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September 19, 2011 @ 4:08 pm
Current rating: 3.00 Stars/1 Votes

Take It Or Leave It, That’s Buccaneers Football, Morris says

Written by Eric
Eric Horchy


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Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris discussed Josh Freeman's late-game poise Monday afternoon, following the latest of the quarterback's eight career comeback victories. While playing with more leads is desireable, Morris said the flair for the dramatic is becoming Buccaneer football.

Following Tampa Bay’s thrilling 24-20 comeback victory Sunday afternoon in Minnesota, there’s been one stat strewn about virtually every Bucs-related media outlet available: 8 of 14.

That represents how many of quarterback Josh Freeman’s 14 total NFL wins have been of the late-game, come-from-behind variety.

While head coach Raheem Morris said Monday that being the protector of more fourth-quarter leads would certainly be welcomed, he praised his quarterback’s moxie under pressure. He added, given the repeated nature of these nail-biting Buccaneers wins, that this is simply Tampa Bay football.

Love it or hate it.

“We don’t have to win every game like that,” Morris said. “Let’s go win some games in a more convincing fashion, just for the head coach’s health. Other than that, it’s fun, man. It’s Bucs football. That was Buccaneer football. Hate to say it [because] I know you guys don’t necessarily like it that way, but that’s what it was.”

As long as the end result affects the left side of the Bucs’ overall record and not the right, such a living-on-the-edge style will continue to draw praise. But Morris and the Bucs needn’t look back any further than last week to recall the dangerous repercussions of early offensive stall-outs.

Tampa Bay entered the final 15 minutes at home against Detroit down 27-13. Freeman and the offense strapped up and found the end zone once, but eventually lost, 27-20. There were no “Comeback Kid” headlines to be found.

Through two weeks of regular-season football, Tampa Bay has accumulated a grand total of six points and 170 yards of offense against Detroit and Minnesota, respectively. The team’s lone touchdown in those two first halves came on CB Aqib Talib’s pick-six last week of Lions QB Matthew Stafford.

“I don’t know what’s going on with the team in the first half,” Morris said. “We’ve got to go out there and play the game the way we need to play it. We certainly did in the second half. We were able to come out and execute our game plan and do our job. It was just about us being young; a matter of us having the ability to play faster, play smarter, play wiser, play harder in the beginning and be more consistent. That’s all it was. There were dramatic second-half adjustments. [It was] go do your job and do it fast. We have to start that way and that’s something I’m going to try to fix.”

As for what transpired Sunday afternoon, though, the Bucs’ reality was again being behind to start the final quarter and again watching Freeman turn in an 8-of-11, 99-yard performance to win the game. Everyone within the walls of One Buccaneer Place may love to start playing from ahead more often, but that attribute of Tampa Bay’s third-year leader is one Morris is happy to see and has come to rely on.

“Every game we played, when it was in the fourth quarter and if we were down or if we were up, whatever the case may be, I was in my head thinking, ‘Alright, when is Josh going to do it again?’ ” Morris said. “The times he didn’t do it I was shocked – the two Atlanta games last year.”

“So for our football team, I just think it’s a great relief when you’ve got that kind of confidence in your quarterback to be able to go out there and win those types of games.”

The third-year head coach credited his quarterback’s cool, collected and level-headed composure for why Freeman continues to fortify his reputation as Mr. Clutch while continuing to develop his overall NFL game.

“He’s smart [and] listens to his coaching,” Morris said. “He takes coaching well. He’s cool, he’s calm, he’s poised, [and] that’s when he plays his best. The first game he got kind of rattled. We talked about blinking [and] we talked about all those things with the whole team. He’s definitely one of those guys that [others] can use as an example.”

“Yesterday, 17-0, he was as cool and as calm as he’s been,” Morris continued. “He’s on the sideline getting everything corrected that we needed to get corrected. [He] came over one time [with] his mouth bleeding [and] looked me right in the face: ‘Oh, we got this. We’re okay.’ And I’m looking at my quarterback’s mouth bleeding. Just kind of a situation I don’t want to look at too often. He got things rolling for us and was able to come back again in the fourth quarter. It’s becoming a signature move for him.”

