Bucs had issues with 'effort' on big plays, will practice in pads to improve 'physicality'
Bucs coach Raheem Morris said his defense had 'some issues with effort,' on two long touchdown passes in the 37-9 loss to the Houston Texans Sunday.
Perhaps as a result, Morris said the Bucs will practice in pads twice this week in preparation for their game at Green Bay in hopes of improving the team's lack of 'physicality.'
On the first play of the game, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub connected with receiver Jacoby Jones for an 80-yard touchdown pass, a play in which safeties Sean Jones and Tanard Jackson appeared to take bad angles and missed tackles. Later in the first half, running back Arian Foster took a pass in the left flat, then made cornerback Aqib Talib miss and avoided Sean Jones as he was chased to the end zone by Jackson for a 78-yard touchdown.
"On defense we had some issues with effort on some of the big plays, the two big plays,'' Morris said Monday. "That’s something that is very uncommon. Some of it was because of injury or whatever the case may be, but you can’t go out there and make excuses. You’ve got to play as hard as you possibly can at all times despite what might be going on or despite the adversity might be put upon you based a turnover or whatever.
"We had a loaf. We had a couple loafs, uncharacteristic loafs we usually don’t have, based on whether it was an injury result, a play being far away or whatever it may be. Assuming a guy may be tackled. All the things we talk about as far as the fundamental core beliefs you see all around the building. What is a loaf? Some of those things. That popped up on those big plays and those are things that can’t happen.''
Morris, who also doubles as defensive coordinator, watched his team yield 453 yards to the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago and 420 yards to the Texans Sunday.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, NFL teams can only have 14 total padded practices during the regular season, 11 of which must be during the first 11 weeks. Only three padded practices can be held in the final five weeks.
The Bucs are entering Week 11 and Morris indicated he has two padded practices remaining in preparation for the game against the defending Super Bowl Packers.
"This week, and for the rest of the season, can’t be concerned about preservation so much and get our physicality better,'' Morris said. "That’s what we need to do. The answer is putting on some pads. I got my mulligan this week, so I can put them on twice this week, and get as many as I can based on the rules to get these guys going. We’ve got to make plays in pads, both on offense and defense and special teams.''
As he did following Sunday's game, Morris took full responsibility for the way the Bucs have played recently, losing four of their last five games.
He said he was approached after the game by cornerback Ronde Barber, center Jeff Faine and tight end Kellen Winslow. A players only meeting was discussed, but instead, Morris said some of the veteran players may speak in the team meeting later today.
“It’s all 61 men, not just the veterans,'' Morris said. "We’ve got to come together collectively. All hands on deck. Time to deal. Here it is. Here’s your opportunity.''