Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris says he was trying to motivate players with 'NFC's best' comment

TAMPA — Though coach Raheem Morris' claim Sunday that the Bucs are the "best team in the NFC" drew plenty of headlines, he said the statement was misunderstood. He was just trying to motivate his team.

"I think everybody took it the wrong way," Morris said Thursday. "I think everybody took it as me bragging. That was not bragging. That's a mentality we set up for these guys."

Morris remembers when former Bucs assistant and current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin used to tell him that some team had to be No. 1 at the end of the year and "Why not us?" That's the idea he wants his Bucs to embrace, considering they're 4-2 and a half-game behind the Falcons (5-2) in the NFC South.

"It's like it is with your kids. When you send them out into the world or to do whatever it is they're going to do in this competition in sports or in school or whatever, you tell them to go be their best," Morris said. "And that's what I'm telling my guys. I tell them there's no reason we can't be the best. It's always a mentality before it's a reality, and we're setting our mentality up to be the very best."

MEDICAL MATTERS: The good news for the Bucs is that CB Aqib Talib (calf) returned to full participation at practice. But T Jeremy Trueblood (knee), G Keydrick Vincent (back) and LB Geno Hayes (knee) missed practice. Hayes' injury appears to be relatively minor; Morris said it's lingering swelling. But Trueblood and Vincent could miss Sunday's game against the Cardinals.

Morris said it's possible another linemen could be promoted from the practice squad if depth is needed. He praised rookie G Ted Larsen, a Palm Harbor University product, for how he fared in his first NFL start Sunday, despite picking up two penalties.

"He went out there, played tough, played physical, showed us all the attributes he showed in practice," Morris said. "He had a few mistakes, very correctable mistakes."

TOUGH TASK: Though Talib has been beaten for some touchdowns this season, Cardinals star WR Larry Fitzgerald says he considers the cornerback a formidable foe. Talib will likely get his share of matchups with the four-time Pro Bowler on Sunday.

"If you think about the touchdowns (Talib has) given up, they've been mostly in the zone (coverage)," Fitzgerald said. "He does a fantastic job. He's got unbelievable feet. He's got great makeup ability. He plays the ball tremendously well. … The more I watch him, the more impressed I am with his physical gifts."

PENN PRAISE: Morris said he has been impressed with how LT Donald Penn has performed. "He's been playing really well," Morris said. "He's playing with a nasty demeanor, playing tough, playing physical, he's doing all the things we've asked him to do, protecting well. … He's been what we've expected of him, and more."

HEAT WAVE: The Bucs had a more physical practice, wearing shoulder pads, and the temperature in the 90s didn't help. Several players felt the effects afterward.

"I thought it was October and it was going to cool off," Morris said. "Everyone is cutting up pumpkins. Tampa will fool you. Tampa brought back July on us, and we were right in the middle of training camp."

MISCELLANY: The Bucs donated $50,000 to Faces of Courage, a nonprofit organization that provides life-enriching experiences to children, women and families touched by cancer and-or blood disorders. CB Ronde Barber and LB Adam Hayward presented a check after practice.

Joe Smith can be reached at

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris says he was trying to motivate players with 'NFC's best' comment 10/28/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 8:28am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tiki Barber will join his brother, Ronde, on Fox broadcast for Bucs-Giants


    FOX announced Monday night that former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber will have a familiar face joining him as a guest analyst for the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants game in Tampa: his twin brother Tiki, who will join …

    Tiki Barber, right, will join his brother, Ronde, left, as a guest analyst on the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants broadcast on FOX. [Times files (2006)]
  2. Cannons will fire again when Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium


    As good as the Bucs looked in their season-opening 29-7 win against the Bears on Sunday, fans couldn't help but notice that the success didn't sound the same at Raymond James Stadium.

     Ron Gutschmidt is perched on top of the Buccaneer pirate ship ready to activate the ship's cannons with the press of a button after a Buccaneer touchdown. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  3. Rick and Tom podcast: How should Joe Maddon be remembered tonight?

    The Heater

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014 in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast. They discuss the mixed emotions …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014. [Getty Images]
  4. Cubs bring some other ex-Rays to Trop such as Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist


    Joe Maddon's first trip back to the Trop is getting most of the headlines tonight, but there are several other familiar faces among the eight former Rays now wearing Cubs uniforms.

    Two-time Rays MVP Ben Zobrist is finishing strong after a slow start to his second season in Chicago.
  5. Oleg Sosunov brings intrigue to Lightning exhibition opener


    When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked he thought the 6-foot-8 Russian would hit the ceiling of Amalie Arena.

    Oleg Sosunov's ability to skate for his size, his reach, and his style have drawn comparisons to Zdeno Chara.