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It has been a fascinating year for Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris

New Receiver: Mark Bradley, claimed off waivers from the Chiefs, can’t quite reach a pass against the Bills on Dec. 13.

Associated Press

New Receiver: Mark Bradley, claimed off waivers from the Chiefs, can’t quite reach a pass against the Bills on Dec. 13.

TAMPA — 'Twas the night before Christmas.

Raheem Morris was summoned to Jon Gruden's office one year ago today and informed he was going to be the Bucs' defensive coordinator in 2009, succeeding Monte Kiffin, who had decided to join son Lane at the University of Tennessee.

But before Morris, who had been the Bucs' defensive backs coach, could fulfill that role, Gruden was fired Jan. 16. Morris was introduced as the Bucs' new coach the next day.

"I was fired up (about being defensive coordinator)," Morris said Wednesday. "We were kind of getting ready to let (Gruden) do offense and me do defense, and you start thinking about that stuff and processing it in your mind.

"Then the Denver interview came (he was interviewed for its head job) and messed everything up. You're thinking about becoming a head coach. Next thing you know, the whole franchise turned around and you're in charge of everything. So here we are after a learning curve."

Morris, 33, said he tries not to dwell on how his life has changed since becoming the NFL's youngest coach.

"But you have to," Morris said. "I can't hang out anymore. It's changed a lot. You've got a lot of responsibilities. You've got a lot of people counting on you."

New Wideout: The Bucs added a potential weapon when they claimed WR Mark Bradley off waivers from the Chiefs.

Bradley started six games for Kansas City this season before being released Tuesday. Bradley and other Chiefs receivers have been plagued by dropped passes. He dropped two Sunday against Cleveland.

But Bradley has more production this season than some of his new teammates. His 320 receiving yards on 24 catches trail only TE Kellen Winslow and WRs Antonio Bryant and Sammie Stroughter.

It has not been determined how much Bradley will play.

More on receivers: Among the Bucs' issues is finding a replacement for Stroughter, who is out for the season with a foot injury. He was a key contributor on third down, with 19 of his 31 catches resulting in first downs.

Because he lined up in the slot, he was on the field almost exclusively in three-receiver formations, which tend to be on passing downs.

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said he is considering several options, including Winslow, Maurice Stovall and Michael Clayton, who should return Sunday against the Saints after missing three games with a knee injury.

Clayton seems the most realistic option. It's expected Stovall will remain a starter even as Clayton returns. That would mean Clayton is likely to enter in three-receiver sets.

INJURY UPDATES: WR Antonio Bryant was limited in practice with a groin injury, as were S Tanard Jackson (knee) and Winslow (knee). Morris said each should be "willing and able" to participate to some extent today.

It has been a fascinating year for Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris 12/23/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 9:16pm]
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