Bucs Central

Monday Coach Quotes: Raheem Morris

Morris addresses the media after his first regular season win as a head coach

Morris addresses the media after his first regular season win as a head coach

Head coach Raheem Morris addressed the media after the teams first victory of the ’09 season. He talked about the new dress code and how it might have reflected the image of a winner… talked about the team and gaining a little bit of swagger…the amount of plays made by the special teams…talked about the new-old uniforms and of course he talked glowingly of his rookie quarterback, Josh Freeman.

(Opening statement)
“You guys are happy today. It’s nice. Green Bay game, the recap, basically defensively positives and negatives starting with the positives. Six sacks, three interceptions, the effort and the coverage yesterday was really good. The negatives obviously the two long passes. We have to get more solid on my eight man fronts and be more consistent on each series, down in and down out. Offensively starting with the positives, the red zone, the two minutes, the composure, encouraging start when you talk about how the offense went out there yesterday with the new quarterback. The negatives, the slow starts, the third quarter, the beginning of the game, stuff we’ve been talking about, the fumbled snaps, obviously the negatives of yesterday for offense. Special teams, big play in every phase, big positive there. We have to get better not necessarily with special teams substitutions but getting on and off the field as far as not riding an emotional roller coaster on offense when you have to punt the ball, people walking off slow. Sometimes I like to speed punt; sometimes I like to do some different things. We have to have a better bounce on and off the field as far as substitutions. That’s something for me to correct. That’s something for all of us to correct, but a lot of fun yesterday. Offense, Cadillac [Williams], Josh [Freeman], Kellen [Winslow], Sammie [Stroughter], all those guys on special teams, you guys saw the blocked punt. Ronde Barber picking up the punt, running it back. You started to see the team become a team which is a really good thing. Ronde Barber gets beat for a touchdown then picks up a punt and gets his touchdown back. Elbert Mack gets beat for a touchdown then picks it off and sets up another score for himself. You started to see guys make plays. You give up a play here, you give up a play there, but you’re starting to see guys make plays and do things special and that’s always great. The atmosphere yesterday, Publix did a great job, our Pewter Partner with the t-shirts they provided for the game giveaway. We want to thank you for that and the fans yesterday; that was a real atmosphere. It wasn’t like when the N.Y. Giants came here. It wasn’t like when the Cowboys came here. That was Tampa fans. That was Tampa people. Green Bay started to get something going there when they were up by 11 and Tampa shut them out. That was really positive, that was fun, actually, standing up and silencing the crowd like that, that was good.”

(On the composure of Josh Freeman in his first start)
“I really wasn’t. I knew he would be composed. He missed a motion in the first play, on the first play of the game and all that stuff. It’s kind of a joke when it comes to missing motion because he always does it on his scout cards and Joe Barry kind of gives him, rides him a little bit, ‘Hey Josh, it’s a motion’ and kind of rattles him a little bit when he was doing that, but he missed a couple things early. The slide before he picks up the first down, so a lot of that’s nervous energy, a lot of that’s me grinding to his head and Coach Olson grinding to his head to play smart not to take any shots, unnecessary shots, take an unnecessary slide, but all those things. But all and all, the kid went out there, was composed. He handled the offense. He handled everything about the offense. He let Jeff Faine take care of him in protection, anything he needed to correct he corrected. He was able to go out there and point out the mikes. He was able to go out there and talk to his backs, communicate with his running backs and that was a big time situation and a big time environment with a lot of emotions riding the game and he was the same even keeled steady person that I’ve seen become and be in college and what I thought he could be.”

(On Freeman keeping his eyes downfield)
“That’s what quarterbacks do, big time quarterbacks do, they keep their eyes downfield. Even when they break the pocket, always looking for the big play, he threw some shots down the field scrambling to his left, scrambling to his right. Some of those things will be big plays soon and that would be real exciting, but it was a great start for him. It was just a good start for him, we have to keep building and keep growing and obviously patience is still going to be a virtue with him.”

(On the performance of Freeman)
“No, not really because it wasn’t that you had no intention on playing him. If it was the perfect situation, then you would have played him. If Byron Leftwich came out and we went 6-2, we probably wouldn’t have seen Josh Freeman this year. If Josh Johnson wasn’t there and won the next four games maybe you don’t see Josh Freeman this year. But you always have a plan, you always have a way about doing things and he sped up the process more than we did. So I wasn’t shocked to see him do it at all because I’ve seen him coming in here and studying. You have to give the kid credit for his preparation that he put into it without the reps. When he got the reps, he used them. He took advantage of them. His ability to come into the meeting room and be here at 6:00 with Greg Olson and meeting with some of those guys, what I told you the kid could be and what we thought the kid was going to be when he got here and that’s what he was when he was at Kansas State and I didn’t think it would change. He only got more encouraged and more motivated to do those things.”

