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November 21, 2011 @ 1:58 pm
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Raheem Morris: "We Still Have To Play Smarter"

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Reflecting a day later Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris said he wouldn't do anything different, including attempting two onside kick attempts. Tampa Bay knows there is no margin for error and will need to win out to have any chance for the playoffs this season.

A day after going to toe-to-toe with the undefeated defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris and a few Tampa Bay players talked about the near upset Sunday at Lambeau Field.

“Obviously not the outcome or the result that the team wanted,” Morris said. “They played hard. They played fast. They played physical. We've still got to play smarter. Still too many penalties. Whether they're judgment calls or whether, they are offsides [or] whatever the case may be. When you play teams with the caliber of the Green Bay Packers – you can't have those things if you want to get a win.

“So we've got to eliminate those things [and] we've got to do a better job at that. Hopefully it's something we clear up at practice. We have been working on it all year so it's nothing new. It's a recurring problem that has to end at some point.”

After a day of reflection Raheem Morris was still adamant that going for two onside kick attempts was the right decision.

“When you play a team like that you've got to go out there and you've got to take chances,” Morris said. “You've got to find a way to steal some possessions. Whether it's stealing one on offense, whether it's getting turnovers or whether it's trying to make some plays on special teams, we gave those guys an opportunity to go out there and make some plays.

“Unfortunately we didn’t make those two plays, but if we do it's a different ball game and we've got a better chance. Those guys backed me up yesterday after we didn’t go get it. Elbert Mack came up and stole a possession for us with the interception. That stuff doesn’t happen to [Aaron] Rodgers. He's thrown three all year and for us to get one yesterday and steal a possession that way was awesome.

"That was a great job by our team [of] nobody blinking,” Morris continued. “Everybody understood the philosophy. Everybody understood the plan going into that game. We talked about it on Monday. We talked about it on Tuesday. We talked about it on Wednesday. We talked about it on Thursday and we talked about it on Friday and Saturday. Then Sunday we went out and tried to execute it. Unfortunately, we didn’t get those two big ones that we wanted. Certainly would have been a nice deal there. They stole the possession on us on that fake punt or the block, drop, pick-up, scramble, so it is what it is. It's just a good football team.”

Michael Koenen talked about the two onside kick attempts that were both unsuccessful.

“The second time it felt pretty good,” Koenen said. “The first one I knew was going to be short so I was just trying to cover it. The second did feel pretty good. I watched it back on film and it looked like it just sped up on me. I tried to dive on it but it squirted out. Wish I could do it again, but I can’t.

“It's a finesse thing where you are trying to hit it eleven or twelve yards but I just hit it a little light and it just died in the grass. I realized it was going to be a bad play on my part and I didn’t want to make it worse by letting them scoop and score. I was just trying to cover it up and minimize the damage.”

The play of the secondary was up and down for most of the afternoon. Holding Aaron Rodgers to less than 300 yards passing is almost a win in itself, but too many penalties again doomed the Buccaneers, particularly in the fourth quarter. Morris commented about a big bright spot in his opinion: the play of cornerback Aqib Talib.

“It might be Talib’s best game I’ve seen him play,” Morris said. “He pretty much was man-on-man with one of the best wideouts in the league in my opinion. And he pretty much played man-on-man every single snap. He went out there and got three knocked-down passes for us. [Greg] Jennings had two catches for six yards. [Talib] had some big tackles for us. He played physical, he played strong. He didn’t have any penalties. He was huge.

“You get on the plane and second guess yourself and say we should have put him on Jordy, but then Jennings would have killed us. It's what it is, man. You have to go out there and compete and you have to take your hat off to the Green Bay Packers, the coaching staff and their players for going out there and competing the way they did.”

Talib stood in front of the microphones but was in no mood to talk about his play.

“We went down there to get a W and came back with an L, so [there is] no moral victory,” Talib said. "We lost. We didn’t play good enough.”

PewterReport.com asked Morris in his press conference how much the decision to practice in pads had on the improved play over last week against Houston.

“I would like to think a lot of it was attributed to that,” Morris said. “I saw my receivers go out there and compete at the highest level we have seen all season. Competing down the field making plays. Mike Williams and Rejus [Arrelious] Benn in particular. And Kellen Winslow. They made a bunch of plays in coverage against some really good DB’s and linebackers. And that’s what it has to be about. 

That Blount run was a direct reflection of getting back to running in pads and lowering your level and making people tackle Blount. That was a direct reflection in my opinion of what the practices were about last week. He got the ball and broke a bunch of tackles. I could go upstairs and try to draw that run up again and we might never be able to do it again without LeGarrette Blount running behind his pads like he did.”

With six losses and six games to go, the Buccaneers’ head coach knows there is no more room for error this season.

“I told them yesterday we have six more and we've got to go out there and we've got to knock off one at a time,” Morris said. “You've got to play each game and there's still time to get hot. We can still finish with the same record we had last year if we got our minds right and we go out and play hard and fast, physical and smart. Those are things that can happen for us. We've got to go out there and think that way every time we approach the field and every time we go out there.”

