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September 12, 2011 @ 9:35 am
Current rating: 3.00 Stars/1 Votes

Morris Grades Out Talib Favorably

Written by Eric
Eric Horchy


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Despite giving up two touchdowns to Detroit WR Calvin Johnson, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris said CB Aqib Talib performed well against the Pro Bowl receiver. Morris also addressed the defense's performance against the run, its lack of a pass rush and the latest injury to DT Brian Price.

After surrendering 431 yards of total offense and a number of sustained scoring drives to Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions during Sunday afternoon’s 27-20 season-opening defeat, Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris addressed several defensive issues during his Monday afternoon press conference.

One area that has certainly been getting plenty of attention was the matchup between Bucs CB Aqib Talib and Lions WR Calvin Johnson. Talib’s primary assignment was targeted by Stafford 10 times and caught six for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Though not man-up with Johnson at the time, Talib did pick off a tipped-up, first-quarter Stafford pass intended for TE Will Heller and return it 28 yards into the end zone. The fifth-year defensive back finished with four tackles and another pass defensed.

In Morris’s estimation, Talib held his own with the standout 6-foot-5, 238-pound receiver dubbed “Megatron.”

“On a positive note we did score on defense,” Morris said leading into the topic. “[Talib] did do a nice job on Calvin. He had six catches for 88 yards.”

As for Johnson’s two touchdowns, Morris said the first – a 36-yarder in the second quarter that put Detroit ahead 13-10 – was defended well by Talib and “should have been a knocked down pass.” Without that big chunk of yardage and score, “we are talking about five catches for pretty much nothing and one touchdown,” he added.

“With those all-out blitzes and big-man vs. big-man [situations], he made a great play. Calvin’s going to make some of those. [Talib] did a great job of standing up and really being accountable for [his] day.”

Where Tampa Bay received noticeably insufficient production, Morris said, was in the middle of the defensive line.

“Roy [Miller] and [Frank] Okam, they didn’t get very good f,” he said. “We didn’t get very good play from our nose tackle. I’ll address this with them. This is not an indictment on them or anything of that nature. We have to get better play from our nose tackle position from our get-off and how we want to play the game.”

The Bucs defensive front and its ability to create impact plays has been a major focus for Tampa Bay since the end of last season. With one week in the books, answers to the collective unit’s poor pass rushing and subpar run stopping have yet to be found. Not only did the Bucs fail to record a single sack on Stafford, they also didn’t register any quarterback hurries.

“[We] got some pressure, [but] didn’t get any sacks,” Morris said of the pass rush. “We noticed the ball would be out quick with this team. That’s kind of who they are. They’re an underneath dink-and-dunk pass team unless they get the third-and-long, then you have an opportunity to get them. Other than that, we had a couple hits. We’ve got to be in better shape here. We’ve got a couple things that we got to clear up for us. … We’ve got a chance to go up to Minnesota and prove it. Be better.”

Against Jahvid Best and the Lions ground attack, Tampa Bay allowed 126 yards on 35 attempts for a 3.6-yard average. “They are a misdirection run team and they are a big-time reverse team,” Morris said of Detroit. “That’s kind of their game plan. [They had] a breakout run which is disappointing. Other than that we pretty much held up pretty good to keep it to a 3.6 average, [but] we would like for it to be a little bit lower.”

The breakout run Morris cited was Lions WR Nate Burleson’s 20-yard carry during Detroit’s opening drive.

Also in reference to the defensive tackle position, Morris updated the media on Brian Price’s condition after leaving Sunday’s game with an apparent hamstring injury. Price just recently got back on the field this preseason following a lengthy recovery from pelvic and hamstring related surgeries. The second-year pro went to the turf while chasing Best on a run around the left end. Prior to that incident, he had recorded two tackles and one for a loss.

“Brian Price, he’ll be day-to-day. Hopefully, we’ll get him back. He played one of his better games. I was really pleased. I should have mentioned him. Really pleased at his play yesterday and how fast he got off the ball and how he played at nose tackle.”

When pressed about the severity of Price’s injury, Morris stated that it is not season-ending. “He’s not out for the season. He’s a few weeks.”

Away from the defensive front, Morris said the team must receive larger contributions from the guys expected to being bringing it each and every Sunday. “We need better plays out of our studs. We need a Quincy Black to play bigger; Geno Hayes and some of those guys to play better and bigger for us. We had a couple missed ops. We missed two interceptions, maybe three, [and] had a chance for some fumbles there early. We did score once on defense [and] we had the opportunity to score twice with that fumble out of bounds.”

That missed fumble opportunity came on SS Sean Jones’s third-quarter strip of Detroit RB Maurice Morris after a 10-yard completion. Black grabbed the ball as it bounced toward the sideline, but rather than try to secure possession with his feet in bounds, he opted to throw it behind his back in hopes of a teammate being there. The ball was instead recovered by Lions LG Rob Sims at the Tampa Bay 46. Detroit led 20-13 at the time with 10:48 left in the quarter and eventually converted the second chance into seven points on Stafford’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Johnson.

Morris made mention of two defensive fundamental shortcomings, as well, from Sunday that must improve: tackling and penalties.

