Bucs Central

Coach Quotes Wednesday: Raheem Morris

Today after practice Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris addressed the local media in attendance and touched on several different topics including the return of Micheal Spurlock the first every Buccaneer to return a  kick off for a touchdown. Morris also said injured receiver Michael Clayton returned to practice…on getting the football to Antonio Bryant more…whether or not the upcoming game against the Saints is a statement game.

(On practice)

“Good practice today. We’ve obviously got a great test with the New Orleans Saints coming up this week.”

(On if Michael Clayton practiced)
“He did. He was out at practice today. He looked to be back. We’ll have to see, let him progress through the week, see where he is, let him get to game day form.”

(On if a win against the Saints would change the public perception of the Bucs)
“I don’t know if one win can change any perception like that unless it’s the win, the Super Bowl win. So I’d have to say no to that question. For us, it’s like I said – I’ve talked about progress, I’ve talked about winning being a habit, I’ve talked about how it becomes contagious for guys around here, I’ve talked about how once you start to win that’s what people like to do. You start to get that feeling, that feeling we had in the locker room after the game on Sunday. The flight from Seattle was better, waking up the next morning was better, this week is not as miserable as you thought it could be because you won. It’s just everything. I can read nice articles for a change. It’s just unbelievable, it’s a different feeling. We just want to start that kind of winning tradition.”

(On the Saints being a big test for the defense)
“It’s definitely a test for the whole team. You’re talking about the New Orleans Saints, they’ve lost one game throughout this year so you’ve got to give credit to their whole football team. But whenever you’re going up against a Sean Payton-coached offense, it’s always a test of what you’re going to do. I remember when we were highly ranked on defense throughout the years and they’ve always come in here and put up an enormous amount of yards or go in there and they’ve put up an enormous amount of yards. The game is always dependent on, really, turnovers – who got more turnovers? Who could get the turnovers and who couldn’t? You’re going out here to play a team that’s highly-charged, high-impact. They’ve got a bunch of players who play for each other – you can see it on tape – and my guys are fired up. They want to go out there and play with the best so they’ve got an opportunity this weekend.”

(On Earnest Graham’s role)
“I don’t know if I can say any more positive things about Earnest that hasn’t been said. We talked about him earlier being unselfish; we talked about him earlier giving his carries away when he was a tailback to Cadillac and D-Ward in that first game. We talked about him moving to fullback when B.J. Askew went down. I’m talking about him splitting reps at fullback with [Chris] Pressley when asked to. I’m talking about him asking to go back on special teams and be a wingback, a personal protector, a kickoff guy, a punt return player, a kickoff return player, a lead blocker. Whatever you ask him to do. I think he was coaching the running back room the other day. He’s just one of those guys. I don’t know if you come across or get a chance to coach many guys like that, and we’re fortunate to have him.”

(On if he has gotten a full read on what he has in Derrick Ward)
“I think we knew what we had when we went out and got him. You’d like to see him have more production just like you would like to see the whole team have more production this year. You’d like to be able to see us follow our formula of success like we were able to do against Seattle more this year, and we haven’t been able to do that. Whether it’s falling behind early or whether it’s been the defense has fought or the offense has fought or the special teams has fought, you just haven’t had the opportunity to see that type of performance he gave us on Sunday. I know they only ended up with 60 yards apiece, but at that same time at the end of the day that’s 120 yards for you, and if one person did that you’d be ecstatic. It just so happens this weekend we had two people do it, and we were one breakout run away from one of those guys having one of those days, or both of them having one of those days. I think you know what you’ve got; I think we’ve just got to put ourselves in better position to be able to use what we have. That’s a credit to him and it’s also a knock on myself and it’s a knock on our coaches. We’ve got to be able to force that issue more. We’ve got to go out and force that issue and that’s on us.”

