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December 12, 2011 @ 2:44 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Morris: "If I Was Worried About Geting Fired, I Wouldn't Be Coaching"

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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A day after the Buccaneers dropped their seventh straight game of the season to Jacksonville, Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris met with the media at One Buccaneer Place for a lengthy press conference. Below is a transcript.

Opening Statement:
“Same old deal as yesterday. You talk about it and you go back and look. Obviously not the result that you wanted. You started fast, got some things done early that you wanted to get done and then the disastrous moments happened with the turnovers starting to pile up on you really affected field position. Not just the turnovers. We probably had our worst day punting the football yesterday that also gave those guys great field position.

“When you look back at the game, the score probably should have been 70-14 with the amount of opportunities that they had. Jacksonville did a nice job of capitalizing on some of their opportunities. We lost the football game. We did not do a nice job of bouncing back from adversity within the game. We did a nice job of getting a couple of stops. But we can’t pile up on ourselves and let that continue to hurt us and yesterday it did.

“But enough of self pity, it’s time to refocus on what we need to do with our football team from this point on. We’ll go back like we did last week with some basic things and try to get things better. we saw a lot of improvement from some of the stuff we worked on last week with some of our run defense issues, some of our things as far as executing on offense but now we have to talk about holding onto the football, some of our fundamental core beliefs and keep getting those things better. Because at the end of the day, you still building a bunch of young men and making those guys prepared to win a championship. We just have to deal with the fact it’s not going to be this year.”

On LeGarrette Blount and fumbling issues:

“It’s not been the last few weeks. It started when he first got in the lineup. On his first couple of weeks of carrying the football he put the ball on the ground a couple of times and we were fortunate to get some of those back. It’s been a concern with us with LeGarrette for awhile. We talked about it with him. We talked and we stressed it. It just so happens this year we weren’t so fortunate to get those balls back as we were in the past. 

“Not that it’s a concern but when you’re talking about a guy who runs the ball as he does and breaks as many tackles as he does, sometimes those guys get careless with the football with their ability to use extra effort. You hate to take away from a guy’s effort and a guy’s will to win but at the same time you have to be smart with the football and you got to do better with ball security in traffic in those type of situations. We have not done a great job at that especially yesterday. I believe he had two in Tennessee as well.

“A lot of people want to blame it on wet situations. I think those are excuses. It’s more about knowing your style of running, and understanding what is going on in the game and understanding that the defense and everybody is going to hustle and you have to do a better job at securing the football for your team and your coaching staff and everybody in the organization.”

When other teams see that on tape so does that add to the issue?
“No. 1 thing you talk about every week, you give those guys keys to win the football game and what can happen. I’m sure in Jacksonville it was something to do with ball security and having an opportunity to get after the ball when LeGarrette is carrying the ball. He’s a big fella. You know he’s going to get tangled up a bunch in traffic. A teachable moment for us at all times when a guy is hung up, trying to go for the ball, raking it out or you’re talking about a guy in a chase tackle situation and you go for the football. They capitalized to the fullest yesterday with some of those opportunities.”

How did the O-Line Play?
“They didn’t play great. Our left side of the offensive line. There’s no sugar coating that fact. Donald Penn didn’t have as great a game as he usually has for us. This is the first time we’ve talked about Donald Penn so that alone lets you know he didn’t play as good as he’d like too. He’s aware of that. We’re aware of that. Obviously, we’ve moved on to the Dallas game because of the short week. We won’t have that extensive film study and be able to evaluate with Donald form as a 1-on-1 coaching standpoint but I’m sure Donald will be in here today and he’ll look at himself and he’ll evaluate himself and he’ll come up to the coaches and he’ll get that fixed and get that corrected. He struggled yesterday against the rusher they had against him and those guys did a nice job of taking advantage of Donald and got our quarterback hit a little bit.”

How did Josh Freeman come out of the game health wise?
“He’s a tough guy. (He) took a couple of hits and landed on his shoulder a couple of time. That helped me to see him go out and throw the ball after that now you know it’s not structural, it’s pain and it’s something that you have to deal with in the National Football League. Yes, he got roughed up a little bit. We just mentioned the problems we had on the left side of our offense yesterday with the amount of that pass rush they were able to get on him. They hit him with a couple of blitzers. I’m not just blaming Donald either. We missed some blocks from the backs as well with the young back (Mossis) Madu. So we have to do a better job of protecting him which we have all year. We just have to, especially in this time and situation, with the shoulder issue with the quarterback, he has to go untouched.”

