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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Morris okay with doubts about Bucs QBs



Raheem Morris faced a steady blitz of questions this morning about the Bucs' mediocre quarterback position.

Luke McCown is 1-6 as a starter and threw one pass last season, Josh Johnson is a second-year pro and basically red-shirted as a rookie and veteran Brian Griese hasn't been under center on opening day since 2005.    

Why should anyone believe they can be successful?

"To be honest with you, you shouldn't,'' Morris said at the NFC coaches' breakfast. "You've got to create the doubt. You've got to create the myth. Those guys have got to step up to the forefront. One of those guys have got to emerge as the guy. When that happens, we won't have this discussion. We'll all know.

"Nobody knew who Matt Cassel was until Matt Cassel got a chance. Who are we kidding? Nobody knew who Tom Brady was until 'Mo Lewis knocked out Drew Bledsoe on the sideline. Nobody knows these guys. You're never a good quarterback in this league until you get an opportunity, then you either go out there and you either fail or you become Matt Cassel or Drew Brees or Phillip Rivers.''

Morris said the Bucs plan to add a fourth quarterback either through free agency, a trade or the draft. Tampa Bay attempted to trade for Denver quarterback Jay Cutler a few weeks ago. Morris wouldn't comment on Cutler. 

"You're exactly right,'' Morris said. "Nobody is proven. We're going out there and we're fighting and letting them battle. May the best man put his cleats in and may the best man win. You've got one bone for four dogs. Let them go out and fight this thing out.''

"We've got two unproven guys. Luke McCown, who's started six games, won one. he has a bunch of talent that we see every day that you don't. We've got a guy in Josh Johnson who should have been a second-round pick byt absolutely bombed at the combine and became a fifth-round pick. He improved this off-season. That's the stuff you didn't see. We've got a guy, Brian Griese on our staff, who has played in a bunch of games. He's been a part-time starter, he's been a full-time starter, bounced into a couple games, won a couple games, got us off to our 9-3 start, helped us do that last year as a veteran. We want to add one more (quarterback) for competition.''

The Bucs have the 19th overall selection -- and despite huge needs on defense -- Morris said they wouldn't hestitate to use it on a quarterback. Georgia's Matthew Stafford and Southern Cal's Mark Sanchez will be long gone by then. One possibility is Kansas State's Josh Freeman, whom Morris is familiar with having been the Wildcats' defensive coordinator in 2006.   

"Hey man, obviously you've got targeted positions you've got to get,'' Morris said. "The number one in these league probably for everybody except for four teams is quarterback. If you've got an opportunity, if you feel a guy is a franchise guy, if you've got confidence in the guy, you take him. You take him and you have no reservations about. At Indy, I don't know who played linebacker, d-tackle, secondary, anything -- when they took Peyton Manning. I couldn't tell you who played those positions for them.

"Where ever it falls right now, especially being at 19, you have no idea. You sit there, you can put your board together and then trades happen. People move up, people move back, people jump you. You have no idea. He might not be in your type 90, but (a team) took him to see if they could stump Mel Kiper.''

Morris, 32, is the youngest coach in the NFL and already has released players like Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn and Cato June. With all the turnover, he was asked if he felt he would be given enough time to right the Bucs' ship?

"This is not a time business,'' Morris said. "This business right here you either win or you lose. You get your shot or you go home. The turnover is not as much as you think. Part of the reason people get so concerned about a player like Derrick Brooks, like Warrick Dunn, like an Ike Hilliard being let go is that they don't know your young players. And the reason they don't know your young players is because they haven't gotten a chance to play.''





[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:29pm]


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