Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New rules limit Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris' use of pads in practice

Coach Raheem Morris keeps an eye on drills as he signs autographs. Today the Bucs will add pads to practice.

Joseph Garnett Jr. | Times

Coach Raheem Morris keeps an eye on drills as he signs autographs. Today the Bucs will add pads to practice.

TAMPA — Bucs coach Raheem Morris has prided himself on having a "violent" and "physical" team.

Morris sent that message by having players in pads for the first training camp practice in 2009, as he has been a big believer in utilizing padded practices throughout the entire season to improve tackling and build toughness. But due to the new rules in the collective bargaining agreement, coaches are limited in terms of how many practices they can have their team in full — or even partial — pads, which will be a significant adjustment for the third-year head coach.

Today will be Tampa Bay's first practice in pads.

"You guys know I like pads, but at the same time, it's an acclimation process for your team," Morris said Sunday. "It doesn't matter. The rule is the rule. It's no different than how you feel about any rule that we collectively bargain. If you complain about them, that makes you a complainer. I'm just going to follow what I'm told to do and try to win football games.

At training camp last year, the team would sometimes go in full pads for the morning practice and partial (helmet, shoulder pads) in the afternoon session. Now, only one such practice is permitted each day, limited to three hours, with the second practice up to the four-hour limit a walkthrough.

That continues in the regular season, when there are 14 total padded practices, 11 held in the first 11 weeks, with the remaining three in the final six weeks.

"It's the old Coach (Tony) Dungy (saying): 'No excuses, no explanations,' " Morris said. "You go out there and try to get better in training camp, and when it's time for the bullets to come flying and we play Detroit, we go. You've got to be able to tackle. You have to have your fundamentals. … you've got to find different ways and different tools to teach those things."

BYE-bye, BARRETT: When Barrett Ruud agreed to a one-year contract with the Titans on Saturday night, it ended not only the linebacker's six-year run with the Bucs, but also a close relationship with Morris.

Ruud and Morris have reiterated how close they have grown, particularly because of the long hours they spent together game-planning. Morris has called Ruud the quarterback of his defense (Morris is the defensive coordinator).

It's a strange moment for Morris with Ruud moving on.

"Personally, for me and Barrett, I'm going to miss him to death," Morris said after the morning practice. "He was more than just my (middle) linebacker. He was a close friend. I wish him nothing but the best.

"I hope he goes on and proves us wrong and makes it happen."

FREEMAN ON FIRE: The afternoon practice featured a spirited red zone period highlighted by several pinpoint passes from Josh Freeman and several acrobatic catches from, among others, WRs Dez Briscoe and Mike Williams.

"Josh has no fear," WR Sammie Stroughter said. "If you get there, he's going to throw it there. That's something you love as a receiver. If I stay true to him, he'll stay true to me. It's just fun to play with him. Everybody and anybody can get the ball."

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson, ever the coach, said afterward that Freeman's impressive throws were largely negated by two interceptions in other drills.

MISCELLANY: The team released LS Aaron Feld and signed TE Jose Cruz. Cruz, who started 13 games last season for Syracuse (mostly as a blocking tight end), was likely added partly due to the injury to rookie TE Luke Stocker, who is week to week with a right hip injury.

Joe Smith can be reached at

New rules limit Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris' use of pads in practice 07/31/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 7:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has



    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  4. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater


    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.