped passes in practice in the past, but these guys seem to be catching almost EVERYTHING thrown their way. Also thought Sanders showed some soft hands in the punt return drills. It seems that Gant is the first one in, is that because he knows the offense better or do the coaches really like him better? Thanks if you can respond.
  • avatar

    I personally think it will be tough for the youngsters to make the active roster. Webber probably has the best shot but he was injured tonight in practice although we aren't sure how severe. All the young guys have impressed at one time or another during camp and in seasons past you might see a couple make the roster. But the fact of no OTAs is really hurting the undrafted free agents across the board which is totally unfair to them but is a reality. If Webber is ok, look for him to have the best shot. But you never know, one of the vets goes down and that opens up a roster spot. I think the Buccaneers feel pretty comfortable with the veteran group as proof by the draft. The all are really really good kids and working as hard as any group. Sammie told me he is taking them under his wing as Stovall and a few veteran did him a couple years ago. I feel for the staff and Dominik as without question getting down to the final 53 will the most difficult of the last three camps. Hope this answers a little bit of what you had in mind. Thanks for being a reader. Scott, Charlie and myself plus the rest of the gang truly appreciate you guys.
  • avatar

    I have to love what I am hearing. Everyone is on the same page from management, to coaches, to the players. Free even mentioned guys on the defensive side of the ball. The team is expecting every man to pull weight regardless of status. Winning the South is a tall order but I believe we have focused and motivated young men. Go Bucs.
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