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Poor Friday practice led to poor Sunday game, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris says

TAMPA — One bad practice does not necessarily add up to a putrid football team, but coach Raheem Morris and the Bucs learned a lesson about the importance of preparation after a lackluster workout Friday.

On Monday, a day after his team's 26-3 loss to the Jets, Morris admitted his team lacked intensity and attention to detail in Friday's practice, the week's final workout.

That carried over into the game. But Morris defended his team's practice habits, saying Friday was not the norm.

"That's not a fair statement," Morris said when asked whether such practices were common. "We had a bad Friday practice. A terrible Friday practice. It was horrible. I told them right after practice on Friday. I told them on Saturday morning. And (Sunday) after the game, I talked about it with (the media). But throughout the season, that was more of an exception."

As to what was so discouraging about Friday, Morris said, "We couldn't get anything going on offense. The defense was a little bit sloppy. But the defense came out and responded and played well (on Sunday)."

A Friday practice is considered one of the most important of the week because a team typically concentrates on scripted plays to open a game with, red zone and goal-line work and fine-tuning complicated aspects of the game plan.

Curiously, Morris opted not to take any dramatic steps during the practice beyond calling out players afterward.

"It wasn't the time," he said. "You sat back and watched the practice and couldn't believe what you were seeing. You (huddle) up at the end of practice and let them know what just happened and you let them know there was going to be a direct response for this practice. And there was. It's called getting your face beat off 26-3. I can't give a better example than that."

Bryant's shadow: The performance of QB Josh Freeman had much to do with WR Antonio Bryant's disappearing act Sunday, when the team's No. 1 receiver caught two passes for 22 yards after starring with 207 combined yards in the previous two games.

But the Bucs could thank not only Freeman but Jets Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis, who had an interception and four pass deflections. Morris said the Jets used some zone coverages to help Revis, but he was consistently draped over Bryant.

"Darrelle Revis is a great corner," Morris said. "He matches up with the best every single week. It's a lot of individual credit to him."

No SOCCER sale: Reports in England the past couple of days have indicated that a consortium of Asian investors are preparing to bid for English soccer club Manchester United, a property owned by the Glazer family, owners of the Bucs.

But a family spokesman, via e-mail, said simply, "Manchester United is not for sale."

The family's $1.4 billion purchase of the team in 2004 has long been a sore spot with Bucs fans who wonder about the owners' financial commitment to their NFL club.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@sptimes.com.

Poor Friday practice led to poor Sunday game, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris says 12/14/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 14, 2009 8:54pm]
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