Make us your home page
Instagram

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 Bucs coach Raheem Morris' future seems shakier than ever

Raheem Morris presides over another bad loss, to another team with a backup quarterback, in another empty stadium.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Raheem Morris presides over another bad loss, to another team with a backup quarterback, in another empty stadium.

TAMPA

The apathy is rising. The stadium is empty. The misery is growing.

And so Raheem Morris leaves the field in the usual way, quickly and grimly. He is at a full trot as he hits the tunnel, as if he is trying to get away from the carnage as fast as the ticket-buyers. His chin is high, and his lips are tight and, once again, his team is beaten.

Once again, Morris' team has lost, and once again, watching it perform has been something like ocular torture. Thirteen games, 12 losses for the Bucs, and this one might have been the worst of them all. It is like watching a franchise scrape the bottom of the barrel as it sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

Can Morris survive this ineptitude?

Should Morris survive this ineptitude?

With every defeat, the question seems more reasonable. With every empty seat, with every unsuccessful drive, with every step the Bucs take toward a possible 1-15 season, it becomes easier to wonder about the future of the franchise, and the future of its head coach, and whether those two are necessarily intertwined.

Put it this way: If NFL coaches were politicians who had to run for their offices, would you vote for Morris in 2010?

Answer: Unless he ran more successfully than his Bucs, probably not.

Certainly, Sunday's 26-3 clobbering at the hands of the New York Jets wasn't a good argument for Morris. The Jets were a .500 team, and they were playing with a cadaver at quarterback, and the Bucs were at home. And you got the feeling that if the teams had played until New Year's, the Bucs wouldn't have scored a touchdown.

At some point, don't you have to ask if some of that is coaching?

I know, I know. Morris has had only 13 games in his job, and the franchise stripped itself of veterans, and his quarterback is a rookie, and the team mistakenly hired Phineas and Ferb as his coordinators, and the problems around here didn't start with his tenure. I get all of that. And frankly, I like Morris as much as anyone.

However, the question here isn't about fairness to Morris. It's about the future of the team. And what, exactly, have you seen that suggests that Morris is the coach to lead the team out of this muck?

Around here, the problems still outweigh the progress. Take the offense. Isn't the offensive line supposed to be better than this? Aren't the backs fairly competent? Aren't Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow fairly respected receivers?

Why then have the Bucs been held without a touchdown the last two weeks?

And when, exactly, did Josh Freeman turn into Byron Leftwich?

It is true the defense has played better since Morris assumed the defensive coordinator's duties. Of course, part of that success might be that the Bucs have played (and lost to) the likes of New York's Kellen Clemens, Carolina's Matt Moore, Miami's Chad Henne and Atlanta's Chris Redman. You know, the future UFL all-stars.

Ask yourself: Did Game 13 look any better to you than Game 1? Was the loss to the Jets any less one-sided than the loss to the Giants? Has there been improvement, and has there been enough?

While you are sorting through those questions, here's another. How bad was Friday's practice?

In the Bucs' latest loss, that might have been the most bizarre statement of them all. Morris was two sentences into his post-game comments, and the questions had not yet begun, and he started talking about how flat Friday's practice was.

Huh?

"Those are the results you get when you don't practice hard every day," Morris said. "I don't think it was a discipline issue with the flat practice. I think it was a get-going issue. It was hard to get going that day. It was a little gloomy. We have to get better in Friday practices."

Here's a question: How much of Don Shula's success was because his team practiced like maniacs during its TGIF scrimmages? Hey, if Friday's practices were that important, the NFL would put them on pay per view. Maybe just before Ugly Betty. (Ugly Buccie?)

So what happens from here?

Can Morris survive 1-15? Considering the dwindling ticket sales, the Glazers may have no choice but to make a coaching change for someone with more pages in his resume. And it's hard to suggest a guy should get a second season if he can't get a second victory.

How about 2-14? Or 3-13? What does Morris have to do to merit a sequel? Or did the Glazers decide on a multiyear term when Morris was hired?

"When I start worrying about that, I probably shouldn't be in this position," Morris said. "That's not what we do. That's not our job. As position coach, head coach, you go out there and do your job every day and let people tell you what you're going to do at the end of the season. That's not my concern."

No, it isn't. Getting his team ready for Friday is.

Oh, and eventually, Sunday.

Tampa Bay Bucs coach Raheem Morris' future seems shakier than ever 12/13/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 13, 2009 10:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  2. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot

    Blogs

    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.
  3. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  4. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018

    Blogs

    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. Buccaneers-Vikings Scouting Report: Watching Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen

    Bucs

    No matter how much film we study, no matter how much data we parse, we just don't know how an NFL season will unfold.

    Four of tight end Kyle Rudolph's seven catches this season have come on third down, including this 15-yard touchdown in the Vikings' opener against the Saints. [Getty Images]