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November 28, 2011 @ 3:01 pm
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"Sloppy Ball" Doomed Bucs In Nashville, Morris Says

Written by Eric
Horchy
Sunday's loss dropped Raheem Morris and the Bucs to 4-7
Sunday's loss dropped Raheem Morris and the Bucs to 4-7
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Eric Horchy

Eric
Horchy

Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

There was little to smile about around One Buccaneer Place on Monday afternoon following Tampa Bay's 23-17 loss in Tennessee on Sunday.

Dreary weather and an equally downcast mood followed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers south after suffering a devastating 23-17 loss in Tennessee less than 24 hours ago.

The locker-room atmosphere was expectedly subdued Monday as players trickled in and out of the double-door entryway. Head coach Raheem Morris, though not short in his responses, was limited to only six minutes of press-conference time.

Sunday had been dubbed as a playoff-type game for the Bucs, needing to win out just to match last year’s surprising 10-6 finish and retain realistic hopes of advancing past Week 16. If that were the case, Tampa Bay was a one-and-done postseason team.

The Bucs were plagued by turnovers and penalties at inopportune moments in Nashville and Morris said making that many mistakes is something this young and inexperienced team cannot recover from at the present time.

“At lot of bad things as far as turnovers,” Morris said during his opening statement on Monday. “Sloppy ball. We’re not a mature enough team or a grown enough team to win games that way. We’ve got to go out and be perfect. We’ve got to execute. We can’t leave it in anybody’s hands but our own. We remain committed to growing as a football team and that’s what we’ve got to do.”

Despite falling to 4-7 and the actual playoffs becoming nothing more than a pipe dream, Morris didn’t let on that the team is losing confidence in its ability to win games with five remaining on the 2011 schedule.

“I don’t think the mentality of this team is ever going to change. There’s a bunch of guys playing with pride in there. They’re not done playing and we’re not done coaching. So we’re going to keep going out there and keep giving our best effort. I don’t see any quit in these guys. I don’t see these guys turning it down. They certainly didn’t do it yesterday, but we’ve just got to be able to finish games and be able to play better.”


Cornerback Aqib Talib, who recorded his second interception and touchdown at Tennessee with his third-quarter pick-six, admitted that the latest setback was especially frustrating.

“The most frustrating thing that could happen to a football team,” he said about losing a winnable game in the fourth quarter. "We’ve got to just find a way. I mean, it’s all about finding a way. There’s no answer for that. You all ask the questions and there [is] no answer for it. If we knew the answer to that we would never lose a game. We go out there and play on Sunday. We try to win [and] stuff happens and we lose. Stuff happens and we win. This week stuff happened and we lost. It’s football.”

Tampa Bay led twice during Sunday afternoon’s cold, wet contest, but was unable to build upon either lead. As the day wore on, Titans running back Chris Johnson began emerging as the game’s premier player and the Bucs defense had no answers for how to stop him. Johnson gained a manageable 46 yards on nine carries in the first half but exploded for 144 on 14 attempts over the final 30 minutes of play.

“He did a nice job running the football and staying consistent with his runs,” Morris said of Johnson. “The couple breakout runs he had, he had one on a breakdown by us. He broke a couple tackles in the second half. Also in the second half, their offensive line did a nice job of getting up to the second level and blocking our linebackers and allowing Chris Johnson to make some D-linemen miss. They did a nice job of that in the second half.

“We’ve got to be able to stop him like we did in the first half and contain him like we did in the first half. In the second half they made some plays and they made one more [than us], really, to win that football game. We really had them where we wanted; kind of forcing them into a bunch of pass situations. We got a couple tackles for loss, but you really just can’t let him out because he’s a dangerous back, runs fast and when he’s in the open grass he becomes dangerous. Those few plays that he gets out in the chute allow the rushing stats to get all out of whack.”

The Buccaneers will evaluate the game tape and release their official tackle totals on Tuesday, but the postgame NFL numbers listed four members of Tampa Bay’s secondary as the team's top tacklers on Sunday. The Titans ran the ball one more time than they passed it (35 to 34) and that aforementioned stat is indicative of a running back spending quite a bit of time in the second and third levels.

When asked if a lack of production from the second level allowed for much of Johnson’s big day, Morris said that onus primarily lies up front.