Will Freeman will be okay going forward?
“I do. Obviously out there practicing this week, we’ll see him throw tomorrow and do some different things, but obviously we’ll take caution with that.”

Do you feel like you’re on the hot seat?
“When you’re coaching you are always on the hot seat. That’s the mentality of what we do. We were on the hot seat when we went 10-6 and we didn’t go to the playoffs. You can still get fired. I got fired when I was 9-7 and I became the head coach that same year. You’re always on the hot seat. I try to tell guys all the time. If I was worried about being fired I certainly would not be coaching. I would have taken that physical education job in Long Island that I turned down 15 years ago. But that’s not what I do. We’re entertainers. We’re in this thing to win football games. I got a lot of guys in this locker room that are counting on us not to show mental weakness and we won’t do that.

“It’s great for you guys to scare my family half to death and talk about that stuff all throughout, but for us it’s a mental toughness, it’s move on, next opponent, next man up, it’s the Dallas Cowboys, coming in here hot for a Saturday night game and a chance for me to ruin Jason Garrett’s season and let you talk about him.”

Do you feel the criticism is warranted?
“Obviously the only criticism I care about comes form people with names that end with G. That’s the first thing you have to say. The next, his name has to end with a D, and that’s Dominik. And then it has to do with my coaching staff and my players. Really, that’s the only thing that matters. Once we get together and we figure out what we need to do and do better, that’s all we have to do. 

“That’s the only way you win football games. If you just worry about the people criticizing you that really care about winning football games. Everybody else is a component that doesn’t matter. We like to refer to them around here as gray matter. That’s exactly why papers are gray, because they don’t matter. Whether Joe Henderson wrote it or you guys wrote it, whether you blogged about it. None of that stuff matter. When we get ready to prepare tomorrow we have to prepare to beat the Dallas Cowboys, make no mistake about it. We’re not going into the Dallas Cowboys game not to get fired. We’re going into the game to win, period.”

Has Freeman grown as a QB this year?
No doubt about it. You have to go out there and learn through adversity. Ask Phillip Rivers. He’s one of the better quarterbacks in this league and he’s absolutely getting crushed this year. But I still don’t want to not play him. He’s going to learn through adversity. He’s going to come out with a little more fire, and this will do nothing but add to our offseason. This will help me get guys to want to be together, to come here and be more informed and ready to go for next year. I have a bunch of hungry young men that love football and no matter what the situation is, whether I’m here or whether I’m not, this team is going to be a better football team because of it.”

What specifically has he learned and improved on?
“He’s got a better grasp of everything we do. There’s not a time we come off the field and Josh doesn’t know. Last year we could have gone out there a couple of times and Josh just made some plays and didn’t really know why or what was the purpose. But he has a complete grasp of everything that goes on, whether it be wrong or be good, whether he missed the throw or the route was wrong or the concept was wrong, or whether the play call was wrong. Whatever the case may be, he understands the issues, and that’s part of growing as a quarterback.

“You talk to a lot of great quarterbacks that struggled their way through, whether it was Rich Gannon, who struggled at het beginning of his career and wound up being great at the end, it was about the accumulation of knowledge throughout the process of going out there and playing. And that’s what you see happen to guys. Steve Young did it. 

“There’s a lot of great quarterbacks you can mention that struggled early in their career that really found their way and hit their stride. He hasn’t hit it yet. I told you last year when we were peaking and he was the comeback kid. We were just playing well as a team. And right now we have to find a way to play well as a team again and let him continue to grow and play better and better.”

On Preston Parker and his struggles with fumbling in Sunday’s game:
I’m not going to give up on anybody. Preston Parker is a dynamic guy and because he fumbled a punt yesterday that led to a run by the Jacksonville Jaguars I’m not going to turn my back on him. I gave Brian Price a second chance and I kicked him out of the game. It’s about us growing as a team and organization and getting better and making smarter decisions, all across the board. I’m not pointing fingers at Preston Parker for the reason that the Jacksonville Jaguars came out and out-physicaled us and beat us yesterday. I’m going to blame that on field position, their ability to capitalize on their opportunities and our inability to turn that swing around.”

