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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Tampa Bay Bucs coach Raheem Morris' Monday quotes

14

December

(Opening statement)
"Yesterday, offensively we were not ready to play, and that's on us as coaches. We had no explosive plays, no third-down conversions. We didn't get anything going and that's just not very good. On defense, we were solid in some areas. We had a couple of drives, especially at the end of the first half, where we've got to stop them and get off the field faster and get our offense some more opportunities. We held them to five of 18 on third down, which is 28 percent, but we expect better. We expect better. We have to play Buc-ball around here; that means getting off the field every time, that means getting off on every opportunity, which we've done here in the past plenty of times. Special teams, there were some positives: [Adam] Hayward and [Jimmy Wilkerson], the successful onside kick. All that stuff is great. But we wore down a little bit. Any time you have six kickoff returns and six punts in the first half alone, the fake punt that got us, those are negative things and they hurt the team. Now we're at the point that the next emphasis we've got to put on is the final three games, go out there and finish strong and finish with a positive note to the season. That's where we are."

(On how much the first-play interception weighed on Josh Freeman)
"You know, we talked about that as a staff and I don't think we did a good job as a staff of calming him down after that happened. He kind of lost his composure a little bit at the time; he's a rookie, you expect it. That's what we're talking about with the patience. But I'm sure it had some effect on his psyche at the beginning of the game. He's a mentally tough kid but any time you throw five picks the week before ? in a completely different situation, I might add ? and then you open the game up and start off with a pick that way when you're searching for an easy completion to get his confidence going, it probably affected him a little bit."

(On how Freeman shows it when he loses his composure)
"No, he's not an overdramatic kid, whether he's high or whether he's low. That's what you love about him. But just losing his intent of the game, some things he would normally do well. He's never going to be a throw-down-his-helmet [guy]. He might unbuckle his chinstrap real fast, something like that, but other than that you won't get any un-composed issues with the kid. That's not him, that's not who he is. He may tell us what he wants to do or he may tell his offensive line or a coach or something, but you'll rarely see an outbreak or a loss of composure in any form that you're accustomed to in today's NFL."

(On if that makes it harder to read Freeman)

"No, no. That lets you know where he is. It makes it hard to read when he's struggling with something, I will tell you that. But at the same time, when you talk to him, like I said he's never going to lose his composure where he gets to the point where he just loses it and he's not able to focus on each play. But that might have touched his confidence a little early. You're playing against the number-one defense in the NFL and they showed yesterday why they are, and you've got to come back and you've got to be ready to deal with it and play."

(On what he didn't do with Freeman at that moment)

"That's a part of me learning to be better. Maybe I get to him faster. Sometimes I have so much confidence in him that I don't go talk to him right away. I let him try to fight through it himself. Maybe I talked to him too late yesterday. That's something I can do better and that's something we can do better as a coaching staff. I'm sure Greg Olson talks to him constantly, but the whole fact of calming the quarterback down, getting him back to that place where he needs to be to start the game, be in that place, as quickly as you can. And eventually, at the same time, those guys bring themselves back, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and those types of guys. I'm always mentioning the great guys because you want all your players to be in that type of caliber, but they get themselves back. Drew Brees came in here last year and threw [three] picks and he got himself back. All those guys have to do that at some point, but when you're this young, playing at this high of a level, having this much pressure on you as a young man, you need some help, some outside help."

(On his game plan for Freeman for the next few weeks)

"You've got to calm him down a little bit. You've got to establish your offensive identity as far as the run, you've got to give him some easy completions, you've got to get back to his hardcore play-action pass. We talked about it. When do you give him too much? When do you keep giving him stuff? And we kind of found out. You've got to reel some things back on him a little bit. He played a very good defense. You don't want to overdo it. You don't want to put him in remedial classes. At the same time, you want to take a little pressure off the young man. You want to take some stuff off of him and put it back on the coaches, put it back on the guys around him, do some of those things so he can get going a little bit faster like he started. You talk about how he started. You talk about the next game, coming out and just losing the football game. Then you talk about Carolina and absolutely dicing him all over the field until you got to the red zone and having a bad situational day in the red zone. Then yesterday you had your first real all-around bad game, and now you've got to find out how to bounce back and go out there and play."