“The DBs actually kept him in the chute. That’s why he didn’t have the 70-yard run, the 60-yard run. They kept him pretty consistent. Their O-line did a nice job of getting up to our backers in the second level in that second half. They put blocks on those guys and those guys had to shed and make some plays. You saw Quincy [Black] make some plays by shooting his gaps. We’ve got to play up front and that’s where it starts. The guys at the second level actually did a nice job of not allowing him to absolutely destroy and get downfield and really press us and get to the point where we ran into trouble with him.”

In order for his defense as a whole to begin winning games, Morris said little in terms of specifics. He simply said they aren’t playing well enough and must improve.

“Well, we’ve got to play better. The guys have got to step up. We’ve got to play better up front. We’ve got to play better at linebacker. We won’t make excuses. No excuses, no explanations. We didn’t play well and we’ve got to play better.”

Prior to being essentially hustled away from the podium, two questions were snuck in regarding the status of defensive tackle Brian Price and the play of rookie Da’Quan Bowers.

Price was injured during the first half of Sunday’s game and needed to be carted off the field.

“He messed up his ankle a little bit,” Morris said. “I’ll get more detailed information as the week goes on as far as where he’s going to be, but we lost him pretty early yesterday. I think it was early in the second quarter. The guys really came out and played well on defense that first series, got a three-and-out and stopped them after the big turnover. Then they came back out, we were down 7-3 [after] the big kickoff return and they played well again, got a nice stop, and I think I lost Brian at that point.”

Starting in place of the injured Michael Bennett at left defensive end, Bowers filled in by getting credit for one tackle and one hit on Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. It was Bowers’ first crack at starting on Sundays and Morris said he turned in an up-and-down performance.

"Bowers played well for his first time out there [as a starter]. Growing pains of course. He obviously had some bad plays and he had some really good plays. He played decent and we can get him to play better and keep seeing him grow and grow throughout the season."

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 00:25
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    I have a pretty good idea where the Glazer's thumbs are.
  • avatar


    And the word of the day is "thumb." "Thumbgate" Thumble on 4th and 1, game over. "One for the Thumb" (Steeler's 1981) Thumbs down! This loss sticks out like a sore thumb. The referees are just thumbing their nose at us with all of the penalties. Denver has Tebow...the Bucs have Thumbo. Our guys tackle like they have their thumb up their.....nose. Our receivers catch the ball like they are all thumbs. We just keep shooting ourselves in the thumb. Someone is going to get the thumb if things don't change.
  • avatar


    You're right Scubog. But you have to admit being 29 million under the cap and having mediocre talent is pretty damn frustrating. 6-10 this year. And what's up with Josh and the shooting range? When is it going to end? The off-season hasn't even started yet.
  • avatar

    I want a t-shirt that says "they're not just young, they're poorly coached". I'd definitely buy that before I'd buy a jersey of any current player. Well, maybe Barber or Blount. You know, the only guys that play with heart
  • avatar


    Sloppy ball. really. did our head coach just say sloppy ball is why we lost the game. Man this is football. It is to be played in the heat, on the frozen tundra, and in the %riken rain. These guys get paid more than I do in 10 years for 1 years of sitting on the bench. Sloppy ball is just an excuse to me. We have to play better, better coaching, and better personnel. Morris you're a good coach, and I still believe you will be successful in this league. But man, you have to step up to the plate and lead this team. If your offence is lame and predictable, get in the meeting and start telling them that. If you LB don't want to play, bench them, hell play a rookie. It is time to step up to the plate. We as fans want to see a leader, can you be one coach Morris?
  • avatar

    Er......I think by 'sloppy ball' he meant as in 'playing sloppy ball' not that the ball was sloppy. Need to read a little more carefully dude.
  • avatar


    We are not a run first team. We continue the dink and dunk plays and it makes no sense. Our players get excited AND perform when we start slinging it around. We need a vertical offense that is aggressive. Look at Carolina, they take shots down the field all the time and you will see that this game. They do NOT have a better collection of talent than us yet their offense performs better. Our defense is not playing their gaps and are playing too sandlot. Tighten it up, own your assignment. TRUST. That said, Black and Hayes are soft, primma donnas. Get some thumpers in there.
  • avatar