(On Freeman’s benefit from his receivers play)
“The guys responded. They played well around. We talked about that earlier in the week. We said the guys have to play well around the quarterback. I believe the question was asked to me, really it doesn’t matter who’s at quarterback the guys around him have to play better and they did yesterday. You saw a Super Bowl catch by Sammie. You saw a nice grab by Kellen Winslow in the back of the end zone, made some nice catches on the seven cuts, saw Maurice Stovall make a couple nice catches on his digs and the daggers and the races. It was just a good feel. He threw some nice checkdowns to the back. We’d like to have some of those back and he dropped a couple balls out of the backfield, but I just felt the guys were, they responded around their quarterback, a young guy.”

(On what sparked this team)
“Orange maybe, no I don’t know. I didn’t feel anything different. I go into every game and I’m probably, I’m probably too confident, but I’m confident in all the situations we go into and I didn’t feel anything different yesterday. I just thought the guys were going to come in and get ready to play and the big difference was the quarterback and it was going to be Josh out there and that would be the big difference, but I’ve been feeling confident the whole season and all these guys have been and that’s just media talk, something to say.”

(On the effect of the new uniforms)
“I think it was a big effect. It definitely created some excitement about the game. You had more people talking about how they’re going to look, what they’re going to do, but for the most part everybody looked exactly the same. Everybody was together, everybody was on the same page and we went out there and we played and we played together and we played for that ’79 team and that was special. Having those guys in here in the building during the team snack Saturday night, they were awesome. They were great. They were encouraging. They have been through losing, talking about guys that lost 12 games in a row, I believe it was 12 at the time, talking about guys who, who worked their butts off and stayed together and won a championship in ’79 and they had the chance to come back and celebrate that with us in those orange uniforms and first to go out yesterday and win. Wish we could have ran back that kickoff so we can get that orange uniform kickoff runback off our back, that would have been pretty nice, but it was good.”

(On what was last night like)
“It just wasn’t a knot in my stomach. I do the same thing. I go home to see the family and I chill out and watch other people be miserable. So for me it’s the same thing, it’s nothing new. I mean I didn’t go out and throw a party and tear up Tampa or anything like that.”

(On congratulations phone calls)
“Yes you get that stuff. Everybody gives that to you, you don’t respond right away because you are having a conversation with everybody. You just text them in the middle of the night when you wake up. Derrick Brooks some of the guys you know, Warren Sapp. Now I took Sapp’s phone call because if I don’t take his phone call he’ll yell at me. Mike Tomlin told me that he was a young coach and he remembers when he was a young coach and he first cut his teeth into this business, getting his first win. Everybody called; it was special getting the first win. It was good to get the first win. A bunch of really congratulatory texts because everybody know I don’t answer the phone. Got all the texts, responded to them all this morning about 4:00 in the morning because I actually went to sleep a little early yesterday so I guess that would be different.”

(On keeping your guys at the same level and not getting too high)
“I don’t think we can. We are 1-7. We’re not competing for the NFC Championship Game yet. Maybe these guys, they have to come in this week and they have to grow like they did the week before. Hard work paid off, how hard they practiced last week in the pads paid off. We talked about that last week a little bit on having a sharp practice, two sharp practices on Thursday and Friday last week paid off. The bye week practices paid off. We went out there and that was good on good competitive work and those guys going out there for the short amount of time they went out there. It was competitive work, that’s what you want.”

(On the importance of this win)
“We started it right. When we came out we said we have nine games here after the bye week, new season, nine games. This league is competitive and everybody wants to be in it and the only way you stay in it is if you play well, so all the guys in my locker room they’re so young they’re all fighting for their jobs, everybody. All of us, coaches, players, myself, we know that so there is no quit. We don’t have a veteran led team. We don’t have a bunch of guys who can shut it down and say I’ll be back next year because my contract says this. We just don’t have that so it was never a problem and these guys want to win and they want to win for each other. They want to win for our coaches, they want to win for us, they want to win for this organization, they want to win for these fans and yesterday was a great example of it.”

