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Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris responds to critique of his leadership

TAMPA — After his Friday news conference, Bucs coach Raheem Morris scoffed at an NFL.com column by Mike Lombardi that said the team lacked leadership and accountability.

After a 3-1 start, the Bucs have lost four of their past five heading into Sunday's road game against the defending Super Bowl champion Packers.

Lombardi said Morris has "been making excuses for them all season."

"Being inconsistent happens," Lombardi wrote. "It happens because there is not a high level of competition at practice, bad practices are tolerated and there is no attention to detail. And all this occurs because no one is accountable."

Morris was not specifically asked about Lombardi's column during his news conference, but he responded to it anyway.

"Here's the deal," Morris said. "When we were young kids, right? I went to school, I was 6 years old, 7 years old. And this guy saw my grandmother and said my grandmother ran like a bulldog. And I beat the heck out of him. I beat the heck out of him. I went home and my mom was so disappointed that I beat the heck out of him. She said: 'Don't worry. It doesn't matter what people say about you. It doesn't matter what people say about your family.' So I learned that lesson a long time ago not to get upset with clowns that don't really know what they're talking about that have something to say. So we've moved on. I learned that lesson. I don't have to react to that kind of stuff."

JACKSON on Mend: S Tanard Jackson returned to practice Friday on a limited basis and did some jogging, but that doesn't mean his left hamstring strain will allow him to run with Packers receivers.

Jackson said whether he plays Sunday will depend on how he feels after warmups at chilly Lambeau Field.

"Yeah, it'll be a game-day decision, that's what it's looking like right now," Jackson said. "We've still got a few days to rest and see how it feels.

"It was bothering me when I was in the game (against the Texans). It's really the first time I've ever had to leave a game because of an injury, so this is something new to me."

Jackson, who missed 56 games while serving a suspension, had an interception in each of his first two games this season. But he suffered the hamstring strain returning a pick against the Bears in London Oct. 23.

Jackson started Sunday against the Texans but clearly struggled on plays that resulted in two long touchdown passes.

"Tanard went out there and moved a little bit," Morris said. "We've still got to see, though. We'll see on Sunday. We'll get him on the grass and let him run around a little bit. We'll see how he is. (Saturday) is a walk-through, so that won't mean much."

REUNITED: CB E.J. Biggers will likely have a face-to-face meeting with an old friend Sunday.

Packers WR Greg Jennings hosted Biggers' campus visit to Western Michigan during his senior year in high school. The pair hit it off and remain friends today.

"That was the reason I went there, because of Greg," Biggers said. "He told me that if I wanted to play right away, that was the spot for me. They needed (defensive backs) right then, especially corners. He told me I was their No. 1 recruit. Just from chilling with him and watching his highlights was crazy. I didn't know about him until I got there. When I did get there, we were really close."

Regarding their practice matchups, Biggers said: "Well, I always thought I was winning — until he caught the ball. He's so smooth. You'll think you're getting an interception but he'll break the pass up or make the catch some kind of way. Just watching him my whole freshman year, I can say I'd never seen anything like that.

"I talk to him to this day. He always tells me how proud he is of me. Hearing it from a guy like that, an all-pro, is great, man."

Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris responds to critique of his leadership 11/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 18, 2011 10:13pm]
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