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Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris explains critical comments about his defense as 'frank'

On the field: Receiver Antonio Bryant, here in minicamp, was limited but did practice Wednesday.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

On the field: Receiver Antonio Bryant, here in minicamp, was limited but did practice Wednesday.

TAMPA — Two days after making comments that questioned his team's defensive personnel, coach Raheem Morris approached LB Barrett Ruud on Wednesday morning to clarify what was said.

Ruud said the move wasn't necessary and that he was unaware of the comments, but Morris still felt the need to repeatedly clarify, with both players and the media, what he said.

"I know you think I tore them down," Morris said, "but I really didn't. We just like to speak frank. It was an opportunity for me to let those guys know (that) outside influences are going to try to tear us down. But we have to stay together and try to talk to each other frankly. That's what we've done. We criticize ourselves. We criticize each other. We have no problem.

"You (reporters) asked the question, and there was a big article. You asked a specific question, I gave you a specific answer. (Players) understand that."

The comments in question included the following: "We don't have the big people, the big personnel that you need to knock out runs, the physical person up front that absolutely dominates the block and gets the tackle for loss for a third and 13. We'll get there, or we'll find those guys. We'll get out there and get them. But we have to play with the guys that we have."

After speaking with Morris, Ruud, who is listed at 6 feet 2, 241 pounds, said: "It's not that he didn't believe in any of us. I'm a guy who takes the approach every year that I'm putting out my resume. If I'm the right guy or if I'm not the right guy, you put it out there anyway. I can accept that because it's up to me."

DT Ryan Sims, who was mentioned in Monday's exchange with reporters, said of the criticism: "Of course you don't (like it), but nobody likes losing. So, he's just trying to find a way to win."

In the end, Morris believes he has come to an accord with his players.

"If you ask Barrett, he'll tell you he isn't a big, 250-pound linebacker," Morris said. "That's not who we are. … We're guys who have to play smart. We're guys who are going to play fast. We've always been like that."

BRYANT BETTER: It appears a little rest for WR Antonio Bryant has done him some good.

Bryant, who has missed the past two games with a lingering left knee injury that has bothered him since preseason arthroscopic surgery, returned to practice Wednesday. Though Bryant was limited, he impressed Morris.

"He came out there, ran around and looked as good as I've seen him," Morris said.

Bryant maintained his stance that the decision to hold him out the past two games was made by the organization and not by him. That position has been echoed by Morris on more than one occasion. Bryant said it's too early to say for certain whether he will be able to play Sunday against the Saints.

In other injury news, DE Stylez White (shoulder) was back at practice, but RB Cadillac Williams (knee), TE Kellen Winslow (knee), CB Aqib Talib (hamstring) and QB Byron Leftwich (right elbow) were limited.

HOLD ON: Offensive coordinator Greg Olson continued to lament the issue the Bucs have had with the quarterback-center exchange, including QB Josh Freeman fumbling two snaps last week against the Dolphins. Olson said they don't have problems with snaps in practice and "that's what's discouraging." "I know I'm beating myself up over it, I know both (center) Jeff Faine and the quarterbacks, we've all beaten ourselves up over this thing," Olson said. "Because we're going to look back at when the season is over and look at throughout the season, there have been some critical, critical center-quarterback exchange issues. It just can't happen. It's unacceptable."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris explains critical comments about his defense as 'frank' 11/18/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 19, 2009 8:46am]

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