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December 22, 2011 @ 4:32 pm
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Hayes Hopes He And Morris Return Next Season

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Buccaneers linebacker Geno Hayes told PewterReport.com he wants to be back. In addition to himself, Hayes hopes embattled head coach Raheem Morris is also back on the sidelines next season in Tampa.

When players from any sport come into their contract season more often than not you see an increase in production. Buccaneers linebacker Geno Hayes came into the 2011 season in that specific position, but for a number of reasons his production hasn’t equaled past seasons. Whether it be scheme, the play of his teammates, Hayes himself or a combination of all of these, the drop in statistics are apparent.

Hayes’ defensive totals have dropped from a career high of 136 tackles (14 for loss), three sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble in 2009, to 104 tackles (15 for loss), four sacks, one interception for a touchdown and one forced fumble in 2010. This year, Hayes has produced 80 total tackles (seven for loss), one interception, two forced fumbles.

Tampa Bay’s management and coaching staff will have a decision to make after the season about whether Hayes is back. And if so, at what capacity. The former 'Nole said no contract talk has happened yet but hopes he will have a chance to keep wearing the Red and Pewter.

“No talks. That stuff right there [contract extensions] all goes in due time,” Hayes said. “That right there is for after the season right now.”

“No doubt I would love to be in Tampa, no doubt. Those kind of things can wait until after the season when we have time to talk about it.”

Fellow linebacker Quincy Black, who signed a new five-year, $29 million deal before this season, would like to see his teammate back.

“Geno is a professional and is going to handle his business either way,” Black said. “I know he's the type of guy that's going to go out and give 100 percent wherever he is.

“At the same time I think he wants to be here. I think he knows the type of situation that's here and I think he feels good about that. I can’t necessarily speak for him. I haven’t talked to him about it. But Geno knows we still have two games here and he's going to take advantage of these and put some good stuff on film.”

Another teammate and Geno Hayes fan is Adam Hayward. Hayward, like Black, was re-signed during training camp and said while the stats aren’t there, Hayes is still a playmaker.

“Geno's a character. He's smart, very football smart,” Hayward said. “He's able to teach me some of those things. He and I work well together.
 He's a really good athlete and makes a lot of splash plays. It's important to have somebody like that who is a game-changer.”

The fourth-year linebacker wasn’t happy when he was singled out and benched by head coach Raheem Morris earlier this season, but now, a month later, he sees it as a learning tool.

“I got a great perspective. Once I got back in there I took that in stride. It was actually a great opportunity for me to sit back and learn.


Hayes also said he and Morris are still close and the benching didn’t affect their relationship at all.

“No strain at all. I have the utmost respect for Coach Raheem. He taught me a lesson – a great lesson. I sat back and observed from the back end and really saw the whole message he taught me. I respect him for it."

A 4-10 season coming off 10 wins the previous year has been frustrating for the orginaztion, the fans, coaches and the players. Hayes would love to put his finger on the issue but says he hopes if nothing else the defense will gain a lesson and come back better next season.

“It's tough going out there every week and working hard on the practice field and getting to the game, then it doesn’t come alive,” Hayes said. “Of course that is tough because you put in so much work and the end result isn’t what you want. This whole year has been a learning experience as it should be. I hope all the guys on the squad have taken a lesson from it as well.”

Hayward knows the linebackers had had their share of breakdowns this season but doesn’t buy the cristicism that the Buccaneers linebackers need to be replaced.

“People have said a lot of bad things about us,” Hayward said. “When you turn on the film we are still making plays but it is just hard with the way things are going. Whether linemen are getting up to us or we are missing tackles or busted coverages, people just start to pick apart things. But when you turn on the tape we are still good linebackers.

Hayes is uncertain of Morris' future –- and his own –- but is hoping for the best.

“Hopefully we can [keep the pieces together with Morris],” Hayes said. “But I’m not going to speak much on that right now. That's irrelevant right now. I don’t really pay that much attention to that. Right now I’m just focused on football.”

