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Tampa Bay Buccaneers had issues with effort against Houston Texans, coach Raheem Morris says

TAMPA — Evaluating the film of the Bucs' 37-9 loss to the Texans, coach Raheem Morris expected some players to earn poor performance grades. But he couldn't even hand out an E for effort.

Morris said Monday the Bucs had "some issues with effort'' from several players on defense, which yielded two long touchdown passes that resulted in the team's third straight loss and fourth in five games.

While continuing to take responsibility, Morris said the Bucs will practice in pads twice this week to prepare for Sunday's game at Green Bay in hopes of improving a lack of "physicality."

On Sunday's first play, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub hit receiver Jacoby Jones for an 80-yard touchdown, a play in which safeties Sean Jones and Tanard Jackson appeared to take bad angles, then missed tackles. Later in the first half, running back Arian Foster took a pass in the left flat, made cornerback Aqib Talib miss and avoided Sean Jones as he was chased to the end zone by Jackson for a 78-yard touchdown.

"On defense we had some issues with effort on some of the big plays, the two big plays," Morris said Monday. "That's something that is very uncommon. Some of it was because of injury or whatever the case may be, but you can't go out there and make excuses. You've got to play as hard as you possibly can at all times.

"We had a loaf. We had a couple loafs, uncharacteristic loafs we usually don't have … that popped up on those big plays and those are things that can't happen."

Morris, who doubles as defensive coordinator, watched his team yield 453 yards to the Saints two weeks ago and 420 yards to the Texans. The Bucs are allowing 6.39 yards per play. In the past 20 years, the only NFL defense that gave up more was the 2008 Lions at 6.41. Detroit was 0-16 that year.

One problem has been poor tackling, which Morris hopes to improve with two padded practices. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, NFL teams can only have 14 total padded practices during the regular season, 11 of which must be during the first 11 weeks.

"This week, and for the rest of the season, (we) can't be concerned about preservation so much and (instead) get our physicality better," Morris said. "The answer is putting on some pads. I got my mulligan this week, so I can put them on twice this week, and get as many as I can based on the rules to get these guys going. We've got to make plays in pads, both on offense and defense and special teams."

Quarterback Josh Freeman was intercepted three times, sacked four times and completed less than 50 percent of his passes against the Texans. His second half scoring toss to Preston Parker gave Freeman nine TD passes and 13 interceptions.

Morris said Freeman hasn't been helped by the poor play of his receivers.

"At the wide receiver position, we've got to compete a little bit more with those balls that are being thrown to us in the red zone in particular, and on third down, especially."

After Sunday's game, cornerback Ronde Barber, center Jeff Faine and tight end Kellen Winslow sat with Morris in Raymond James Stadium. They decided against a players' only meeting and only coaches addressed the team Monday.

Now, a visit to Green Bay to play the defending Super Bowl champion Packers.

"It's awesome," Morris said. "This is the best time for the Green Bay Packers, the best team in the National Football League on deck, ready to deal. I have a chance to go upstairs and rebound and make all you guys love me again next week."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers had issues with effort against Houston Texans, coach Raheem Morris says 11/14/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 14, 2011 11:37pm]

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