What has been widely speculated for the last month took place on Monday following Tampa Bay's 45-24 loss at Atlanta. After compiling a 17-31 record over three seasons, the Buccaneers announced that head coach Raheem Morris will not be back as head coach. Morris had one year left on his contract and was scheduled to earn just under $2 million next season.
"We want to thank Coach Morris for all his hard work and dedication as head coach of the Buccaneers," said Tampa Bay co-chairman Joel Glazer.
"I have a lot of respect and appreciation for the passion Coach Morris gave to our football team, but this change is one we felt was necessary," Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said.
The fact that Dominik was quoted in a press release sent out by the team is an indication that he will likely be retained by the organization. Dominik signed a four-year contract extension this past offseason.
Despite a 10-6 season in 2010 and a 4-2 start to the 2011 campaign, the Buccaneers fell apart just before the midway point of the season and dropped their last 10 games. To make matters worse for the 35-year old Morris was how the Bucs looked in doing so, as each loss seemed to get worse than the previous one, and by the end of the season many were questioning if the players had quit on their coach.
Another negative case against Morris was that in addition to being the head coach, Morris was also the defensive coordinator of the worst scoring defense in the history of the franchise. The Buccaneers gave up a franchise-worst 494 points in 2011, despite the organization spending several high draft picks to solidify the defense. Players like defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, and defensive ends Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn and middle linebacker Mason Foster all were drafted in the first three rounds over the past two seasons, yet failed to make an immediate impact.
The Buccaneers will have a 3:00 p.m. press conference at One Buccaneer Place to discuss the head coaching vacancy and the team's future.