(On if it was a mistake to start the game with that pass play)
"For me, that goes back to my second-guess thing every week. I could second-guess all those things that morning. If he hits that thing to A.B. [Antonio Bryant] and A.B. turns up the field, or he throws it to Mo [Stovall] in the flat and we get an easy completion, now we've got a first down or now we've got a second-down-and-manageable so you can run the football. You change the whole outcome of maybe the game or definitely that drive. You could second-guess those things every week. That's easy to do. I could do that right now with my offensive coordinator, but for whatever reason we like that play and we like that look and we like what we got. If we deliver the ball to Mo in the flat, we're all pretty excited about going to second-down-and-four or possibly first-down-and-10, getting our first first down of the football game."

(On if it's discouraging not to develop a consistent running game)

"It had some remnants of that Giants game [in Week Three]. That [Jets] team was a very physical defense, and you've seen what a number-one defense looks like, when they come off the edge and they're absolutely skilled at what they do and they play as fast as they do. You've got to give Calvin Pace and Bart Scott and Rex [Ryan] a lot of credit for what they do on defense and how they do it and how fast they play. They're physical. They have a big-time corner out there in Darrelle Revis. Their safeties played well yesterday; they played well all around. It's disheartening to watch but at the same time it's encouraging because you look at that team and you can go show your team, give examples of what you can be if you put your mind to it. And that's what they've done out there at the Jets. It's positive to see for those guys, but you've got to go out there and play against that type of people if you want to win in this league."

(On why the offensive line hasn't emerged as a team strength as expected)

?You're right. We have not played well. We have not played well. No excuses made. None needed. We've got to play better. Yesterday when you go play teams like that it really shows."

(On if it's a fair statement to say the Bucs haven't practiced well consistently this season)
"No, that's not a fair statement. We had a bad Friday. It was a terrible Friday practice, it was horrible. I told them right after practice on Friday, I told them Saturday morning and then yesterday after the game I let them know. I also talked about it with you guys ? we just did not practice well that day. But throughout the season, that was more of an exception that Friday than anything. Individually, people have bad practices but collectively as a team it's been rare that we've had bad practices, a bad practice like we had on Friday. We couldn't get anything going on offense. Defensively, we were a little bit sloppy as far as the close calls. The defense responded, they came out and played well. That wasn't the first bad Friday we've had around here in my time here, but I had to bring it to their attention so they would know. Friday is about speed, it's about explosiveness, it's about being correct and doing everything the right way, and we di dn't on this past Friday, so we've got to clean that up."

(On possibly scaling back Freeman)
?No. It?s not about the play calling so to speak. You have to help him out a little bit. Maybe we don?t start the game off with a pass right off the bat but you are searching for where his confidence level is and where he is. I remember a couple of weeks ago when he went out there and threw for all those yards you were saying, ?Hey, how far can he take this thing now? Is he going to be the guy to stand back there and throw the ball every snap?? I looked at you guys and said, ?I don?t know. I don?t know how fast you push him and how fast you let that thing go.? Maybe you have to scale it back a little bit now. I learned from Rod Marinelli, when stuff is going bad and it?s not working you scale back and you detail it. You make it better. That?s where we have to go right now. The same thing you do on defense you do on offense.?

(On Rex Ryan going after the rookie Josh Freeman)
?I hate to say it but Rex goes after everybody. I don?t want to say Rex came at him any more than he would come after Tom Brady. They are phenomenal blitzing guys, they are phenomenal off the edge, they are phenomenal at showing you a blitz and not blitzing, matching up their best corner with your best wide-out and absolutely saying, ?beat him if you want to beat anybody.? They do a good job with that. They have good dropping linebackers. They are a good football team, they are a good defensive football team and they are good on offense. With Thomas Jones running the football, they have that backup there from Iowa, the young kid. They have a really strong and powerful offensive line. They were down their quarterback yesterday, obviously. They are a good football team.?

