Head coach Raheem Morris took to the podium at One Buc Place to address the media the day after his team suffered another loss 31-15 to the Dallas Cowboys, the eighth straight for the Buccaneers. Morris wasn’t making any excuses for the way his team has played either. When asked about the talent level on his young team in comparison to other teams around the league, he would not suggest talent or lack thereof as being a factor.
“Hard to make those excuses now,” Morris said. “I won’t do that. Anything you say about talent level makes an excuse for yourself. We have to do a better job coaching. We have to do a better job playing. We have to go out and get [it] done and we didn’t get [it] done last night.”
The third year head coach was not particularly surprised by the result of the game because of the way his team has been playing recently.
“Nothing comes as a surprise. If you don’t go out and play hard, fast, smart and consistent, you won’t win games. Last night, we didn’t play hard, we didn’t play fast, [and] we didn’t play smart or consistent. When those things happen, I’m surprised the score was only 31-14.”
According to Morris, it was those individual matchups that hurt the team on Saturday night.
“Obviously not a good game to watch on tape. Hard to watch [and] tough to deal with. Not competitive in the first half [and] unacceptable. [We] got two weeks to go out and change that. That’s the only way you can do it. Came out in the second half got some production [and] did some good things, but not nearly enough. Not nearly fast enough. Not nearly what you want from a fundamental standpoint [and] from an individual standpoint. Football is a team game and when [you] have individual breakdowns it absolutely kills you.”
The Buccaneers offensive linemen as well as the defensive linemen did not play up to the Morris’ standards according to the Bucs’ head ball coach.
“We always talk about them being the bus drivers. We talk about it starting up front on both sides of the ball. Last night we just had a breakdown on both sides of the ball. Whether it be defense or offense, we didn’t get it done. Those things can’t happen. We have to play better, we have to go out and execute better. It wasn’t good enough.”
When asked on how quarterback, Josh Freeman, is handling the pressure of the losses as well as the critics, Morris admits Freeman has made mistakes. But Morris acknowledged all the blame shouldn’t be on the quarterback even if he does tend to be in the spotlight. Freeman was 17-for-27 for 148 yards and was sacked three times for a total loss of 16 yards in the team’s loss to Dallas Saturday night.
“Josh, he takes a lot of the blame. But obviously he’s not responsible for blocking people. He’s responsible for making the right reads and doing the right things. I’ll be critical of josh. He made some mistakes. He didn’t go through his progressions correctly on every single snap. When you had an opportunity to make a play, he made some. Obviously not enough. Those are things that are important; those are the things that are critical. You go back to the drawing board. Obviously, Josh will take majority of blame for what happened on offense. No different than the head coach takes the blame for what happens with the team. That’s the way it is. That’s what you signed up for.”
According to the head coach, his team just didn’t play hard last night. The offense only had a total of seven first downs in the entire game and in the first half they only had one. The defense allowed the Cowboys to score all on all four red zone situations in the first half. Morris said the overall play was unacceptable.
“Houston game was one. Generally, we haven’t had the play hard deal, but last night, I’ve got to say, they’ve got to play harder than last night. The Houston game we struggled a little bit, San Fran we struggled a little bit, I guess they were tired after the short week and all that stuff. But last night, fast was not one of the categories, hard smart or consistent. It was just lost last night I have to say. Got to be honest with you on that stuff. These guys work hard, they practice hard, and in general they play hard, so I wouldn’t say that’s been a continuing problem. But last night I’d have to say it was. Last night we just got outplayed, and we won’t make any excuses on what or who, it doesn’t really matter. They have to go out and play hard, play fast, play smart and play consistent every single week.”