Bucs head coach Raheem Morris on Tampa Bay's 27-20 loss to Houston and 53-man roster cuts on Saturday "End of the preseason here. Tomorrow we have to make some tough decisions. We'll try to get that all done tomorrow. We wish we could keep them all because of how good the effort was. They did everything I asked. I can't complain about that."
Morris on whether there were any young players on the bubble that really stood out and helped their cause tonight? "That's hard to say right now. I have to look at the tape. It's hard to see some of that stuff, especially up front along the lines, live. I can't wait to watch that young offensive line and defensive line on tape. I told the first-team defensive line they were going to play a series in this game because they saw so little time in the preseason, but they got a turnover two plays into it, so I couldn't say anything about that or go back on my word. We're going to look at all the guys and all the details on tape."
Morris on whether QB Josh Johnson proved he's one of your best 53 players tonight? "We want to keep the best 53, and Josh went out again tonight and proved he can move the football and be productive, and he can go without a lot of reps. That's big-time quality in this league when you have a guy like that. It makes him special. I believe that's a special quality. That's a Jason Garrett-type of quality where he can back up Troy Aikman for 12 years, and he when he's needed he can go in the game and win for you."
Morris on injuries sustained by players, including T Xavier Fulton. "Fulton was the only one I can remember. I think his was a knee. I'm not sure of the extent on that one right now. I'll have to get back to you on that. I did see him come back onto the field later in the game on some crutches, but I'm not sure what the extent of the injury is. Maurice Stovall hurt his hand, but the trainer never said anything to me, and usually that means it's nothing."
Morris on the play of his second-team defense. "We've got to play better there. A lot of the guys that played there last year became our starters this year. It's important. We had to find out who Matt McCoy is, who Bo Ruud is and some of those guys, and some of the guys up front like Dre Moore and Louis Holmes. You have to find out who they are and what they can do."
Morris on Texans QB Rex Grossman's 87-yard touchdown to WR Jacoby Jones. "That's the play from Jacksonville that came back to bite us again. It was the same type of action, except [Texans offensive coordinator Kyle] Shanahan got smart and stuttered him up we fell for it. We have nosey, greedy safeties there. That's something we'll have to clean up because we know this is a copycat league and [Dallas offensive coordinator] Jason Garrett might be drawing it up as we speak. That was Cover 2, but it was a different type of Cover 2. The Cover 2 has got us three times in the preseason. You still have to consider Sabby [Piscitelli] and T-Jack [Tanard Jackson] young, but they have be smarter than that. That play can't happen, but we'll be fine."
Morris on if he plans to make roster cuts Saturday before the 4:00 p.m. ET deadline on Saturday. "Our plan is to notify the players between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. I'm not sure exactly what time it will be. I'm going to make [the media] work tomorrow, put in a little overtime. You guys need it since this economy is shutting you out a little bit."
Morris on whether the team's kicking situation got settled on Friday night. "That's the one thing that wasn't really settled all offseason. Mark Dominik and I will have to talk tomorrow with Rich Bisaccia and decide what we're going to do there."
Morris on whether Mike Nugent has done enough to earn the starting kicking job. "It's not really about Mike Nugent. Mike Nugent is the only kicker kicking. He's got out there and kicked. He was 4-of-7 going into this game. He's made a 51-yarder, he's missed a few short ones you'd like to see him make. He got victimized by a penalty. Tonight he was perfect on both his attempts and kicked the ball into the end zone. We'll have to collaborate on that deal before we make a decision."
Morris on QB Josh Freeman's performance "He started out a little nervous. First time coming out of the gate he was a little nervous. You could see it in some of his throws. He made some nice plays, some nice scrambles. He was moving around a little bit more than you would like to see him move around but he came back in and delivered a touchdown so we are fired up about that."
Morris the performance of the young players on defense "We are just trying to formulate the roster from the bottom up right now. For the young guys to go out there and stop them on a third and one, down on the goal line to force a field goal and keep us in this game and in striking distance is a good thing. So we are ready to go. We are ready to come out in the second half and win this thing."
More from Morris on QB Josh Freeman "It was great. He came out a little shaky. He had to make a couple of great scrambles there, make a couple of good third down conversions to end that thing with a two-minute drive to get us in the end zone. It's what you want to see. You want to see these guys play better every time you go out there."
Morris on WR Brian Clark "He had some smart football plays out there. We have to get the rest of our team making some smarter ones. We had a couple of big penalties on third down that you can't have, we have to be a smarter football team to win in this league. That's what we are working for right now."
Bucs QB Josh Freeman coming back after a few interceptions "The night started out and I played a little too conscious and was not really letting the game come to me and it wasn't really working out. Then I got the opportunity in that two minute drive to come out and cut a few loose. I had a lot of my teammates make a lot of big plays for me and we were able to get in the end zone. [Cortez] Hankton ran a great route and made a great catch and was able to get in. It was good to finish out strong."
Freeman on how he thinks he has progressed during the preseason "I definitely have learned a lot. I know I am going to continue to learn a lot more. Now I just have to be supportive of my teammates and keep working and things will continue."
Buccaneers safety Sabby Piscitelli explaining the play that resulted in your forced fumble. "Raheem did a great job. I heard him yelling boot before the ball was snapped. They ran a boot, and threw a check down to the tight end, and [Chris Hovan] did a great job of hitting him at the same time I did. The ball popped out." Piscitelli on the two turnovers he has caused in four preseason games this year. "Absolutely I think it is all about playmaking. In the secondary we preach that, and it all starts in practice and I think the whole secondary has done a great job of that. That is something you have to take pride in as a safety and a defensive back." Bucs wide receiver Michael Clayton on his excitement for the regular season. "I'm really excited. With all the changes that have been made, they have put us in the best position possible to win the games possible. We have established a wonderful chemistry in the offseason. We have our better players in the right positions. We have a stacked backfield." Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Johnson on his performance. "I played pretty well, but you can't have turnovers. That's the first thing. To come out and start off with a turnover wasn't good. We bounced back pretty well on offense. We drove the ball down the field. Unfortunately we weren't able to come out with a win but we had a chance at it in the end." Johnson on the touchdown pass to tight end Ryan Purvis. "He just ran over and they covered my primary read. I got to Purvis on my second read. Nobody was covering him well in the zone and I was able to put it over the back of him." Johnson on the final drive late in the fourth quarter. "We just executed. We ran a lot of two minutes, it was situational football. I ran a lot of two minutes during training camp and I knew how to get it done in that situation. Our goal was to score. Unfortunately we were unable to do that but it was good work for us and good things to learn from."