Last modified on Monday, 21 November 2011 14:52

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  • avatar

    I really do believe that we're going to catch some momentum after this game, mark my words. We needed this offensive showing to give us a little bit of an identity. What's even more important is that this game showed us how we need to practice throughout the week approaching games on Sunday. One thing about our Super Bowl team and the Dungy years is that we were known for our up tempo practices. The speed and intensity with which we practiced was a benchmark around the league. If we get back to that we'll be fine.
  • avatar

    the onside kick calls didn't lose that game and they are only bad calls because they didn't turn out in our favor. poor execution by the kicker and biggers and lewis(the five minutes he was in there) is what doomed us. whomever biggers is on week in and week out, have great games. that first interception before the half hurt and that was all on josh freeman, he should have just tucked it and ran as he should have on many interceptions and bad 3rd down throws this year. that pass interference call hurt as well, that was 7 that turned into 3. really wasn't any worse of a push off then most wr's in the league get away with it. we have got to get the opposing offense off the field on 3rd down. that first muffed punt that turned into a 1st down and eventually a td, hurt, LB should have just tackled the punter since he was 2 feet away instead of throwing his arms up to block the kick...and since they were deep in their own territory, we were set up for punt return and there was no one near to get to the punter who couldn't hang onto the ball. if we HAD played like this all year, we are easily 7-3 or 6-4...we beat detroit week 1, we beat chicago and we sweep the saints...i still say that half our problem is talent, youth and execution and the other half is coaching...i question the offensive play calls every week, Blount should have 20-26 carries every game he is in...and since our front four does not get to the qb often, and we are in man alot this year, there should be more blitzes from every angle. jones sucks in coverage and we need to give gaitor a shot to get on the field and see what he brings. we can finish 8-8 and make this a respectable end to the season. i was hoping for at least 10 wins this year, but we have only played a handful of games with the intensity to want to be better. hopefully this is where we get hot and finish strong.
  • avatar

    The Radio coaching act isn't entertaining anymore either. Its time for the Glazerhouses to bring in a real coach or lose more fans. How easy is it for the team to get up for one game after they mailed it in for the previous three? That's all on the coach. He's not accountable, so no one else is either. No wonder Ronde is pissed. "I came back... for THIS?!?!?!?!?"
  • avatar

    The "Radio" moniker isn't funny anymore. Not that it ever was humorous. We should take some comfort in the team clawing themselves out of the pits of that Houston game. It would have been easy for them to go into "Limbo" Field with an "How low can you go" mindset. Instead they went toe to toe with an offensive juggernaut and hopefully demonstrated to themselves what their effort had been lacking. Now, let's see what happens with a beatable Titan team on the horizon. Think Haynesworth might be a little inspired?
  • avatar

    So because some pundits on ESPN say they were good calls, then they were? Ex NFL players (Jorge Diaz, Ricky Reynolds) say the last onside kick was a bad call. I think I'll choose to believe them rather than drink the Radio kool aid.
  • avatar

    I've asked this question before and no one ever answers so ill ask you directly why do you call him radio? The only thing they share in common is skin color.... And just because ex NFL players say something was wrong doesn't hold more weight. Reason why they are ex players still and not coaches themselves.
  • avatar

    Not the only thing they share - apparently, they both enjoy football, yet show similar ability in coaching it. So talking heads know more than veterans? ..... I am not surprised this was YOUR response.
  • avatar

    Watching Around the Horn on ESPN and 3 out of 4 on the show said that the 2 onside kicks were good ideas and the only reason the 4th didn't buy it was because of "hindsight" The calls were good calls but I guess some people just like to complain
  • avatar

    Surferdudes, I couldn't agree with you more. I didn't like that at all. We did play a lot better and if we play hard and with confidence and desire we are formiddable team. I want us to keep looking like we belong with the upper tier teams and we'll be alright. There's never an excuse for a lack of effort.
  • avatar

    Not to sound like a downer, but it's sad to say you're proud of a team that played hard in week ten. Sorry no excuse for not playing hard the last nine weeks, that's on Morris. During an injury time out I saw Morris smiling and jokeing around with Rogers, in excusable during a game. Harbough, and Schwartz almost went to blows after a game, could you see either one of those coaches clowning around with the enemy during a game? Both the Lions, and Niners are hard nosed coaches, with hard nosed players, both teams kicked our butts. The team takes on the personality of the head coach, that's why we're a joke.I remember Morris smiling, and telling reporters at a presser that he was happy, and just loving life, after a loss, and the team had a great practice that day. Come game time they didn't play smart,fast,or hard. Morris's attitude is great for living, just not for being an NFL coach.
  • avatar

    Bucs have to just take it one game at a time. Play every game like its a game elimination.All I know is that if we play anyone like we do yesterday no one left on our schedule is beating us. Go Bucs! Run the table.
  • avatar

    No, I think Jennings decided he was "hurt" after he got his @$$ kicked all day by Aqib. Every NFL player gets a little banged up during a game. So long as Aqib doesn't let it go to his head and continues to play great disciplined football he'll be fine.
  • avatar

    Hmmmm...wasnt Jennings hurt for most of the game yesterday? Could that be why Talib had his "BEST" game?
  • avatar

    On a side note, I want to start by reiterating that both Biggers and Lewis have played poorly this year. However, I just remembered that Mack played just as poorly if not worse in 2009. I wanted him cut from the team then, but Morris kept him around and continued to groom him and now he's worthy of being our nickel CB. Let's not forget the great preseason Mack had this year. I'm just saying we should definitely take a CB or two high in the draft next year, but maybe we shouldn't cut two of our experienced CB's at once. Biggers has never been physical, but he was good cover corner in 2010. The more I think about it if we cut Lewis next year it may be wise to keep Biggers to have him compete for the 4th or 5th CB spot to see if having an offseason with the team makes a difference. Aqib (he's not going to jail) and our new draft pick can be our #1 and #2 CB's. Ronde would be a bonus since we don't know if he'll retire next year.
  • avatar

    I agree with Morris' assessment of the game and they play of Aqib in it. I loved how Aqib had the confidence to play underneath Jennings all day. He didn't sit on top of Jennings and wait for him to make a catch and try to tackle him afterwards to minimize the damage. I hate that. Aqib quickly read the routes and stayed beneath Jennings so there was nowhere to go with the pass. This technique works so long as you have a good CB and the QB can't just sit in the pocket comfortably.
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