(On if Freeman was prepared for what they threw at him)
?That?s the thing about it. We came off the field and Josh let me know. Josh said, ?Hey, I felt like we had a good plan. I just didn?t execute, we didn?t execute.? He always puts more on himself than he probably should. That?s a good thing. That?s a good quality, don?t get me wrong. Like I said, we need to take a lot of that as coaches as well. As coaches you get too much credit and sometimes too much blame. The same thing is with the quarterback. We have to get together this week, sit down, communicate and work that thing out and get this right.?

(On what has to happen in the end)
?I think I kind of hit that at the beginning. For me, I have to put an emphasis on these final three games and how we finish this season. That?s the most important thing for me. I want to win all three of them. I wanted to win all 16 of them and that didn?t happen. I?m not going to go in the tank, I?m not going to moan, I?m not going to make excuses, I?m going to go out and try to be my best self. That?s what I?m going to do right now.?

(On when he realized he overestimated about how good the team was)
?I don?t think you ever overestimate. I?m never going to come in here and say that I?m going to be one and whatever. I?m always going to come in here and say that I will be 16-0. I?m going to go 3-0 the last week of the season. That?s my job, that?s my goal and that?s my intentions. That?s my team?s goal, their job and their intentions. If I feel that slipping then we have problems.?

(On when it slipped)
?Right from the beginning when you go 0-1, you can?t go 16-0 anymore. You have to find a way to win the next game. We couldn?t find a way to win a game until we got to Green Bay. Now we have to find out how to win again. We have to find a way of building on some of the positive things that we are doing and turn them into wins. We talk about finishing. It?s all over the place as to how we get better.?

(On the fans)
?People are always going to question everything that you do. You are going to have to believe in yourself, what you do and your capabilities. That?s what I do. I believe in our ownership, General Manager, myself and this team. We will get better. It?s just a matter of time. We don?t get much time so we better do it pretty quickly. That?s what I?m talking about, these final three games and how we finish. Yes, we have progressed. We?ve gotten better on defense, still not good enough. We can?t walk out of the game yesterday and give up 99 yards to Thomas or 176yards of total rushing and feel like you?ve got better. At the same time, at halftime I looked at the stats and couldn?t believe it. I was almost shocked that they had that much yardage because I kept feeling like we got off. We got off the field with a bunch of three and outs but they still had so many opportunities and the yards added up. We will get better, we will find out how to play as a team, build as a unit and play together.?

(On effort)
?I don?t think it?s a matter of effort. Yesterday, it kind of had some New York Giants implications to it. They were physically outmatched in situations or a guy just flat out beat a guy, whatever the case might have been. A big time play that they made on Cadillac when they just smashed us. Some of those things were there. Those are some of those things that you have to look at and look at one another as a man and try to figure out what the problem was. I don?t know if it was effort. I don?t want to put it on that yet because I see a lot of effort. I see people flying around. I see people flying to the football on defense. Yesterday on offense you can question them on the effort. You are right by doing that. We have to go evaluate the tape and find out what?s wrong there.?

(On Freeman?s mechanics)
?He has great mechanics. The problem yesterday with him was he missed about five throws. A lot of that was because of the pressure that he received earlier. You start to lose confidence in whether you are going to be physically outmatched somewhere. That?s a problem .When you start to lose that type of confidence that?s a problem at quarterback and that?s a problem with the accuracy right there, yesterday. That is always going to be an issue until you know what you are doing completely, until he gets it all the way and he feels all of the confidence in everybody around him. Then he will be fine.?

(On Darrelle Revis)

?He had some zone coverages behind him. They played three-deep on the first play. That?s how they got the QB keep, ball out fake and a pick by the middle linebacker. Darrelle Revis is a great corner. Don?t make any mistakes about it. I?m sure he will be in the Pro Bowl this year. He matches up with the best, every single week. It?s a lot of individual credit to him. They help him out sometimes; nobody in this league can run around one man and cover him all day, man to man, and not giving up anything. He does a great job of doing it when they want to. Like I said, Rex does a great job of mixing up coverages, blitzes and walking people around which causes confusion. He did a great job yesterday.?

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:51pm]

    

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