(On if he’s thought about giving Derrick Ward the first two series of the game)
“I don’t even know if that even comes up. Last week, Cadillac got the first two series but Derrick actually got more carries. He had the ability to get 19 carries and I don’t know how many Cadillac had but it was less. We’ve done that before, we gave him the first carries against the Giants. I don’t think either one of those two would have a problem deferring the first two series. Realistically, if you’re not coming out of the tunnel together it doesn’t really matter. They did that the first game of the season; they all came out together. It’s just what they’ve got to get back to, it’s where they’ve got to be. It’s dictating tempo and what you want it to be.”

(On Antonio Bryant getting the ball more)
“You know, I’m sure he wants the ball more and he should want the ball more. He’s that kind of guy we talk about, but he is not a complainer. He’s more of a practice guy. He’ll be a little vocal at practice at times and sometimes to his guys and he wants to be better. He set up a meeting last week with the o-line and the running backs and he wants those guys to be together. He’s that type of guy and we’re just hoping at one point that we can get max success out of him and max production out of him as well. I don’t know what he’s been saying if anything, but he’s been great around the building.”

(On Carnell Williams)
“You talk about being remarkable when he came back. You’re talking about a guy coming off two knee injuries in back to back years and now he’s had the privilege to make it through this whole year up until this point. We’re fired up about what happened with Cadillac. We’re fired up with what is going on with him and Cadillac is a guy we drafted right here in ’05 and he’s a guy we put on a high pedestal. We’re excited to have him. We’re fortunate to have him in the future as well.”

(On New Orleans)
“In this situation, you have to give Sean Payton more credit than actually what defense he plays, because he does the same thing to every defense. It really doesn’t matter. With the exception of maybe last week, I don’t know. He hadn’t been able to move the ball, but even when he loses they move the ball well. It’s just a matter of making great decisions by all of his players and all of his players on the football team. Whenever you’re talking about offense, you’re talking about Sean. You’re talking about a guy who can absolutely move the football. You’re talking about a guy that is going to come in here, well, we’re going to go there and he’s going to try to put up points. He was able to exploit some things we did. He’s been able to exploit some things in the old defense as well. We have to go out there and be at our best game and he’s always hit big plays on us and we’ve always had plays on him. Like I said, the winner of that duel and the winner of that battle has always been the team that’s won.”

(On Micheal Spurlock)
“We brought Spurlock in here the other day and we know Spurlock. He’s all-time, ran back the first one, right, the first kickoff for us in Buccaneer history. Right now we had Kareem Huggins, running back some kickoffs for us last week, did an adequate job. He’ll get his opportunities. I don’t know where the game is going to take us or how that plays out. A couple weeks ago we were probably the strongest return team in the league and now we’re down to Huggins and Spurlock, who we got back off the waiver wire. We’re fired up to be able to get those kinds of guys, those kinds of returners. Spurlock’s going to bring us everything he can. Spurlock has a little bit of recognition of what we’ve done. We can put some words together and stimulate what we can do on offense, so maybe he can help us out a little bit there too in a limited role. We’ll just have to go see, have to get him ready.”

(On offensive performance)
“It’s an offensive league. There’s no doubt about it. There’s no doubt in our mind that everybody knows that offense sells tickets and the league wants to be successful. We want to be the most successful we can be, so the league wants us to be an offensive league. Realistically, me too, just not on the days I’m playing and that’s where we are. So the better we can be on defense, it just gives more credit to the guys that have been around for a long amount of time. The Monte Kiffins, the Dick LaBeaus and those types of guys that have been in this league that have been able to have the type of success on defense year end and year out no matter what the trend is, no matter what the rules become. That just gives more credit to those type of people to me. It is what it is and defense is what it is and offense is what it is. The number one goal every day is to try to win.”

(On this being a statement game)
“There is no statement game. The only statement game is just one and this year it’s going to be in Miami. The rest of the 31 teams are going to be disappointed. They’re going to feel like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and that’s it. There’s nothing else to talk about. There’s no consolation prize. There’s no other bowl game that you can go play in. You can’t come out and feel like you should have had a chance to play for the National Championship. You didn’t, you lost, games over. 31 teams are sour.”

Courtesy of the Buccaneers Public Relations Department.

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