    It is becomming clearer that the team has been losing confidance in their leadership. Wining inforces and losing erodes. Leadership continues to prove they have'nt a clue. I see no good ending to this story.
  • avatar


    I don't like where this thing is getting spun. Singular focus--this game was an easy win even with the poor tackling, awful LB play, and the turnovers--if only the offense had played with any type of authority what so ever. They mill around before the huddle, wander out of the huddle up to the line, look confused--there is zero swagger. The smoke route was the slowest developing quick throw I've ever seen. The defense put up 7, got the offense good field position, held the Titans on several turn overs. The defense played good enough to get a win. Yes they need to play better. They need an influx of some high draft picks and FA's--possibly even a LB coach. But that loss is on the offense. Buc Ball seems to be putting them to sleep. Their 1st quarter woes have grown to encompass the entire game. Somebody look into why this offense is so afraid to succeed. Maybe playing for the field goal, or the punt is killing their spirit?
  • avatar


    And that AMOBUCS1 is the common perception that the Glazer boys need to change. Right or wrong, your statements are what people think even though none of us (except BF47) have ever seen the accounting records or the Glazer's portfolio.
  • avatar


    "The guys at the second level actually did a nice job of not allowing him to absolutely destroy and get downfield and really press us and get to the point where we ran into trouble with him.” - So exactly how many more rushing yards OVER 190 did Johnson need to get before Rah considers his defense destroyed (again). So it's OK if Johnson is kept under 200 on the ground, just as long as he doesn't go over that he doesn't give the defense any trouble? Wow.
  • avatar


    Hey Bulldog, stop sniffing the ink on the newspaper. The reason the Buccaneers are garbage is because ownership spends it's money on their soccer team. What is wrong with you? Do you honestly think E.J. Biggers is going to grow three more inches next year? Do you really think Jeff Faine isn't going to tear his biceps again next season? Do you really think Joe Barry is going to become a better coach next year? Wake up! Ownership needs to fire Raheem Morris immediately. His buddy Mike Tomlin will hire him in five minutes. Then ownership must hire Bill Cowher. You know, a real football coach. Then we draft two cornerbacks, a center, and a linebacker to start. Thank you Luke Stocker for costing us a fourth rounder. By the way, I'm a Mets and Islanders fan as well. Their ownership is trying to sell me on this youth movement crap as well. Oh, and another thing, the Packers and Patriots have a couple of decent quarterbacks. Jimney Christmas! Do you really think, Josh Freeman would make Danny Woodhead a productive player?
  • avatar


    Coach just confirmed to me that he is talking like he is just the DC and not the Head Coach; he doesn't have a clue how to make the Offense better. It's the Offense that is the really big problem. Coach wake up; your job is on the line here.
  • avatar

    Well Raheem, who's job is it to fix the sloppy play, inconsistency, lack of effort? Yours! Guy might need asbestos underwear after a few more weeks of this.
  • avatar


    Morris said his young team made to many mistakes to win. The problem is Winslow, Zuttuh, and Faine, bad snap on 4th down, made the worst mistakes at the worst time, and they're vets. Morris, and Olson, if you don't waste a down needlessly spiking the ball with plenty of time to go, you would've had the down you needed to get a 1st. I don't want to hear we're a young team, that was the plan right? They're not just young, they're poorly coached.
  • avatar


    I understand the whole building thru the draft, but you still need some veterans to show these young guys how to be professionals. Barber cant do it by himself. The coaching staff is 100% responsible for the lack of discipline this team has. Half of this teams problems are due to a lack of discipline. Morris is more of a friend to these players than a coach. This young team needs a established head coach that will hold the players responsible for their actions both on and off the field.
  • avatar


    When will ownership admit this coaching staff is a total failure?? Not only is this "Head Coach" 9 games under .500 - but his "Defense" ranks 31 in the NFL. The BUCS are ranked 28 against the PASS and 30 against the RUN. Changes need to be made. Hire a REAL COACH!!! CLEAN HOUSE And who calls a DRAW play on 3RD and 27?? The QB coach and Olsen both need to go. It's the same cheap, lame football every week. Predictable, unimaginative, uninspired and undisciplined. I'm not giving up on the players - but I have certainly given up on this coaching staff. You get what you pay for and the BUC FANS are paying top dollar for cheap football.
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