Posted in General News

Monday Quotes: Raheem Morris

by Roland Johnson on August 24, 2009

HEAD COACH RAHEEM MORRIS

(On injured players)
“[Angelo] Crowell tore his biceps. He more than likely will be out for the season; he’ll be done. We’ve got the decision on what’s going to happen with that here a little bit later, but he won’t be playing for us this year. Kareem Huggins has a knee issue. He’ll be a couple weeks; [it's] hyperextended. No torn damage or anything like that, just a hyperextended knee. It hurts really bad. We’ve got to get that checked out. Elbert Mack had an ankle sprain [but it's] a lot better than it looked. With it being a short week it might be tough for him to make it back this week. If we were playing on Saturday, he would be able to go, I think. [Jarriett] Buie – small sprain. He might miss a couple days of practice but I think he’ll be ready to go. I’ll have to check on that as we get a little closer to the game. Michael Clayton, he was good, he just felt something last night and came out. He might miss practice, he might miss this week, but he’ll be fine. He’s okay. He actually woke up this morning and felt pretty good. Matt Bryant’s still out. I don’t have an update on him yet. Maybe I can get some information on him via Matt Bryant when I see him in person. Antonio [Bryant], he’s doing well, coming along great after surgery. He’s right on schedule; everything’s going according to plan there. Dexter Jackson had the ankle sprain – not sure yet, got to check it out. I wouldn’t plan on him for this week. I’m not sure yet. Matt McCoy irritated his ankle a little bit last night. We’ll check on that as he goes through the week. He may miss some practice time but I’ll have to check. Flip, Jermaine Phillips – just limited this week. He’ll practice and he’ll be ready to go in the game. I’m just going to limit his contact during the week to get him ready for that. He’s actually doing a lot better. [Jeff] Faine’s going to be back this week. Earnest Graham will be back. [John] Gilmore will be day-to-day. Donte Nicholson, he’s getting better every time we rest him. He should be ready for the game. [Jason] Pociask is sore; he’ll practice and play. Will Allen should be back, Kelly Campbell should be back, Niko Koutouvides should practice and he should be fine, and Kyle Moore will just be sore but he’s okay.”

(On Saturday’s game)
“After looking at it, I’m really pleased with what happened on third down. I’m really pleased with the running game and the backs and their production, and the O-Line trying to do what we want them to do. You can see they’re thinking about it. You can see a little more slow reactions to thinking about, rather than just going out and doing it, and that’s going to be the emphasis for this week. But they were a lot better. Offense, the quarterbacks really played well. Both of them were productive. Both of them came out and led the team really well. The young guys came in and did a good job, especially Josh [Freeman] had a big one last night. Josh Johnson had some tough situations when he got in, a couple backed-up deals. He had a chance in there on one of his drives and didn’t capitalize, but they played well. And on defense we flew around again. I talked about two big plays we gave up that you’d like to eliminate, both on the same guy so he’s got to clean that up. He’ll be fine, Sabby [Piscitelli]. He actually went through it last night, went through it in his head, so he’ll be fine and ready to go.”

(On who will start at quarterback)
“We’ve still got to meet and evaluate on that stuff today. We’ll figure it out after we have our meetings up here, our quarterback discussion, our evaluations, go through it, myself, Mark [Dominik], Olie [Greg Olson], Jago [Jeff Jagodzinski]. We’ll get together – Doug Williams, Dennis [Hickey], – and we’ll figure it out.”

(On if the decision was made tougher by all the quarterbacks playing well on Saturday)
“You know the decision was tough from the beginning. Like we talked about early in the OTA days, Josh Freeman decided he wanted to play. He wanted to be a part of the competition. So that made it tough. You saw Josh Johnson, last weekend, at the end of training camp, say, ‘I want to play, too.’ You’ve seen [Byron] Leftwich come in and say he wanted to play. Then last night, Luke [McCown] when he got in the game, ol’ Luke woke up and said, ‘Hey, don’t forget about me.’ So the decision was tough all along. With guys playing better like that, you love that. That’s what you wanted. That’s the competition we’re getting, so that’s great.”

(On if he expects to make the decision on Monday)
“You are not going to lock me down to a date. We’re going to prepare them all like they’re starters right now. We’ll make it. I’ll let you know.”

(On if it could be extended to Thursday night)
“You know, that might be a thought. That might be brought up in the next meeting. I don’t want to say that right now because I haven’t talked to the guys about it, but that might be a thought. It may be extended, it may go to overtime. That’s a good thing, too. Initially you set a deadline but deadlines are always set to be broken, so I might break it on you. Throw a curveball at you.”

