Opening statement by Coach Morris:
“Evaluated the tape and it was exactly what you thought. It was a bad day for Buccaneer football. Didn’t look good and again I got to put that on myself like I did last night. No different. This week and for the rest of the season can’t be concerned about preservation so much and get our physically better—it’s what we need to do. So the answer is putting on some pads. I got my mulligan this week so I can put it on twice this week and get as many as I can based on the rules to get these guys going. We got to make plays in pads [and] both on offense and defense and special teams. That’s what we got to do. At the wide receiver position we got to compete a little bit more with those balls that are being thrown to us [and] in the end zones particular [and] on third down especially.
On defense we had some issues with effort yesterday on some of the big plays—the two big plays. That’s something that is very uncommon. Some was because of injury or whatever the case may be, but you can’t make excuses you got to go out there and play as hard as you possibly can at all times. Despite what may be going on or despite the adversity that may be put upon you based on a turnover or whatever. The positive thing is I didn’t have anybody complaining yesterday. Nobody was on the sideline moaning [or] being soft [or] being a coward. That was the best thing we got going on this football team and that’s the best thing I got going today when I can push these guys. Push them to where we want them to go with this physical (not new), but this physical approach we are going to take this week.”
At point did it look to you that your team was not being physical enough?
“It is not about at what point. It is more about we have been kind of preserving a little bit. Fighting through the injuries and things of that nature, but I got to go less with preservation and go more with physically and get them going. It is what it is. Yesterday was a particularly a not physical day as far as competing for the football and all those types of things. So we got to go out there and compete a little bit better and [the] only way you can do that is you practice it.”
What is going with your receivers not distinguishing self as a group?
“We just got to catch the ball in a competitive environment. We got to practice it like that. We got to give them more competition in practice and we got to make those plays. Some of those plays obviously you can always harp on the quarterback [because] he is the easiest target when you talk a out accuracy [and] you talk about placement and things of those nature. We just got to help him out a little bit too. We got to go out there and play together.”
You mentioned effort issues what type of issues?
“We had a loaf. We had a couple uncharacteristic loafs that we usually don’t have. Based on whether it was an injury result or the play being far away whatever the case may be [or] assuming that a guy is going to be tackled. All the things we talk about as far as fundamental core beliefs that we talk about [and] that you see around the building ‘what is a loaf’ and some of those things that popped up in those big plays and those are things that can’t happen.”
What did Ronde Barber meet with you about?
”Ronde is Ronde. He’s different than everybody else around here. He actually sat there with me and I told him exactly what I told you guys last night. He’s a soldier and he wanted to find out what I wanted him to give to the team and we won’t do it in players only meeting fashion. We’re a team together and he just wanted to know what the message would be. How we wanted to do it and wanted to represent it to this football team. So he may speak in front of the team today. He may do some things of that nature.
"But Ronde is just Ronde. He’s more about trying to fix the problem than sitting around and complaining about it. I always tell my guy, go to the guy who can fix the problem and he came right to my office and sat down for a minute and talked to me and talked about it. So did Jeff Faine, Kellen Winslow and some of my natural leaders wanted to come to me and talk about it because they didn’t like that I took it on myself, but it is me, because whenever you talk about playing fast, playing hard and smart and consistent, that falls directly on your head coach. What can the veterans do to fix this: It’s not just the veterans. It’s all 61 men. We all have to come together collectively and all hands on deck. Time to deal. Here it is. Here’s your opportunity.”
How did you get here?
“This is the worst question in the world because anything I say now is going to sound like an excuse. Anything you say right here, this is a loaded question. I don’t to make excuses. I’m not trying to downplay your question, but I just don’t like the whole answer I have to give there. That’s like I’m blaming someone else and I refuse to do that. We have to play better. We have to prepare better and we have to get better in our fundamental core believes. How fast we play, how smart we play, how consistent we play, those are the things we have to do. Pointing fingers at people does nothing. Pointing fingers at coaches does nothing. For us, it’s about the 61 men I’m about to go address and talk to and getting those guys into collective agreement and going out here and playing football the way we want to play it and our physical brand.”
What about the young defense?
“We just have to play better. We have a bunch of young guys out there running around and they’re playing fast and they’re playing hard, but they’re not playing consistent enough, and it’s all got to be a part of you’ve got a young Mike, and again I’m making excuses and I hate that, but you have young players and we’re not playing consistent enough, and that falls on the head coach. You have alignment issues on some things, you’ve got a bust on that thing here, and when you have little things like that, big plays happen or non-consistent plays happen. The up and down roller coaster of how they play from series to series happens, and those are the things you have to correct and those things take time and that’s something that we have to do and need.”
You mentioned a couple of loafs?
"I might be making a little bit more up than I should be with the loafs, but it’s the whole process of it. You have to go out there and play as hard as you possibly can every single snap. Rod Marinelli said it best, 'Run till your heart bursts, then after that give me one more snap.'
At some point, are the players accountable?
"We’re all accountable. That’s always going to be an issue here and how we rotate people. We probably created a little spark in Geno Hayes this week. He came out and played his best game by putting him on the bench the following week. He’s going to work his way back into the lineup somehow. I can see it. Those things I have to go. Those things I’ve got to coach. It’s not about anyone being admirable. It’s about me telling you guys what my job is and going out and doing it."
Is Albert Haynesworth’s effort an example of how to do it?
"He played a good game yesterday. He was excited to be at a new place; he was excited to get out there and play 47 snaps; he was excited to go out and make seven tackles for us. He played decent. He had some mistakes as well, which was expected. He had a slide issue on the first series and some things of that nature. But to go out there and play as well as was and be effective like he was is promising and it’s something to build on with this team and something to build on. We got a lot of confidence in that.
"Michael Bennett played particularly well yesterday. Again, it is the up and down play. Last week we talked about Michael not playing well but yesterday he played well. We got to get everybody to play on the same page all the time and that’s my job."
Albert said he was talking to team because they lost focus. Is that youth?
"There’s no room for excuses about anything. Albert was good yesterday. He did a nice job of handling the situation. He did a nice job coming off the field and giving people information to talk about. He was good. He actually told me when he made a mistake, when he slipped. He was a great communicator. He did a nice job with his young teammates. Michael Bennett did a nice job yesterday as well. He had great leadership, great spark and great energy. We have to play with that type of effort all the time."
Did organization misjudge talent on this team?
"I don’t know about that. I think we always talked about us not being a finished product. I think we kind of know that but that’s not going to lower our expectations of your football team. Your job is to go out and try to win a championship no matter what and that’s what we’re still going to continue to try to do."
On facing Green Bay:
"That’s awesome. This is the best time for us to play those guys. We’ve got the best team in the National Football League lined up on deck ready to deal. I’ve got a chance to go upstairs and get a rebound and make all you guys love me again next week."