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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Morris: "Excited' by Broncos interview

6

January

Raheem Morris said he was 'excited' by his lengthy interview in Denver Monday for the Broncos head coaching job.

"It went well,'' Morris said. "I'm really excited and grateful (for the opportunity).''

Morris, 32, met with Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, assistant general manager Jeff Goodman, and front office executives Joe Ellis and Brian Xanders.

Morris will get a push from the Broncos 32-year-old quarterbacks Jeremy Bates, who started calling plays for the Broncos this season.

Bates came to the Bucs in 2002 as the team's offensive quality control coach while Morris held the same position on the defensive side.

Morris may still be considered a longshot candidate. He was named the Bucs defensive coordinator on Christmas Day, replacing Monte Kiffin who left after 13 seasons to join his son Lane at Tennessee.

The Broncos interviewed Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels last weekend on the east coast.

But the Broncos already have Bates to continue to tutor quarterback Jay Cutler. It's the defense that needs the most improvement.

Morris would instantly improve that side of the ball. He's done it before. In 2006, when Morris left the Bucs to become the defensive coordinator at Kansas State, the Bucs secondary struggled and the defense finished 19th overall. When Morris returned the next season, the Bucs had the top-rated pass defense.

Last season, the Bucs 22 interceptions ranked fourth in the NFL.

The Broncos financial picture also may be a factor. Bowlen owes fired coach Mike Shanahan about $20-million over the next three seasons and will also honor the deals of many of his assistant coaches. He also has to hire a general manager but is making the head coach a priority.

If you've spent any time with Morris, you know he is a dynamic personality and oozes confidence. He also is a guy who has never paid attention to the calender. The success of coaches like the Steelers Mike Tomlin and the Ravens John Harbaugh will help him. But many close to the Broncos believe McDaniel may actually have the inside track because he will remind Bowlen of a young Shanahan.

With Kiffin gone, Morris in Denver, linebackers coach Gus Bradley interviewing in Seattle, it's an unnerving time for the Bucs' defensive staff.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:21pm]

    

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