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Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris mum on Broncos QB Jay Cutler

PAY ATTENTION, CLASS: Linebackers coach Joe Barry works with his unit — including Quincy Black (58), Adam Hayward (57) and Niko Koutouvides (53) — at minicamp at One Buc Place.


PAY ATTENTION, CLASS: Linebackers coach Joe Barry works with his unit — including Quincy Black (58), Adam Hayward (57) and Niko Koutouvides (53) — at minicamp at One Buc Place.

TAMPA — Jay Cutler may wind up calling the plays in their huddle, but the Bucs have gone to the silent count when it comes to the topic of the Broncos quarterback.

Coach Raheem Morris on Wednesday would not address his team's interest in trading for Cutler. Tampa Bay was part of a failed effort to land Cutler in a three-way deal on Feb. 28, and the Broncos said Tuesday that they will attempt to deal the 25-year-old Pro Bowl player.

"You look for anybody to improve your team, obviously," Morris said. "But … he's under contract, so you don't discuss those issues."

Morris said he has had no recent talks with quarterbacks Luke McCown, Josh Johnson and Brian Griese about the team's efforts to land a fourth passer.

"Right now my job is to run the football team on the practice field. And that's what I'm doing," he said on the second day of voluntary minicamp. "The things that happen in the background, (GM) Mark Dominik usually handles. He'll keep me abreast."

LB Niko Koutouvides, who played with Cutler in Denver last season, said the quarterback is being portrayed unfairly.

"He just felt he got disrespected, and that's the way they handled it," Koutouvides said. "Maybe some people say he could be handling it better than he is. Maybe, maybe not.

"He's a leader, wanting to win, feisty, a fighter, likes to take a hit and get back up ready to go."

NO K2: TE Kellen Winslow decided not to participate Wednesday. He was at the team's facility, but his absence on the practice field was not injury-related, Morris said.

Winslow had a series of knee surgeries last season.

"This is a voluntary deal," Morris said. "And Kellen did everything he needed to do."

LOVE, NOT LIKE: Morris said he would like to see more assertiveness and leadership from McCown.

"It's not necessarily just Luke, it's the quarterback position," Morris said. "In Luke's case, Luke does have some motivational characteristics. He has to bring more out of himself. And he will. He's been doing it all along. That's why he's in the position he's in now, competing for the starting job.

"I'm liking the direction he's going. … He's got to make us love him, and that's his job."

TIGHTEN UP: Offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski knows one thing after two days of minicamp: The tight ends are going to play a major role in his unit.

With Winslow, Jerramy Stevens and Alex Smith, Jagod­zinski is intrigued by the possibilities.

"(Tight end) always has been a big part of this offense," he said. "Kellen, I think, does some things with matchups I think we can get that are really going to benefit us this year. We can put him in different spots and move him around to get the matchup that we want. He can get in and out of a cut like a receiver. He's good.

"I'm really looking forward to working with him. He's been great out at practice, asking a lot of questions. … I came off the field (Tuesday) saying, 'I think we have something good there with him.' "

Jagodzinski's plan is to get Winslow and Stevens into receiving routes on the same play.

"Defenses are going to have to decide whether they're going to play you in regular personnel, are they going to play nickel," Jagodzinski said. "If they play regular, you have Kellen on a linebacker. If you play nickel, then you have the run."

DOUBLING UP: DE Gaines Adams hopes he can make a substantial jump in production in the fall under coordinator Jim Bates, much like All-Pro Jason Taylor did his first year under Bates in Miami. Taylor notched 14½ sacks in 2000 after dipping to 2½ the previous season.

One priority Bates has stressed for Adams is expanding his repertoire of pass-rush moves. A more diversified approach might help improve on the six sacks he had last season.

"Coach Bates has been pulling me to the side and teaching me little things," Adams said. "He wants me to get a lot of details down right now."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris mum on Broncos QB Jay Cutler 04/01/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 2, 2009 6:40am]
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