Why were you unable to turn that swing around?
“Some of that (lack of maturity) factors in. You got to be mature enough to go out there and absolutely erase the fact that they score 14 points within about a minute and a half. And they scored 14 of those 21 points when the defense was on the sideline. That stuff can’t matter. You have to go out and just play. So if Preston Parker was thinking about that punt the rest of the game, then we have an issue right there. If we’re worried on defense about the fact that they scored (as quickly as they did), that’s a problem because that has to be gray matter. We have to go out there and get some stops and we did get some stops in the third quarter. It’s just than in that second half we ran out of gas and they got some points and the were really able to get up there and make that thing really get out of control. You have to have that kind of mindset.”

How do you get to 4-9 from 4-2?
“Unfortunately it isn’t the same team. We are different. But we are into the next man up mentality. I even sold you guys on that because you don’t realize who is missing either. But it’s not about missing people. It’s about those guys stepping up into those roles and using that maturity to get you over the edge. And we have not been able to do that thus far. We have to be able to do that this week. And we have to do it the next three weeks. You know me; I wont give you any excuses why we didn’t win yesterday’s game or any game for that matter. We have to go out and do a better job as a team.”

That was something you were known for last year? Why didn’t the next man up theory work this year?
“I can sit up here and cry about a bunch of things but that’s not our mentality. We need more time together. We need to make that second nature deal with us. We have got to go out and prepare for that this offseason and be ready to deal when adversity sets in for next season. Stuff that has to be talked about whether its situational football, whether it’s play in, play out. Or this next snap. Our ability to be one-snappers every game. Our ability to be one heartbeat. Play at one game. Play at one moment. All of those things have got to be a part of it. It has to be a team effort. That’s what has to happen.”

What conversations have you had with the Glazers and Mark Dominik about the job you are doing?
We have segments in the year where we talk about those different things. Me and Mark we talk every day. That is a circle of trust so to speak. Whenever I have any questions on what we are doing or (need to) get any advice that’s the person I'm generally going to go to. Not that we are talking about what a good job I’m doing or good job they are doing. It is a collective effort of what we need to do, who we need, why we need them … what’s the next plan. All those things. How we are going to attack our football team right now.

“Some of those things we talk about I talk about with you guys (media). Last week it was cutting back and getting the guys to play faster and do some of those things. This week it is about fundamental core beliefs. We will make an addition to add some of those things what you would generally see from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason. We need it obviously. We can’t hold onto the football yesterday. It is something we have to do.

“And you can always improve tackling. Although we came out and tackled pretty good yesterday against a great running back but it is just some of those things. Some of those concepts a young Mason Foster needs to get. Or a young Da’Quan Bowers or Adrian Clayborn, all those guys need to get the general philosophies and the fundamental core beliefs.  Just because you say them doesn’t mean they pick them up. You have to go out there and actually do them. Rod Marenelli always told me the hard part is to consistently do it over and over again.”

Will there be radical changes in personnel next season?
“No. I wouldn’t go there. Radical changes as far as personnel puts people in a panic. We don’t do that around here. We are not emotional decision makers. This is the same team or the same group of men that won ten games the year before. You can go out there and find a way to play faster, smarter harder and more consistent and you can go out there and win however many game you want to win.


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  • avatar

    Ok... Here it is. Trade Josh Freeman. Re-sign Josh Johnson for 4 years. Draft Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Take over the NFL in 2-3 years. Think about it. Bleeding that Pewter n' Red
  • avatar

    That has about a zero percent of happening but at this point i'd be ok with it.That tells you how bad we look.
  • avatar

    Do us all a favor and quit Raheem. Your a sorry excuse of a head coach and an even worse defensive coordinator. The Bucs organization needs a real man to coach this team. Not a kid that wants to be everyone's friend. Just leave please and do it fast.
  • avatar

    This article is indicative of the circle the wagons mentality on the Bucs. They don't care about the fans. They only care about what goes on in that locker room. The Tampa Bay area has been greatly impacted by the recession, more so than other parts of the country. When Katrina hit, the Saints took that community on their shoulders and helped lift them up. Here in Tampa, from a silent ownership to an indifferent locker room, the Bucs have only added to our woes.
  • avatar