Last modified on Thursday, 22 December 2011 22:07

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  • avatar

    The bottom line is that we need to get bigger at the linebacker position. Several years ago we targeted guys who were decent sized and fast. As the NFL now has a ton of big and fast running backs, we too must make the same adjustment. We continually are making tackles downfield we need bigger guys who can fight through blockers and stand backs up in the hole and drive them back. Hopefully a guy like Donte Hightower from Alabama will be available to us. We could also use a DT like Devon Still from Penn State
  • avatar

    Our POOR outside linebacker play IS the major reason we got gashed on the perimeters over and over again. First pick needs to be a line backer. Matt Kuechly and move Foster - or Zach Brown at will. I would keep Hayes and Hayward as back ups and special teamers. Cut Quincy Black.
  • avatar

    It's not all about winning and losing to the most hardcore fans, but it is about the team competing and looking like they want to be on the field. I've been to every home game this year, and the Cowboys exhibit was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back (for me at least). I've never felt more embarrassed and dejected leaving a game in my life. I felt robbed and almost violated... I've spent too much hard earned money to support this team and will not again until they look like they give a crap and start to play even somewhat decent football. In the midst of the worst losing streak in 20+ years, I see no signs that will warrant any additional participation on my part.
  • avatar

    So some of you won't support the team and buy tickets unless they're winning? What an embarrassing group of fans some of you are. I'm ashamed of you.
  • avatar

    This is a very immature and quite frankly, unlikeable team. I've been here since the beginning. I've never seen so many arrogant young players who have never won a thing in their lives. Let's go out and get an experienced coach who doesn't believe in the chest-bump/eleven second handshake school of coaching.
  • avatar

    Hayes is a back up/ special teams player at best. Morris is a position coach, at best. Time for the Glaziers to do something. This is too expensive an entertainment to "rebuild" for years while losing your fan base with the blackouts. I use to go to 3 -4 games a year, but no more until they field a winning team, unless I have totally become un interested in pro ball. Blackouts and a pathetic team will do that for you. I know I have discovered other things to do, this is Florida after all, with my Sundays. Lastly, I would prefer they sell the team to someone whom wants to win. Merry Christmas to all!
  • avatar

    I gotta flip a coin on these guys. And if I don't like the one I get, I'm flipping again!!
  • avatar

    Hayes is probably a good back-up but at this point he's no star.
  • avatar

    Most of the team are already looking forward to the off season. Newton & Co. will cut the Bucs' secondary apart and then run all over the front seven. Look for another blowout (all it will take is one big play by the Panthers or a mistake by the Bucs). Happy Holidays to the Charlotte area, this will be a great day for Panthers fans.
  • avatar

    I will address the Panthers in the Keys To Victory tomorrow, although I think you are referring to the players and coaches. I know they are game planning and assume they won't go into Saturday with the same approach they took last time against Newton. They will need to certainly add pressure and I would send the house to try and force him into some mistakes. Talib's absence will make it more difficult as when you blitz you are leaving the secondary in man coverage. Offensively they can move the football, but will penalties and turnovers doom them as it has during this losing stretch? Play smart offensively and the Panthers will give up yardage. And as Scott pointed out on the radio show the defense must improve dramatically in the red zone. Too many TDs as opposed to FGs.
  • avatar

    Thank you Mark for the update. I look forward to your Article. I know it will be accurate and well thought out.
  • avatar

    The players are saying the same things that a lot of us are saying; we need coaching and they are not getting it from the HC/DC/OC. Just read what Hayes, Black, Heyward, Freeman, Williams, Penn, and others have said recently? All were towing the party line, but it was how it was said that continues to get my attention. Is anybody talking about Carolina at all? Hey we can beat this team if we just will allow the Defense to put pressure on Newton; blitz the guy. Put seven players in the box and send five of them; keep one to cover the RB or TE who comes out as the safety valve for a short pass, and one to dog Newton all the time. Obviously we have to keep them from scoring more than 20 points and hope that somehow we can score 21. I'm calling it Bucs 21-Panthers 20. You can always hope.
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