Maybe it was the pressure of a six-game losing streak. Perhaps it was desperation to reign in his team’s lack of discipline, but whatever the reason, Buccaneers coach Raheem made a statement almost unheard of in the professional coaching ranks when after an unnecessary roughness call on DT Brian Price, Morris sent Price packing. Not to the sidelines, not to the locker room – but packing as in to home.
“Told him to go home,” Morris said. “Because it is foolish. It’s selfish to your teammates [and] to everybody in the organization [and] to your fans. That’s terrible. That’s just selfish behavior. Give a 15-yard penalty in that situation when that’s all we talk about [and] that’s all we discuss. You just can’t do that to your team.
“Told him to go home. Get out of the building. Get away, yes.”
Circumstances behind what happened are unclear, and most players in the locker room didn’t want to comment or didn’t see the play happen. Obviously Price was unavailable for comment, as well, but the frustration of a season that began with such high hopes is clearly wearing on everyone.
One player clearly standing behind Morris was veteran cornerback Ronde Barber, who had this to say when asked after the game if he agreed with Morris sending Price home.
“That is absolutely the right call,” Barber said after showering and returning to his locker following the game Sunday. “It's not the first time. It's unacceptable. Just is what it is. We all love Brian Price and Brian plays with a lot of emotion, but can’t have that. That hurts our team. [It] hurts him. Just not who we want to be. It is what it is. I think Rah [Raheem Morris] made a great decision.”
Already some are questioning if making an example out of Price sets the right example, but LeGarrette Blount, who earlier this season at New Orleans hurt his team in the same fashion, said the losing streak is tough on the entire organization.
“We have to control our emotions and we have to control our tempers,” Blount said. “We have lost six or seven games in a row. It’s just frustrating. A lot of guys have their emotions really deep into this and a lot of guys know how to control them and a lot of guys don’t. Losing that many games can frustrate anyone. It’s like a ticking time bomb before one of those players just kind of snaps out there.
“He’s going to be alright. B.P. is going to be alright. Emotionally he hates losing. Nobody is used to it.”
PewterReport.com asked Blount if sending Price home sends a message of accountability to the rest of the team.
“He [Morris] has always been serious about accountability,” Blount said. “It’s just that … he understands where we are coming from. He understands we are emotionally wounded. It’s just the fact that it's time now for us all to step up and correct all of our mistakes. Try and go out there and win four in a row and heal our wounds.”
Morris clearly knows things must change to salvage any respectability from the 2011 season.
“I can take getting beat by a better football team. As far as penalties and some other things that we caused, it was unacceptable,” Morris said. “We are not playing like a smart football team right now. Right now we've got four weeks to prove that we can play smart. If we don’t play smart, we won’t win many games.”