TAMPA — On a black Monday for two NFL head coaches who received pink slips, beleaguered Bucs coach Raheem Morris said the only scrutiny he cares about will come from the Glazer family or general manager Mark Dominik.
Regardless of his future, Morris said the adversity of a seven-game losing streak and another lost season will eventually make the Bucs better.
"No matter what the situation, whether I'm here or whether I'm not, I'm sure this team right here is going to be a better football team because of it," Morris said Monday.
Leading 14-0 at Jacksonville on Sunday, Tampa Bay committed seven turnovers that led to a 41-14 loss. Since starting the season 3-1, the Bucs have lost by 45, 28, 19 and 27 points in the past two months to fall to 4-9.
The Bucs host the Cowboys on Saturday night in a sold-out, nationally televised game on NFL Network. Morris, who in his third season is 17-28, was asked if he believed he was on the hot seat. The Chiefs on Monday fired coach Todd Haley, who went 19-27 in three seasons and reached the AFC playoffs in 2010. The Dolphins canned coach Tony Sparano, who was 29-32 in nearly four years. In his first season in 2008, the Dolphins went 11-5 and won the AFC East title.
"When you're coaching, you are always on the hot seat," Morris said. "That's the mentality of what we do. We were on the hot seat when we were 10-6 and we didn't go to the playoffs. We could still get fired. I remember I got fired when I was 9-7 and I became the head coach that same year. So you're always in the hot seat. I try to tell guys all the time if I was worried about being fired, I certainly would not be coaching. I would've taken that physical education job in Long Island I turned down 15 years ago at this point, but that's not what I do. We're entertainers. I got a lot of guys in this locker room that are counting on us not to show mental weakness and we won't do that.
"It's great for you guys to scare my family half to death and talk about that stuff throughout. But for us, man, it's a mentally tough business. It is move on. … It's the Dallas Cowboys coming in here hot on a Saturday night game for me a chance to ruin (coach) Jason Garrett's season and let you talk about him."
Morris said the only scrutiny he values will come from the Glazer family or Dominik, who has declined comment.
"Obviously, the only criticism I care about comes from people with (last) names that (begin) with G," Morris said. "Next … that would be Dominik. Then it has to do with my coaching staff and then it has to do with my players. So really, once we get together and we figure out what we need to do and do better, that's what we have to do. That's the only way you win football games. Everybody else is a component that doesn't matter. We like to refer to them around here as gray matter. That's exactly why papers are gray because they don't matter."
Morris finished second in NFL coach of the year voting to the Patriots' Bill Belichick last season after leading the biggest turnaround in club history, going from 3-13 his first season to 10-6.
After facing Dallas, the Bucs finish Dec. 24 at Carolina and Jan. 1 at Atlanta.
Morris said he has not talked about his future with the Glazers or Dominik, though he has daily meetings with the GM about the roster and other issues.
"Me and Mark we talk every day,'' Morris said. "Not that we are talking about what a good job I'm doing or good job they are doing. Last week it was cutting back and getting the guys to play faster and do some of those things. This week it is about fundamental core beliefs."
As for all the speculation about his job?
"None of that stuff matters," Morris said. "We have to prepare to beat the Dallas Cowboys, and we're not going into the Dallas Cowboys game not to get fired. We're going into the game to win, period."