(On if Quincy Black is the starting strongside linebacker)
“I guess you would have to say yes based on the fact that he’s been out there starting every game. He’s been doing a good job, really pleased with the way he’s going, really pleased with what he’s doing. But he’s still being pushed by [Adam] Hayward, he’s still being pushed by Geno [Hayes]. With the situation going at secondary, you prepare yourself. We could have some Jermaine Phillips sightings back there, like we talked about last week. I don’t know how much. We’ve got to talk to Jermaine a little bit, sit down with my defensive coaches a little bit. But all of those guys are playing well but that’s a positive sign, having different mixtures and different players out there. So we’re just going to go out and evaluate all of those guys. But Quincy Black is doing a great job of playing linebacker and you’ve got to say right now, for the last two weeks he’s been the starter at Sam linebacker.”

(On the third down defense)
“That was great. 44 percent for the offense isn’t bad. Especially with some of the situations we had. I think a couple of them were third and sixteens and of that nature. We had some big of calls by Jagodzinski I thought and our offensive staff when they called some of the runs on some of the third down and shorts. They made some big time crucial key decisions. We had already made up in our mind what we wanted to do what we wanted it to look like. Who’s going to give us an opportunity to have success? So some of those calls and some of those runs were pretty dynamic. [Kareem] Huggins had a big one. B.J. Askew made a real big one. I believe he made another one down the stretch with B.J. that got called back for a holding, but some of those play calls were really good. Some of those strengths on third down really helped us. We had those extra periods we talked about last week that you guys had a chance to see. I think it helped out our team. I think that helped out our third down stats and how to play for the sticks and how to get it. Third defense they came out, they really stood up, they held up. When it came to third down they won and that was the key. Too much success on the first down but when they did get to third down they won. That’s a big credit to our defense. That’s a big credit to our defensive staff. Big time splash plays, you see Jermaine Phillips come up in an old school Tampa-2, we still run that. Make a nice saw down tackle in the open grass to get Maurice Jones-Drew on the ground, big time play. That’s a hard guy to get on the ground. I’m sure you guys know. It was big time all around on third down.”

(On the batted down balls)
“We talked about it in our staff meeting with the d-line. I just gave them credit. I felt the pressure last night. I felt the batted down passes. I just felt the presence of the people getting in the backfield. Questionable sack fumbles, little bit of everything, so you feel that kind of pressure. Once you put it all together you should feel good about it. You should feel excited. That’s strides man, that’s strides. That was kind of the question we had last week. What are you going to do to create pressure? Last night was a pretty good example of what you are going to do. We are going to bring people; those guys are going to rush better. We’re going to have different packages. We want to be fresh. We want to be fast and we certainly got young. You see Kyle Moore get in on the action. It was exciting to see him make some splash plays. Exciting to see Gaines Adams get off the ball a couple times and use some power rush moves. I don’t know who got that sack at the beginning. I think it was Gaines, [Chris] Hovan and Ryan Sims all came at the same time and when they’re racing to sacks it’s always a great thing. When you have people around whichever way the quarterback falls, they give them the sack. You like that, that’s positive.”

(On who the backup quarterback will be)
“We said there are no givens. There is going to be a first guy picked, a second guy picked and the third guy picked. With the way they are playing, at one time I said I wasn’t going to keep four quarterbacks and I don’t know if that’s even true anymore. So we have to go back and look at it, we have to evaluate everything and look at the three best people. They probably want to pick the three best people and we’ll probably do that too. I’m not saying that I am, but you don’t know. You have to pick them all. You have to pick first, second and third. We can’t go around and just say that’s it’s given that you lost the job out of the top two older guys. The younger guys played well, both of them. I’m going to give them an opportunity as well. We talked about second and third, that could go all the way through Miami or Houston. Just all the preseason games, so we have to see that.”

(On Josh Freeman’s development)
“He could. But the thing we do around here that our quarterback coach does a great job of getting those guys out there simulating game like procedures wherever they’re playing for the second crew or not. It’s a fair statement for you to say he can develop faster if he is number two. I’m glad you asked this question. It means you like Josh Freeman. That means you guys see things that you like as well, so that’s positive questions you’re asking me. I’m not going to sit there and tell you that Josh isn’t going to be number two. Let these guys go out and play their role.”

(On Sammie Stroughter)
“Actually we talked about it a little bit this morning. Sammie is in that competition for the third wideout spot, that slot receiver, the zebra man, whatever you want to call it. He’s right in the mix with Brian Clark, Cortez Hankton and [Maurice] Stovall. Last night Maurice Stovall had a pretty good game, decent game. Sammie had a pretty good game. Brian Clark had an okay game. He had one drop there. Those guys are all in the competition too. It’s kind of the same type of deal. One of those guys has to step outside the box and they have to get the same opportunities with Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton being out a little bit, so we’re getting a real feel for those wideouts. Who’s going to be that first and it may be both. We may have a mixture. We may have two types of zebra, maybe an Oregon State zebra and a Brian Clark zebra, whatever the case may be or a Notre Dame zebra. They have all been productive. Whoever wins that job obviously being a zebra, your fourth guy you’d like him to be a special teams contributor, which Brian Clark, Maurice Stovall and Sammie Stroughter all are and Cortez Hankton for that matter. It’s a good situation for whoever wins the battle. It’s the guys that know their role and can play special teams for you and contribute on the football team.”

