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Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris angered by lack of focus

TAMPA — Coach Raheem Morris stopped practice, called his players to midfield and proceeded to rip into them with a harshly worded rant.

Better now than in September.

Morris implored his players Monday to take a serious, gamelike approach to this week's mandatory minicamp, and Bucs coaches have conducted it in frantic, gamelike fashion — as opposed to more routine offseason practices.

But Morris wasn't getting the desired response, so he did something about it, using a few R-rated words for emphasis.

"It's easy to get caught up with the fans in a game, and it's easy to get caught up in the mode of a regular practice, walking off, talking to your (position) coach, being coached on every play," he said. "You have to get that out of you when you're talking about game situations. That's just not realistic. That's not what happens.

"We have to increase our urgency in practice. … When you come out to practice, you have to put yourself in a gamelike situation. We have to increase the urgency with that (today)."

Morris expected it might be difficult to change the mentality after nearly six weeks of monotonous offseason workouts, during which the tempo and attitude is more laid-back compared to actual games.

And with a young roster, players have more of a tendency to lose focus, a problem the Bucs will continue to battle.

Morris even talked to the team's practice officials, telling them to be demonstrative in calling penalties and in marking penalty yardage. Typically, officials would discreetly alert coaches to an infraction and not interrupt practice.

And if that wasn't enough, perhaps Morris' little "talk" was sufficient.

"It's easy to sit in a meeting and say, 'It's going to be a gamelike situation today,' " Morris said. "Then you have to go out there and (change) your mind-set. It's easy to go out there and run on the field like it's an OTA day. That's why I think it's critical for me to stop the practice, let them know where we are, refocus."

Plan B?: Holdout LT Donald Penn, as expected, didn't show for the start of the mandatory camp, leaving the Bucs with project Demar Dotson to continue to take snaps at a critical position.

When the Bucs return in five weeks for training camp, it's possible Penn will still be absent, bringing Dotson closer to possibly lining up in a game.

"All I can say is I'm going to go out there and do the best I can do," Dotson said. "If I have to start when it comes to Game 1, I'm going to be the best player I can be in the short time I've had."

As recently as 2007, Dotson was playing basketball at Southern Miss. He played one season of defensive tackle there in his final year of eligibility, but the Bucs converted him to an offensive tackle last season when he joined the team as an undrafted free agent.

Morris says it's too early to know what Dotson is capable of.

Dotson expressed doubt Monday about whether he should be considered a starting-caliber tackle.

Roster move: The Bucs filled a roster spot by claiming S Matt O'Hanlon off waivers from Carolina.

O'Hanlon, who joined the Panthers as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska in April, practiced with Tampa Bay on Monday. At Nebraska, O'Hanlon recorded 132 tackles, two sacks, 10 interceptions and 10 passes defensed.

Roll call: Outside of Penn, the Bucs were without DT Brian Price (hamstring), TE Kellen Winslow (knee) and CB Myron Lewis (hamstring).

Around the league

dillon update: The Los Angeles County district attorney's office said it charged former Bengals RB Corey Dillon with two misdemeanors in connection with his arrest in April on suspicion of drunken driving, and details were revealed of his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges because of insufficient evidence to show that his wife, Desiree Antoine-Dillon, was injured at their home. Antoine-Dillon alleged that Dillon poured milk over her head, threw water on her and poured soy sauce on her during a dispute. She did not want to press charges.

Chargers: S Kevin Ellison was released. He had been told by coach Norv Turner to stay away from minicamp last month after his arrest on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance. Ellison, who played at USC, started nine games at strong safety as a rookie in 2009. San Diego also released former Gator DT Ian Scott, FB Cory Jackson and WR Jordyn Jackson.

Ravens: Baltimore agreed on three-year deals with fourth-round pick Dennis Pitta, a BYU tight end, and fifth-rounder Arthur Jones, a Syracuse defensive lineman. The deals leave the Ravens five unsigned picks, including second-rounders Sergio Kindle of Texas and Terrence Cody of Alabama.

Saints: DE Bobby McCray, a former Gator and playoff starter who helped New Orleans capture the Super Bowl, was released. The Saints appear happy to have former Gator Alex Brown and former Buc Jimmy Wilkerson split time at left end, with Will Smith on the right side.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris angered by lack of focus 06/21/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 7:48am]
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