Last modified on Monday, 19 September 2011 16:54

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  • avatar

    My suggestion to a faster start is to roll Josh out of the pocket to start the game and get positive yards via better match ups or a run.
  • avatar

    We'll take a win anyway we can. I hope this is not the way it isto win games because I have never been a gambler and I don't like the odds. Many of us have seen this before with "the riverboat gambler style" and doesn't work for very long and the coaches are fired. I think I would try even much harder to get my first half team fired up and not wait until half time. There's no reason why this team starts off slow; I believe it is poor offensive coordinator play calling because everyone seems to know what we are going to do.
  • avatar

    great post, gulfstrings
  • avatar

    This is not "the" team. This is the team today. The Bucs are evolving toward what they will be and demonstrating alot of character and potential along the way. Being young isn't an excuse, it's just the fact. More experienced talent will get the better of less experienced talent. After one year of "demolition" we're what ... two years into the actual rebuilding process? Everyone in the Bucs orgainization has said this is their chosen direction and all are committed to seeing it through. The team isn't boring or hard to cheer for - even easy if you accept what you're being told and what you see. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Did BF47 leave his roost on Rockytop and is now residing south of the border?
  • avatar

    He isnin thenpick em contest....
  • avatar

    Given the choice...I'll take the W, along with another positive confidence building step for the youngest team in football...the formula for sustainable success is already in Tampa genius, give them a chance to grow into their roles before getting down on them huh? I don't see you coaching or running a front office..if you really have all the answers then go do the job. And I really don't understand what the difference is between the Vikes and GB, or Chicago, or Atlanta...any given sunday rules and that's why you play the whole 60 minutes...are their chances for survival throughout the season good if they don't get any better at starting games? probably not, but do you really think they're not going to get better?
  • avatar

    Sorry Coach but it's not acceptable. You might get away with a comeback like that against the Vikings. But if you think your going to do that against Atlanta, Saints, Bears, Green Bay and Houston then your fooling yourself.
  • avatar

    Given the choice...I'll leave it. This, as I have been saying repeatedly, is not the formula for sustainable success. It is hit or miss, sloppy and a reflection in my opinion of poor preparation and coaching. It will give us highs, like yesterday, and lows, like last week, and that is despite playing two teams that are not exactly top flight competition. Middling talent and middling (at best) coaching is, unfortunately, a prescription for a middle of the road record. My worst fear is two wasted seasons under this regime, which is having about as much luck drafting players (with the exception of Freeman, a fluke because Rah overlapped with him) as the prior regime - shocker, since it pretty much IS the prior regime, sans Allen.
  • avatar

    Wow...I think I may have just read the most ignorant post of the year so far. You truly are a moron. Detroit is not top flight competition? Tell me that at the end of the season when they are in the playoffs genius. Any NFL team can beat any other team on any given Sunday. There are no terrible teams. There are teams that execute plays on Sunday and teams that don't. If you don't think our drafts have been successful for the last three years you are dumb as a post. But I suppose after two games you know all you need to know about last year's draft.....
  • avatar

    I thought that yesterday during the game, and believe it looks that way on both sides of the ball. Playing not to lose. There was a 3rd & 15 that the Vikes' converted in the first half. I couldn't believe they didn't blitz. When confronted with a 3rd & long in the 2nd half, the Bucs' blitz with very good results. This is just a single example, and Morris says there aren't any big changes at halftime. Maybe it's just the success, but the aggression didn't feel like it was there in the first half.
  • avatar

    I believe the Buc's are having slow starts is because they play scared in the first half. They don't want to blow the game early so they play old style Buc ball. Then when they get behind in the game they feel they have nothing to lose and relax and just play loose.Could be the problem of the HC,OC or the players.
  • avatar

    The slow starts are because as good as he is and he is good, JF doesn't do a real good job of getting rid of the ball quickly.He also holds the ball to long at times in the beginning of the game when the pass rush is pretty strong and the o line hasnt had time to adjust to what the opposing dl is doing. This is a definate weekness of JF and obviously the c staff, this isn't hard to figure out Josh starts the game like it is the 4th quarter of the previos game( little more time and little better blocking).It also appears he doesnt trust what he reads from the defense early in the game and waits until later in the game to really trust and react to what he is seeing, this may also be why his turnovers are normally very low so there is a very fine line there. The d line actually played pretty well and were actually over penetrating in the first half which is fine with d brooks and company but not our current group they were terrible and soley responsible for the long runs in the first half. Quincy is a combine guy not a football player mason is a football player but is slower than frozen time going by and geno is too weak to defeat even a back in protection but does have some splash as does mason. corners played good!
  • avatar

    The slow starts are because the O-line isn't opening holes for the running game and the receivers aren't getting open. The defense comes out flat and our zone coverage sucks. In the second half we suddenly wake up and go "Hey! We're behind!! We'd better step it up." and we play like we want to win. We have to start playing like we're behind 17-0 from the first snap.
  • avatar

    Now that is exactly my thought that they need to start the game believing they are down by 10 (17 is too much).
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