Bucs Central

Coach Quotes Thursday: Raheem Morris

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris addressed the media following practice today. He discussed such things as, if he was satisfied with receiver Michael Clayton being just a blocker…whether or not Antonio Bryant can still be a go-to receiver…the performance of the 2009 draft class…whether or not the improvement of the team is for real and what it would mean if the team finished the season on a strong note with a  record of 3-1..

(on Jeff Faine having a different injury than last week)

“Faine is just sore. It’s 16 weeks of injuries.”

(on how much it would mean to go 3-1 in the fourth quarter of the season)
“It would be at least one really positive goal accomplished. We talked about finishing strong, we talked about finishing strong right from the beginning, finding ways to do it and finding out how to get stronger throughout the season. That would be one big positive thing that can be accomplished. It’s for this team, it’s for us, it’s for the new year, it’s for what you’re going to do when you come into this thing and how you’re going to attack your offseason and how you’re going to attack everything that you’re trying to progress to. It’s really positive, a really good note.”

(on if he asked the team if their improvement was for real)
“You ask them, but that’s not a response that’s given verbally. That’s a response that’s just shown. That’s a response that has to go out there and do it every week, week-in and week-out. You present the challenge. You present it to them, you present the information to them and ride that with them. The only way you can answer those questions is you’ve just got to go out there and do it. The tape has to say it.”

(on if the Bucs are satisfied with WR Michael Clayton being primarily a blocker)
“No, you want him to be a complete wideout. That’s something you want all your wideouts to be. You want him to go out there and you want him to be productive, you want him to have all the success, you want him to be healthy all year – you want him to go through all those issues. This year, I don’t know if we had a healthy wideout make it all the way to the end. We started off the year with Clayton and A.B. [Antonio Bryant] and Sammie [Stroughter] and a lot of those guys took a lot of time out. We’ve got to find a way to make it through the season, we’ve got to find a way to deal with the long haul, we’ve got to find a way to deal with that, we’ve got to find a way to get better. Maybe that’s part of the stuff you’ve got to deal with in the offseason, part of us as a team and us as a structure.”

(on the performance of the 2009 draft class)
“They say the second year is always the tell-tale year for a draft class, that’s when they make the most improvement or the biggest jumps. But for the most part, you’d have to say it was pretty productive. You talk about Josh Freeman coming in, becoming your starter. Really, we weren’t trying to force him into the plans. Really, we were trying to make him learn for a year and next year let you guys judge him, but he forced his will on his opponent. His opponent was everybody he was playing against and all the coaches and the organization and everybody else. He forced his way into the starting lineup and really had an opportunity to go 3-5 as a starter. That’s not all bad. You get him out there, you let him play, you let him go and you let him go as hard as you can. You’ve got to feel good about that. Then you’re talking about Roy Miller, who’s really been a starter, really most of the year. You’re talking about the guy that comes in as the third tackle and gets 40 snaps per game or whatever the case may be that week. He’s fought his way through, played pretty well, played good at times, played bad at times, had his ups and downs but been a contributor. Whenever you’re talking about rookies contributing you’ve got to make that a positive note. Next year will obviously be the tell-tale of where he is and who he is. Then you keep going down the line and you talk about Kyle Moore. You’re talking about a guy who came in with a little bit of an injury bug, fought through it, fought his way through it. He fought through the growing pains of coming from USC and being at the big-time school out there and coming here. Then having to fight through the pains of that and work his way onto the field, working his way up to 46 snaps last week. So you’ve got to be proud of what that guy’s been able to do. We’ve been talking about Sammie all year, what he’s been able to do coming in as a seventh-round draft pick. A couple guys went out on I.R. but were showing signs before they actually went down. Then you’ve got to add the guys that you had no idea about either. You’ve got to add the [Demar] Dotsons, those types of people, the Marc Diles, people you’re proud of that made your football team and have been able to contribute throughout the year. They’ve been up, they’ve been down, back and forth, talking about rookies, talking about second-year players, talking about all those types of guys. I feel really good about that class.”

(on if he got confidence from sticking with the run last week)
“I don’t know if it’s confidence for me. I think it’s more confidence for the team. When it’s your game plan it’s easy to have confidence in it because you feel like you know. But it’s just confidence for the team. It’s confidence for the belief. You talk about change, changes you can believe in, and that was one of them. You talk about running the football even though you’re down 17-3. You talk about being able to do that and the mental toughness to do that, the mental grind to do that. It’s tough. But now you’ve got the wheels turning over there on other people’s defense. They’re not sure what you’re going to do. You don’t become one-dimensional, you don’t put a lot on that kid’s shoulders or those wideouts. You just go out there and play your natural game plan and the defense steps up and they play better because of it and you get a win out of it. So you provide confidence throughout your building, throughout the community, throughout the organization, throughout everything.”

(on if Antonio Bryant can still be the go-to guy)
“I don’t know if there’s necessarily a go-to guy. Every year there’s a guy that gets hot, especially around here. Joey [Galloway] was the go-to guy. Last year actually it was supposed to be Joey, really, and it wasn’t. It ended up being A.B. You go into every season and people are going to do different things. People work through injury bugs, people fight through whatever the case may be. It seems like year to year around here, or year to year anywhere, the focal point of that guy changes. You’ve got a very special guy some places and that happens. They’re able to maintain throughout a bunch of years and they’re able to carry that legacy of being that guy. So you’ve got to earn those stripes every year and you’ve got to go out on the football field and prove that. Nothing else is going to do that for you. It doesn’t matter what I decide to do, whether I give you the quote-unquote Randy Moss rules and you get the ball 30 games. It really doesn’t matter if you’re not healthy, it really doesn’t matter if you’re not able to practice, it really doesn’t matter if you’re not able to go out there and produce like you need to, and it really doesn’t matter if everybody’s triple-teaming you or taking you out of the game plan. Whatever the case may be. For me, it’s just about coming to work, going out and doing what you can do and being your very best self. If you can do that, we’ll go out and figure out what to do as far as bringing him back. I know he would like to be, as I was told and as I heard, and we would like to have him. We’re talking about a guy that’s been around here and has been, for the most part, a pretty good productive player for us.”

(on if the NFL feels empty when you’re not in the playoffs)
“That’s what you play for. If you’re not playing to go to the tournament than I don’t know what you’re doing it for. The only thing you play for and the only thing you coach for is an opportunity to win that ring. You’ve got one as an assistant coach, now you want one as a head coach, and all these players want one. I don’t know how many players in the building still have that ring or still know what it looks like for that matter. You’ve got to try to get back every year. That’s the whole goal. The Pittsburgh Steelers won one last year and I bet you they don’t feel like they won it because they want to go back and have an opportunity to win again. It’s that type of drive that makes the NFL special every single year. That’s more a credit to the NFL than a credit to the Buccaneers. That’s just where you want to go, where everybody wants to go and what we all want to do. If you’re not trying to do that, then I’m not sure why you’re doing it.”

Courtesy of the Buccaneers Public Relations Department.

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