  • avatar

    kingbucc34,i bet morris feel the same about you.
  • avatar

    oh, by the way i just want to throw this out there. i' ve seen so many bad calls this year around the league .Not that it would have made a difference but Blounts knee was down before that ball came out but more then that the missed calls .In the vikings game on the last play of the game was a face mask i saw it and i was yelling at the tv.My wife said how did you see that ? I'm watching the game i said. Finally people saw it on instant replay afterthe game was over.What good is that?I've seen alot of missed face masks calls this year i don't know what the refs are watching this year but they are missing alot of easy calls this year.
  • avatar

    morris needs to be fired end of story!I only get so many many vacation days a year at work. Most of which i use to stay home sundays and watch the bucs on directv .This is so upsetting to me that my team is so bad.please we just got pounded by a really bad team with 25 people hurt. The way we look and the things they do is a reflection on the coach.Raheem looks like a nice guy and a good friend but after a season as bad as this not only are we losing but it's how we are losing. i'm sorry heads must roll starting with Raheem thats just nature of the job. You produce or your gone.If we were losing but in these games to the end i would say give him one more year but the way we are losing he's got to go.
  • avatar

    statements like heads must roll make me laugh. I get that ur pissed about the poor quality of the games. I am too, but bellicheat couldn't win with these guys right now. The only reason he is winning is bc he has elite talent on the team, especially at the skill positions and a good o line. Change is good sometimes, but you better make sure u change the right thing.
  • avatar

    Morris won't get fired, at least not yet. If he did, it would be for another "puppet coach". A really good coach would want players on the team that the Glazers aren't willing to pay for. While, I think Morris was in over his head, all of this is not his fault. It would be hard to turn down a chance to be a head coach in the NFL, especially if that's your dream. Win, lose or draw, the guy wanted to be a coach. He was given the players that he has and the Glazers said work with it. There are some very talented players on the team and the takes the right coach to put it all together. And that OC, ....?
  • avatar

    Morris is not the problem here. We doubled down on the youth movement this season, and in retrospect it's no surprise that it came back to bite us in the *censored*. That failing is on the front office (Dominik) for not pursuing enough veteran free agents and on the owners for refusing to open the checkbook. We need a balanced approach in the offseason, and we need to maintain continuity in our O and D scheme - not hire a new coach that will blow the whole system up and start over, which only = more years of struggling and blackouts. This team was one horrible officiating call away from a playoff berth last year (quite apt considering the last few weeks have been loaded with HORRIBLE officiating that has screwed the Bucs at every turn) and I refuse to believe that scrapping what Morris has accomplished so far with so many young players is the answer. Mcpo23: Only game left that could be blacked out is Saturday's against Dallas, and that's been sold out for weeks now. (I'm dreading all the renegade Cowboys fans that will be there.)
  • avatar

    Average age of the11 starting Defensive Players is 25 years (leaving out Barber) and 3 are rookies. The majority of these players have 2-4 years experience if you leave out Barber. Average age of the starting Offensive Players is 26.3 years and 0 rookies. The majority of these starting players have 3-5 years experience. Now tell me that this is not about Coaching? How many seasons have we had the same HC/DC/OC; just about 3 seasons. That tells me it's coaching.
  • avatar

    The problem for the team is accountability and responsibility...on defense is a lack of talent. for offense it is inexperience at the skill positions. most are in there second yr and needed an OTA in the well known most important OTA in a young player's development-the second yr post starting.....This was a great idea, except you failed to recognize that it is wrong to attribute any of these issues to coaching. In the past, we mixed rookies with veterans and got rid of vets who didn't play well. .........3 seasons? lol...yr one was screwed up due to dominik and the glazers screwing up on staffing decisions ( and any real fan knows they picked those guys bc they were nervous about morris at HC), yr two he had an easy schedule and overachieved, while yr 3 all the issues including the hardest schedule ever. so...not coaching soley...there are plenty of things the coaches could do better but it is way down the list. Its just easy to blame coaching.
  • avatar

    Mora to UCLA and Tom Cable to Tampa???? Gets my vote.
  • avatar

    Wow. A real badass. That the best name you could come up with to make everyone think how bad you are. phan2phear? Look IDIOT, no other team had OTA either. Freeman had offseaon with his receivers on his own plus held camp Freeman here. On top of that, Morris got caught talking to them during the lockout. You answered the same thing we all said last year and this year. This team needs VET FREE AGENTS for experience and leadership.That falls on Morris, Dominick and the Glazers for this stupid idea you build by the draft only. Fundementals etc.. all fall on the coaching staff which is ALL under the control of the HEAD COACH. He even said he talks to Dominik as to what they need. Guess he must have told him all we needed this year badly was a kicker.
  • avatar

    lol...look I know u want my name but u cant have it okay? lol My name is preyty bad *censored* Now...Free didnt have a real OTA. no coaches=flag football. Morris talked via cell twice, both about personal matters. fundamentals are learned in little league or high school, not the nfl. Its also different this year for defenses as they can only have a padded practice once a week-thus different from last yr. cant get better at tackling if u dont practice but once a week. I know u dont watch much football, but most defenses are struggling this yr. So experience and knowledge are supposed to come from only the head coach? A locker room must have ppl who hold each other accountable. u have 23 yr olds trying to teach 23 yr olds lol. What does that have to do with coaching?
  • avatar

