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December 5, 2011 @ 4:59 pm
Current rating: 4.50 Stars/2 Votes

Bucs' Mood Somber The Day After Debacle

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Frustration and what-ifs abounded in the Tampa Bay locker room Monday as the players come to grips with a season of disappointments that began with such high hopes.

The locker room at One Buccaneer Place was somber and quiet for the most part Monday morning as players trickled in and out preparing to watch film and get treatment. Cornerback Aqib Talib hobbled through the room, noticeably limping and feeling the effects of a hamstring injury that was re-aggravated on the first series in Sunday's 38-19 loss to Carolina.

The hip-hop music normally blaring from a number of lockers was noticeably absent, and even the daily card game near the linebackers’ corner of the room was unusually subdued. A six-game losing streak tends to have that effect.

To their credit a few players stood up and answered questions about a season that has obviously slipped away.

Linebacker Geno Hayes, who has felt the brunt of Raheem Morris’ example-setting after being benched earlier this season, said the mood is no brighter 24 hours later.

“You know, it's a loss,” Hayes said. “For the big picture it’s even harder. I haven’t looked at the film yet [and] haven’t had time to evaluate it. Hopefully it looks a lot better than what you feel like it is on film.

“We got plenty of confidence. We've just got to go out and work hard every day. Day in and day out at work. Come in with a great mindset [and] don’t have any negative thoughts toward each other and just go out and work every day.”

During the third quarter of Sunday’s game Raheem Morris made an example out of Brian Price after committing an unnecessary roughness penalty by not only taking him out of the game but actually sending him home. Hayes agreed an example needed to be made.

“Yes, exactly. Exactly, that’s all I can say. [Morris] has been talking about it all year. At the same time you have to learn how to turn your anger into the next play, not on that particular play. In between the whistles is where you really get it on. After the whistle, it's very obvious what's going on because [play's] stopped. [There's] a certain way to handle your anger.”

Cornerback Elbert Mack was another player who was willing to talk to PewterReport.com about yesterday’s game. Mack was asked about comments Ronde Barber made Sunday following the game that the Buccaneers had a good week of preparation coming into the matchup with Carolina.

“As far as some of the plays that they did, we practiced on [them] all week,” Mack said. “We executed [the plays] well like Ronde said. We knew basically what they wanted to come in and do. We knew they wanted to try to come in and establish the run game, which they did. It's frustrating, like Ronde said, when you practice something all week and you do well on it. Then you get in the game and you just kind of freeze up and forget about all the [other things].”

When asked about how Price being sent home might affect the locker room, Mack said he didn’t even know it happened initially.

“I didn’t even know that he sent him. I thought that he actually was ejected,” Mack said. “I didn’t even know that he actually sent him in. So as far as that, I don’t know. It’s frustrating to have a couple games where we've had costly penalties in big time points in the game.”

Offensive captain center Jeff Faine was torn on his position but said it ultimately was something that needed to be done.

“I stick behind what my head coach's decisions are,” Faine said. “It’s difficult because he's also one of my teammates. I wish the best out of him. It's an example of some things we can do better at as a team and players. It's unfortunate the spotlight is on Brian Price. But it's an example of things we need to start doing better around here for us to have a chance to be successful.”

Mack agreed with Faine that attitudes and preparation must improve if Tampa Bay is going to break the losing streak.

“We've just got to prepare like we always [have] been preparing around here. Got to just try not to think about the five or six in a row game skid. You've just got to look at this last quarter as being totally different.

“[If we knew for sure] it would be one of those type of things you just fix on the sideline. This is preparation. We've just got to take it for what it is and just build on it. [We've] just got to look at these last four games as a new season [and] try to build on something for next year and try to get it going around here.”

With just four games left to right the sinking ship there is no room for error. When asked if the players inside the locker room still believe in Morris and the message he preaches, Hayes was quick and to the point with his answer.

“No doubt. He's a great coach,” Hayes said. “He deserves to have great players playing great for him the whole time, so of course we've got his back. We've got to go out and win these last four games.”

