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Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris already looking ahead to 2012

Award winner: Guard Davin Joseph is the Bucs’ Man of the Year, thus being eligible for the leaguewide award.

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Award winner: Guard Davin Joseph is the Bucs’ Man of the Year, thus being eligible for the leaguewide award.

TAMPA — Raheem Morris has no problem taking all of the responsibility for the Bucs' 4-11 record and nine-game losing streak.

But heading into Sunday's regular-season finale at Atlanta, the third-year coach said he already is thinking about how to fix things for next season.

"I'll be the first person, when this thing is done on Monday, when we come in here, raise my hand and say, 'You guys can absolutely put this season on me,' " Morris said. "Now let's find a way to make it better.

"It's about the mental approach of how we're going to get better the next year."

Morris said it's possible many of the rookies who were part of a 10-6 season in 2010 and 4-2 start in 2011 got spoiled and didn't handle adversity well.

"A lot of people said you build character through adversity. Not true," he said. "Character reveals itself when you go through adversity.

"There's a reason why people have sophomore slumps. You get a little high on yourself. You come back. You don't do quite the same thing. You have to bounce back. It just so happened we had so many people in sophomore slumps because we played so many rookies the year before. Again, this is not excuses. This is something that I've got to get better at and get those guys better at."

STAT OF THE YEAR: Morris says stats are for losers, but he admits one guarantees losing: turnovers. The Bucs have 36 that have led to 107 points by opponents.

You've got to eliminate turnovers," he said. "You've got to find a way to maintain possession during the game."

Morris said some turnovers, such as the fumble on the first offensive snap in Carolina by RB LeGarrette Blount, are the result of a simple lack of focus.

"The first play of the game on offense … it's something that you planned," Morris said. "It's got to be focus. Some of it is trying to do too much, and all of those things play a part of it."

MAN OF THE YEAR: It has been a big week for G Davin Joseph. Two days after being named to his second Pro Bowl, he was named Man of the Year by the Bucs. He is eligible for the league's Walter Payton Man of the Year honor.

This year, Joseph established the Davin Joseph Events for Cause Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to serving urban areas in Tampa and his hometown of Hallandale. The purpose is to enhance athletic programs and performing arts programs in urban schools.

This year, Joseph adopted Blake High and donated $10,000 to the athletic program while sponsoring pregame meals for the football teams there and at Middleton High.

"I've been doing it out of just trying to help any way I can," Joseph said. "I'm honored to have the award. It's an awesome deal.

"This (award) I definitely didn't see coming at all. I really see it as my duty as a player, here in Tampa, to definitely get out in the community and help."

Rick Stroud can be reached at stroud@tampabay.com.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris already looking ahead to 2012 12/29/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 29, 2011 9:08pm]
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