Of the team’s six flags, four were drawn by the defense and three were neutral zone infractions. The other was an illegal contact penalty on Talib on third-and-5 early in the Lions’ third-quarter touchdown drive that put Detroit up 27-13.

“The penalties obviously are a big negative,” the head coach said. “We cannot jump offsides. We cannot have penalties on that, period. That was just not the way we want to play.”

The Bucs’ tackling – or its lack thereof Sunday in the minds of many post-game message board posters – was spotty but not glaringly negative, according to Morris.

“Tackling can always be better. I thought we could have tackled a lot better and a lot firmer on some of the players. Still, we didn’t have as many breakout, big-time plays but we still could have tackled better on some of those that oozed for a couple more yards. A guy like [Nate] Burleson, a shifty guy who makes you miss, we should have tackled him better a couple of times. And a guy like [Jahvid] Best is always going to make a guy miss in the hole every once in a while. But we could have tackled a little bit better. I always like to see that improve but it wasn’t terrible.”

Last modified on Monday, 12 September 2011 18:52

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  • avatar

    Ok, so he was hurt last yr I'll give him that but he was healthy all off season he was there in training camp and preseason so I don't buy the he was rusty thing. He had a bad day plain and simple the pick he had was a gift not so much a good play on his behalf Jones had the same gift but couldn't hang on to it, that reminds me Jones Sucks and needs to be replaced by Tanard asap!
  • avatar

    Good point seat26. If Talib didn't misread the ball on the 4th down pass to Johnson he could have batted it down (which would have been the smart thing on 4th down) or intercepted it. Having been unable to play since last season has got to affect a player. A little more pressure from our high-priced defensive line would have helped too.
  • avatar

    Talib was injured last year and did not play in Preseason. He comes out in his first game and has to defend one of the Premier WR's in the game. Let him have a couple of games before we condemn the guy. We have much bigger problems on this team like why do we not have a pass rush. ( Talib's production would take off if we had one)
  • avatar

    Ok, so he was hurt last yr I'll give him that but he was healthy all off season he was there in training camp and preseason so I don't but he was rusty thing. He had a bad day plain and simple the pick he had was a gift not so much a good play on his behalf Jones had the same gift but couldn't hang on to it, that reminds me Jones Sucks and needs to be replaced by Tanard asap!
  • avatar

    Uhh, I'm pretty sure he was referring to Stroughter, not Price when referring to him being out for a couple of weeks. He said Price is day to day.
  • avatar

    Talib played decent not great. CJ wasn't killing it but he made plays when he needed to and hes a great receiver hes gonna make those plays. On the ball that CJ actually caught talib tipped it and if Sean Jones wasnt late in coverage, he would of either had a pick off the tip or smacked CJ in the mouth at least. He played like s*^&. Idk how raheem can call out Quincy. He played way better than Jones did. The fumble was a mess up but there was 3 bucs that could of caught that lateral but ronde decides to tip it. In my mind I hope tanard is in football shape as soon as hes allowed to play bec sean jones is definantly the weak link in the secondary. The safety spots are almost interchangeable move grimm over and tanard to free safety.
  • avatar

    If you take away that bunny pick, Talib had a rather bad day. That's Rah's boy,he should've been called out same as the rest of them.
  • avatar

    So our Offense and Defense played terrible and yet we only lost by a touchdown. I think some fans are taking this a little too hard, if the team is still playing like this a few weeks from now, then Ill be frustrated.
  • avatar

    I went to the game, did McCoy play? I see Morris didn't call out McCoy, I guess he is not one of the studs he is talking about.
  • avatar

    Morris trying to make a positive by subtraction. If Johnson didn't make the catch on to other TD he would have NO TD's. I guess that's one way to look at a bad game!
  • avatar

    Rah is getting into a real bad habit of protecting people.Its plain and simple talib has got a bj upton issue with thinking he is faster than he is, he has not gotten one lick better in three years at not letting and i mean letting people float behind him. He doesn't really get beat he beats himself he did it numerous times yesterday and the team payed. Madden grades bj high also and ball after ball goes over his head for extra bases.The talent is there the coaching isnt BTW we start slow because and always will until JF gets a quicker release and quicker on his check downs... until the rush slows a little and he can let the 15yrd play develope or break out of the pocket he struggles a little.I love the guy but you clearly saw the diff between getting the ball out and quick check downs as Stafford was much better in that dept yest. Price is the best dl we have, hope we dont kill him, clayborn had great energy but really struggled finding the play. Really thought the DL played well noDL line would have had a sack yest as Staff was getting rid of it and would not hold if nothing was there.Big Mouth didnt play to bad det rush avg is prob lower than you think and there were a few give me tackles in the back field missed that will be made down the road. Q Black has speed and looks good but he is flat footed, has terrible bend and leverage and isnt real fluid in pass coverage, D wat may be better I know 54 is better but once again I think we are seeing some Rah favorites. Winslow should have 8 catches a game but he has to get in better game shape and run harder after the catch. He also has the wosrt field position down and distance awarness i think i have ever seen and that folksthat is koddling and coaching. The guy is a stud but it is very clear he does what he wants,he was tired after three plays yesterday and came out several times during the hurry up What a Joke! Come On Rah Tighten up and Deamand your Kids Grow Up!
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