Last modified on Monday, 05 December 2011 22:18

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  • avatar

    If Indy didn't put Manning on IR with what could be a career-ending neck injury; why would anyone conclude that with four games left we would put Freeman on IR with a minor shoulder injury?
  • avatar

    scubog, I would hope we would be smarter than Indy. It's dumb to keep Manning on the roster uless he has some kind of contract opt out if he goes on IR. We have 3 weeks and four days left in our season. I would hope we would utilize the situation to become something positive for 2012? I will be surprised if Freeman starts Sunday. Why not play JJ and Carpenter and lets see if either one is worth keeping for next year as a back up. I would be moving in and out the last 5-6 roster spots to see if we could keep one for 2012 season. I would be pulling practic squad players off other teams and seeing if we might be able to keep one for 2012. I would definitely call up some of our Practice Squad players and decide now if they can really play in 2012. I don't know; just some out of the box thoughts.
  • avatar

    I am surprised that no players were cut today nor placed on IR. I guess the organization is happy with the present group of players?
  • avatar

    I watched the game again on NFL replay and I have to say it seems the LB's are our main problem. There is just no help at the second level. I think we have the potential for a dominant D-line with Clayborne and Bowers at DE's and McCoy and Price at DT. I would love to see us get Honey Badger in the draft because he will make receivers pay once they catch the ball (if he doesn't pick it first) and I think we need two LB's. I'd like to see Foster moved to the outside and draft some mean nasty 'Ray Lewis attitude' MLB and I'd like to see if Black can replace Jones at safety. That's four position changes on defense and I think we're good to go. Once the defense is intact we can be like the Bucs of old who really don't have to score a lot of points to win. Our offense is good enough to get the job done if we can get a back to push Blount for his job and make Blount run hard every down. We're really not that far away. We've picked up some very good talent in the draft. They are young but they are showing potential. Unfortunately, we may have the worst outside LB's in football. They HAVE to go. They by themselves are costing us games.
  • avatar

    so is freemans injury really that serious to put him on ir.
  • avatar

    krayzie, I am the only one putting that out. I believe that he injured his shoulder way earlier than the last game and the last tackle just continued it to get worse. If he can't play this week then he should go on IR. It's his throwing arm and all he'll do is screw up his mechanics even more. Why take a chance at this point and risk further injury. Just my opinion. Why not go ahead and play Johnson and Carpenter and lets see if we have any real back ups for Freeman next season.
  • avatar

    pfigg, I think that some "who are saying to fire Morris" is because of his lack of leadership and discipline. Before you can win, you have to have leaders on and off the team and I believe we are very weak at that. I am going to put one foot back on the bus with Coach Morris because we should win the Jacksonville game. They look worse than us. If we don't win it, then there is no hope that whatever Coach Morris is trying will be good enough for him to maintain his job after this season. I think almost all of us want a new OC and either a DC and or LB Coach too. That part I hope we can agree on?
  • avatar

    This has been a terrible year with plenty of blame to go around, but I do not understand all of the people calling for Rah's head. This was never going to be the Buc's year. Everyone needed to grow together and progress as players. Look at what we have for next year. If everyone is healthy and the team decides to keep Haynesworth, we have a solid D-Line with 3 high quality DE's and several DT's. The LB unit is the weakest, but if we keep Watson, Foster and Hayes, we can add a high quality ILB through the draft. This is a strong draft for ILB's. We are okay at safety if they can focus on being safeties and not plugging holes that LB's should fill. While corner is a concern with the possibility of Barber finally aging and Talib being a complete wildcard, we will be okay if they pick one up in the 3rd round and ditch Lewis. On offense, we must have a change of pace for Blount. Madu looked pretty good to me, but we need to get another RB (with speed) in the draft. Receivers will get better this next year, including a continuation of Williams second half of this season and the emergence of Webber. The offensive line needs some draft picks also. They looked terrible against Carolina. This might be the year to trade a future draft pick to get a little more talent this year. My biggest concern for a team this young and undisciplined is the cancerous influence of someone like Winslow, who is trying to get into a fight with the other team after almost every play. It is ridiculous!! His father was one of the 10 best players I have ever seen, but the son is an immature pale reflection. These guys obviously know how to spot talent and draft. They are also much better than Bruce Allen was at cap management. Let them finish the job they started.
  • avatar

    There are 4 levels of players that comprise a team. 1. Those that are very young-inexperienced or those that are able to play several positions, but not very well. 2. Good players that can start, but are not impact players. 3. Impact players that are where they need to be on every play and, at times, provide the dynamic plays that can win games. 4. Pro bowl level players that are among the best at their position. The Bucs are 95% made up of #1 and #2. We need 6-8 dynamic impact players to move this team foward. Defensively, we need two slobber-knocker Pittsburgh Steeler-type outside linebackers, A tall,fast covering corner and a quick-reacting, tackling safety. Offensively, we need a top change of pace runner to pair with Blount, Fullback that can pick up a blitz and open holes, a field stretching WR and a quick possession receiver for 3rd downs. That's 8 glaring holes that weren't addressed last year and have left us with a sieve of a defense and a totally ineffective offense.
  • avatar

    I expect Freeman and Talib to go on IR shortly and I believe at least two players will be cut tomorrow. go Bucs! Get Better!
  • avatar