    You internet tough guys are hilarious. Fire Morris huh? Then what? Its like u are a bunch of overly emotional girlfriends who break up when a man dont hold ur hand. Coaching is not an issue................... On offense, this team goes as freeman goes, just like the colts offense goes as peyton goes. Free didnt have an OTA in probably the biggest year of his career. the second year start, not counting part of his rookie season. I do think the OC should run the ball more, but he gets his plans changed by stupid penalties, turnovers, and selfish play. Olsen should do better, but its more on the players................................On defense you have a lack of talent at the linebacker position, surrounding a rookie. No depth a corner. Bad safety play. Its not like the guys dont know what to do, they just aren't good enoug to do it.......throw in no OTA, the hardest schedule in bucs history, the youngest team, and little to no veteran leadership on the team. THey overachieved last year. Remember? idiots....thank God you internet bullies dont run the team. This team needs an influx of vets. U can only get so much from ur coach..don believe me? listen at every veteran bucs player, past and present. Morris does get some blame for not holding the players more responsible, but young players dont take responsibility well. most of these guys are 23 and younger...you need somebody in the room who has a presence and plays well t learn from. Look at Mccarthy and Ruud in tennessee-hes gonna be a good mlb.
  • avatar

    phan2phear, you made some good points to think about. For me it still comes down to coaching because leadership and discipline is the coaches responsibility, if the players don't have it.
  • avatar

    There's a difference between confidence and arrogance. This pathetic Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator has failed miserably and should be fired immediately! he is arrogant and has been way over his head since day 1. The Glazer Boys have also failed miserably as owners with the cheap direction they have taken this team. They fired a coach with a winning record and hired an incompetent "Gym Teacher" as head coach. Dominick should also be fired for his inability to supply his Gym Teacher with Veteran talent to add to some of the great draft choices over the past two seasons. I for one am done until big changes are made....not one more dime of my money to those cheap bastards that own this team. never thought I'd say this but the Culverhouses are starting to look good compared to these clowns. Note to the NFL, please black out ALL remaining games of this pathetic football team, home or away!!!!!
  • avatar

    Mcpo23, I don't believe that Morris is arrogant at all. The Glazer's aren't cheap, just greedy; there is a difference. I know many greedy people that are not cheap. I am not sure why you have basically hinted that there is something wrong with anyone previously being a "gym teacher"? I think many coaches started in that area at high schools. Look, I understand you are upset, but some of your ranting was not necessary.
  • avatar

    Last year the BUCS were the youngest team in the NFL and this year they are the youngest team in the NFL.....younger than last year!!! You cannot build a championship team that way. The BUCS must focus on bringing veteran leadership to this team next year OR the only fans in the seats will be family and friends of the players. Miami, Kansas City and Jacksonville have begun building for the future and the BUCS must focus on bringing a veteran, proven head coach to Tampa. It's time for ownership to open the wallet.....but they won't and that's the real problem!!!
  • avatar

    Why is this person getting such a pass? Since when did the Glazer name end in a "G" and just where at the end of Dominick does the "D" come into play? The man does not even know how to spell his bosses names, how can we expect him to run a football team? This is pathetic. He should have taken the physical education job, wonder if it is still open?
  • avatar

    I interpret the answer to that last question as, "Oh no, you're not baiting me into that one. The last time the players found out a member of the coaching staff was leaving before the season was over the defense mailed it in the rest of the year. As bad as some of thes players have played, 'Kiffining' them could make them play even worse."
  • avatar

    2 coaches fired today, need one more from Tampa area.
  • avatar

    Can anybody name me one starting player on Offense that is a rookie. There are three starting rookies on Defense. I am upset about the Coaching. This team was good enough to win 8 games this year, but the coaching has failed us. Now is the time to make a change, not the end of the season. Let Dominik be the HC for the last 3 games and make Morris and Olsen prove that they can be Head Coordinators somewhere. Go Bucs! Make a change now!
  • avatar

    This team isnt even worthy of negative comments, so sad. GO GIANTS.
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