(On what he has learned about the team)
“Last night I really enjoyed seeing our mental toughness. You come out and even in the past we’ve been a pretty mentally tough team. You see a big 76-yard hit like that on the first play on the game even the first drive of the game. I felt us come out on offense. I’m not sure if it was the first or second drive but we had production. We picked a big third down and sixteen. We moved the ball down, changed the field position, got the ball back, and created a field goal. Got the ball back again, changed field position. They punted the ball again. They might have come down and scored, made if 14-3, nobody blinked. We returned a kickoff, went in and scored a strike, put us down by three, got the ability to get the ball back again and go strike again and got the lead back before halftime. To me that was big time mental toughness. That was big time team play and you’ve seen it from all across the board. Defense gave them a big play. Offense hooked them up with three. Special teams sparks a big play. We get seven on offense. Defense gets a three and out, gets a nice stop. We got the lead at halftime and we’re sitting there like ‘wow. Let’s hold up this thing and get out of here.’ That’s all positive stuff, the mental toughness of the football team that I saw last night. The game before was about the speed, the physical play, you’ve seen that the first week. We kind of put that together with the mental toughness this week. And I think we’re surprising some of you guys I guess. We always had high expectations; we think we could be a pretty good football team.”

(On the opening drive in the third quarter by Josh Freeman)
“That was fun. You come out and you run the ball effectively. He throws a strike on a comeback. He throws another ball to [Ryan] Purvis on a crossing route and he decided to run the rest of it. He threw pretty good balls. Nice run there at the end, got a nice block by B.J. I’m saying slide the sidelines like I’m sure you guys probably were. ‘Oh no, he’s going to score’ and we did so that was fun.”

(On his first win as a head coach)
“No not really because nobody counts this one. Nobody remembers I won this one. I am trying to look at how I can improve my football team, our football team and last night was mental toughness. Last night was guys going out playing. Last night was guys going out playing fast. It was dealing with adversity and bouncing back from adversity. Last night was holding on to the lead. Last night was ‘okay, they called three timeouts.’ It was a good job by them. They kicked the ball off, got to get an onside kick. All of the situations and sudden changes that we’ve been doing in practice, we didn’t look out of place. We did have one victory play that looked out of whack, that was kind of misaligned, so we messed that up. We have to practice victory period a little more, but it was positive. I look at it like that. It’s not really ‘hey, Raheem won his first game.’ Nobody talks about that until Dallas or until you get a chance to win your first game or whenever that comes. That’s what makes me more excited than anything. Having the guys go into situations to get ready for football, get ready for a game and get ready to play in a game because right now it’s preseason football games.”

(On B.J. Askew)
“That’s always been a plan. I told B.J. a long time ago. I said ‘hey man, I know about your Michigan days. I know what you can do. I know you can get the ball. You have a knack to get one yard.’ I talked to him about being a short yardage back. I talked to him about being a possible four minute guy. I talked to him about being a possible goal line back. He accepts that role. He wants to do it and last night he got an opportunity with Huggins getting a little banged up. I let him go in there and spot play for Huggins in the second half. I didn’t know he was going to play that much but last night we handed B.J. Askew the football. The way he did last night, no panic at all. He looked like a big heavy man that’s hard to tackle and that’s impressive.”

(On if a quarterback has stepped up)
“More than one of them kind of stepped outside the box a little bit and kind of showed some things. I talked about last night about Luke [McCown] and what he did, which was really good. Last night we say, ‘Luke was obvious last night.’ Or you could say ‘that Josh Freeman, what if he got a couple more snaps.’ That might have been pretty obvious. Or you could say ‘[Byron] Leftwich, if he would just have hit that one seven to Michael Clayton that would have been pretty obvious.’ At different times, it was a good night for those three guys. Like I said, Josh didn’t have the opportunity. The week before everyone was kind of knocking the Josh Johnson boat to get some more reps in there as well. They’ve all stepped outside the box. They’ve all done a good job. That’s why I’m saying
you may have to go up there and reevaluate this thing, figure out what I want to do with my deadline. Get you guys off my back (laughing).”

(On his decision and how he will arrive at it)
“You always have to talk to your quarterback coach. You always want to talk to your offensive coordinator. You always want to talk to your GM. You want to talk to your personnel people. You’re always going to talk to Doug Williams. You have to listen to everybody. You have to come up with a decision. You have to come up and formulate different decisions in your mind. Make a decision as a staff; make a decision as a crew. That’s what I was going to do. Ultimately, I will be charged with the ultimate call and all that stuff, that’s fine. We make every decision like that around here. We always have. Even though I say I’m making it, we’re making it. That’s how we always do it.”

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