    Horse what makes u think free is going to ir?
  • avatar

    Bucnut2, His shoulder is still sore and why would we rush him back at this point of the season without he being atleast 90-95% on his throwing arm. He might as well go on IR and get a 100% after surgery? Yeah that probably too. Do I know for sure? Of course not, but it appears to me that he won't be back in time to contribute much of anything now. I'd like to see JJ go another game and see what we have and have not. JJ can beat the Jaguars. Freeman would too if he was healthy.
  • avatar

    Artpac I'm on that short list with you. I Agee with your whole plan and I think the reason it works is highering a pricey coach would demand glazer boys spend on free agency since no coach could win consistenly with baby's who'd rather play playstation then read over playbook. Dom and glazer boys need to be fair and let rah pick his own free agent who will gell with new draft picks over an entire offseason. It's a lot cheaper this way than to jack up cost of new assist coaches the new coach would want. At least the current picks fit 4-3 what if cowher came in scrapped that we'd be at square one. I support Morris as hc give him a full Offseason and buy him som priority free agents. New lb coach and o.c. Remember it was just last year that mOst of us were saying Morris was robbed the coach of the year by bellicheat
  • avatar

    You forget that Cowher is used to not signing free agents. Pitts never did! He's perfect for us and I hope we get him. I like rah as a person but, this defense is worse than it was when he fired bates.
  • avatar

    bellicheat that was funny and right on the spot
  • avatar

    I wonder if the linebackers will be playing cards in the next coaches locker room?
  • avatar

    Look, everyone wants new coaches and new players and everyone thinks this is the worst Bucs team ever and all of that. And I understand it. But I think that some of our problems are easily fixable. 1. Our LB's. They are awful. Black and Hayes have to go. Foster is young and has shown flashes, but I think (gulp) we would have been wise to keep Ruud another year because a. We could have let Foster play OLB for a year, and B. 12 tackles 8 yards down the field is better than what we are getting from our OLB's, and c. At least Ruud played the run. 2. Secondary. Ronde has been solid, and will be until he retires. Unfortunately that could be soon. Talib I don't trust because he looks like an elite corner for about 3-4 games a year, plays awful for 6-8, and is hurt for the rest. Plus he is a head case. Just not elite. Biggers has looked bad at times this year, but at least he looks like he is trying. I would keep him hear as a nickel/dime back as there is hope for him, he just isn't a number 1 corner. At safety Tanard has definitely looked pretty good, but the rest of the safeties are backups at best. We definitely need to add about 5 new bodies to the secondary with 1 high priced FA corner, and another drafted in first two rounds. 3. OL-I would at a minimum get a new RT and C. 4. Freeman-I still believe in him, but he is the player most responsible for where we are. 5. May be hard to do, but I really believe we need a true No. 1 reciever who will make everyone else better. 6 New OC and LB coach. 7. It's nice to get rookie FA who contribute, but we can't use them to provide depth at every spot. We need to get some real NFL players at our backup spots. We just aren't talented enough to have 5-10 roster spots used up for special teams players we pray never see the field on offense or defense. We need quality depth and we don't have it at OL, S, RB, CB, and especially LB. 8. The good news: Penn's a pretty good LT, I like our DL, especially if we keep Haynesworth, I think (but don't know) that with a better OC and a few more weapons Freeman can be better, and, though the list of people who agree with me is incredibly short, I still believe in Raheem, I saw him do it last year, and if he can somehow survive this horrible stretch, I think he can lead us for years to come.
  • avatar

    artpac, If Coach Morris can at least get this easy Jacksonville win then I might keep one foot still on his bus, but GM and him must get experienced OC & DC and let them determine who their coaches will be. I am willing to try Rah (as his players call him) next year if I also see improvement; so far there is not much. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    I think both oc and dc need to go regardless of the results.
  • avatar

    I like the caption on the picture: "Even the officials were off their game Sunday." They've cost us games before, but not yesterday.
  • avatar

    Somber? Does the brain trust at One Buc finally realize we have an undermanned coaching staff, no depth, and over hyped young players? There is a lot to fix and if they dont make an earnest attempt at it expect less than the 38k +/- that were in the stands on Sunday. Oh my how quickly things can change. As I have said before, its all quite comical in a tragic way since the Chicago game for me but the sense of entitlement and "we are a good team" attitude ruined this season. We had it all figured out after one 10-6 season. There was alot to be excited about coming into this year but seeing one debacle after another is just too much to bare now. Will be interesting to see what happens from now and in the early part of the offseason when the big moves are made.
  • avatar

    Well, at least the card game was subdued.
  • avatar

    Good to see players supporting the coach, regardless of how bad we are doing.
  • avatar

    You think they know they are gone right behind Heemie as soon as he's fired?
  • avatar

    Doesn't look like the players have his back.
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