(On the dress code)
“It’s the little things you can take away from these guys. You can make them come to the game, look the right way, makes them look like winners. Maybe yesterday’s dress code changed everything. You get them all in there, Josh [Freeman] looked great in a suit. A couple of guys came in with suits; a couple of guys came in with slacks and shirts. It was a presence yesterday. You look good, you feel good, you play good. Maybe it had something to do with it.”

(On the players learning to act like professionals)
“There are only 32 teams. There are only 32 players at each position. It’s special what we do, so we come to the game, we walk around at the game, we want to look special.”

(On how he feels about players saying they specifically wanted to win for him)
“They just tell you guys that so you guys have something to write about. These guys want to win. They love football, there’s no doubt about it. I have a great relationship with a lot of these guys. I think we get a lot of criticism because my players call me ‘Ra.’ I don’t let them call me ‘Coach Ra.’ I don’t like ‘Coach Ra.’ I like to be called ‘Ra’ or ‘Raheem’ or ‘Coach’ or whatever. It’s kind of funny. I’ve got a bond with everybody. I’ve got a sense of passion for all of them. They know that and I know that. We’ve all got the same goals, we’ve got the same objective and we want to be in the same place. The bottom line is a long-term winning program here, and that’s what they want. So whether it’s for me or whether for themselves or their players, their coaches, whatever, it doesn’t matter. Let’s go to the same place.”

(On the players staying in his camp during the losses)
“We believe we’re doing the right things around here. I think they do, too. I know they do because they told you, so that’s good.”

(On if getting the first win takes some pressure off)
“No. No pressure’s off. The only thing that comes off is that knot that sits in your stomach after losses. This week we don’t have it. It’s really good. It’s fun. This week will be a little more fun in the building, around practice, a lot more fun Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. All that stuff gets a little bit better, all that stuff gets a little bit more fun, all that stuff gets a little more exciting. But the pressure of what we do, it is what it is. That’s the nature of the beast in this business. There are 16 straight weeks where you are right in the middle of it. Here you go.”

(On how he’s grown as a coach during the season)
“That’s a hard one. I don’t know. That’s a good question. I learn something every day, like I tell you. I write something different down every day on what I do, how I do it, how I plan. I’m having fun with it. This is a great job. This job is built for men that are ready to deal with pressure and I think I’m ready to do that. I’ve done that my whole life. That’s who I am. Just growing and learning every day from people around me, listening and learning and leaning on people and getting different advice from people and making it myself and formulating who I’m going to be and what determines how we do. It has been awesome. I’m growing every day, I just don’t know how much I’m growing because it’s me. You’ll have to ask somebody else about that.”

(On if he needs to get more out of his kicking situation)
“We missed one but we also made one yesterday. And we actually had a touchback. That was really good. The kickoffs got better, we made a field goal yesterday which we hadn’t done, making only three. We made the other two before. That was encouraging. We had a big play on every phase of special teams, whether it was a touchback or a kickoff return or a blocked punt or making a field goal. However you want to word it, it got better. We’ll get a chance to see more. That stuff is done on the practice field and it can be done in the games.”

(On why he made changes like stopping practice music)
“For me, it was more my little punishment. The music can come back, you can go to work in jeans and a nice shirt, and you’re still the same person. But for me, it’s more of a punishment. People might want their jeans back. People might want their music back. So in order to do that, we’ve got to do some winning. We’ve got to turn some things around. We’ve got to pay more attention to some details. That was my thought process on some of those, just tighten up the screws a little bit and get these guys to tighten the screws a little bit. Let these guys know, ‘Hey, this is how we’re tightening it up, and here’s the message.’ And they get it. They get it.”

(On Elbert Mack saying the team needed more swagger)
“It has a lot to do with everything. That’s the composure, the confidence as people walking into the game. Swagger is the popular term right now; Jay-Z made it that way. But that’s all a part of it. Your confidence, going into a game, dealing with the game, walking to practice, coming to practice. Elbert Mack might be talking about himself a little bit. He lost a little confidence in Elbert Mack, he lost a little confidence in himself and how he plays. Yesterday was a prime example. He gave up a touchdown and came right back and got a pick. That’s how you’ve got to be. Everything’s got to be gray matter. You’ve got to bounce back for your team, and that’s what he’s talking about.”

Courtesy of the Buccaneers Public Relations Department

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