Bucs Central

Monday Quotes: Raheem Morris

(On practice and injuries)

“We did a little Houston preparation today, working on our in-season schedule again. So today was like an in-season Wednesday for us. We had an in-season Wednesday schedule [with] the shorter periods, faster rotation through the periods, more periods, getting more emphasis on situational football things, whether it’s third-and-one through five or third-and-three through six or it’s red zone or two-minute. Whatever it was, we got it done today at a high tempo. We talked about conditioning some of our guys, some of our older guys that are not going to get as many reps this week. So we want to condition them a little bit. As far as injuries, Antonio Bryant was back out there a little. I don’t know what percent he is right now but he’s getting close. He made it through a whole practice and was able to go through a lot of the detail things that we wanted to talk about for today. Michael Clayton was back today. I don’t know what percent he is but he was back out there, ready to go, getting ready to get back in stride, working with those quarterbacks. Dexter Jackson, we released today. He just didn’t fit what we were getting done. I’ve got a lot of respect for Dexter; he did everything I asked, he worked his tail off, we just went in a different direction.”

(On if Dexter Jackson got enough of a look at receiver)
“I think we gave everybody an opportunity on this team to show up as a wideout, to show up as a return man, to show up in any situation and compete. We just decided to go in a different direction. Some of it was due to other people coming along, other people emerging. The kid’s a great kid. I can’t take anything away from what he did. He did everything I asked. He worked his tail off. But as an organization, it was time for us to go in a different direction.”

(On if he considers Jackson a draft bust)
“It’s hard for me to sit here and tell you that any man that made it to the NFL, any guy that got here in this league and did as well as they did training and did as well as they did in preparation, and to be able to come in here and call him a bust, that’s just not my responsibility on that young man, especially with what he did for us, his efforts in the offseason, his efforts now. Did he fit our mold? No, he didn’t fit what we wanted to do.”

(On how will the team develop Josh Freeman during practice)
“I’ve got one of the best if not the best quarterback coaches in the National Football League, at least I believe so in Greg Olson. I watched him and what he did with Josh Johnson and his development last year. Josh Johnson came off a horrible combine. He came into camp and just wasn’t ready yet. And I watched Josh, in my eyes, grow into a quarterback. It was almost like, ‘Let’s put him in a game and give him a try.’ He has that plan of doing the same thing with Josh Freeman. That’s really our plan, Coach [Greg] Olson working with him after practice, going through all the quarterback detail issues that you need to do when you’re by yourself. Whether you’re talking to a mirror and calling it or whether you’re just going out onto the field and just going through the plays, going through the progressions, making all the throws, doing everything you can. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Coach Olson before a game, he’s usually in more of a lather than any player we have on the team. He goes out and runs all those routes with them, he does everything and he puts them in a game-like situation as far as mentality. He puts them in a game-like situation as far as the physical aspects of it. That’s really our plan for Josh, to get him ready to go. Now, if he speeds the process up, there’s nothing we can do about it. That’s just the nature of the beast. You let the young man come out and let the young man go.”

(On the practice plan for Freeman)
“The way we did it last year was, Josh Johnson took every script and went through every single script every week after practice, pretty much on his own. [It was] really on air, really throwing it to trainers, whoever was able to stand there. Could have been a bucket. Whatever it was, he went through every detail issue we had, every check. Olie might have given him a look, where he wanted to go with the ball, what he wanted to do, whether it was a run check or pass check, what was the cadence, what was the audible, what should that guy have done? We go through it. We rep him all the way through and he might get all 24 reps that way, just not live.”

(On the number one offense not really being together yet)
“I’ve kind of seen what they look like when they were together a little bit there in OTAs and at the beginning of training camp. We had Michael Clayton really rolling. Antonio came back and was really rolling one day. They’ve been together a little bit, but not enough. I would like to see them go through the first one and the second one, or even the third but unfortunately we’re not going to be able to do that. We’re going to have to get them rolling early and fast, and often. I did get a taste of it. We did get a little peek at it. We’ve got to feed off of that and take it into Dallas.”

(On the playing time of the veterans in the fourth preseason game)
“I’ll let you guys know who’s going to play and how long they are going to play and all of that stuff; but, that’s not going to change the philosophy of the team because of two guys. There is really no excuses like we always talk about. Antonio [Byrant] and Michael [Clayton] have been the only guys that haven’t got. We have seen our first team offensive line play an extensive amount of time during preseason. We have seen our quarterbacks play an extensive amount of time in the preseason, our running backs play a lot of time besides Cadillac [Williams]. They’ve all got their reps going. Antonio and Mike better catch up to their team. That’s their job, that’s what they get paid to do. They will get that done.”

(On if Michael Clayton and Antonio Bryant will see time
against Houston)

“No, they’re practicing but I don’t think they’re going to play.”

(On any other potential position battles)
“Yes, there are. We still are looking at that third wideout spot, it’s not written in stone right now. They’re still fighting; all those guys are still fighting. That’s fun. You guys are going to ask me about that everyday. That’s fun. At linebacker you have a nice little battle with [Adam] Hayward fighting. Geno [Hayes] and Quincy [Black], they are number one but it is still an everyday fight. You still have a fight at safety, moving Flip. Flip is just getting back. You have Will Allen, you have Sabby [Piscitelli], they’re still fighting. Who’s going to run out of the tunnel? I believe all three are going to play, but in this league they all want to run out of the tunnel with the cannon going off. They all want to. That is the part that makes it fun for them.”

(On Antonio Bryant)
“I have no idea where they thought he would be but they told me was going to be able to practice the Houston week. That’s what he is doing. I’m pretty happy with the initial reaction of where he was going to be. I’ve seen him go out there and get a couple of reps. I’ve seen him go through pat-and-go, I’ve seen him go through route versus air with his little knee sleeve on. He appeared not to have any pain, he appeared to be fine. I asked him how he was doing in practice and he said ‘good, I don’t have a choice.’ I like those answers. That means he is bound to the no excuses. He really doesn’t care how it feels. That just lets you know that he’s going. That’s the mentality that you love to see from your team. Michael Clayton out there, all of those guys. Everybody wants to sit out there and wait until Dallas. That just lets me know that these guys aren’t interested in doing that and these guys want to get out there as a team, get out there and play, they want to get out there and finish and they want to be tough physically as a football team.’

(On if Matt Bryant has a shot of making the roster)

“You have to make those decisions. You can’t make that right now. Matt, we talked to this morning. I’ll let Matt share whatever he wants to share with you as far as that. But I talked to Matt personally in my office this morning and he knows what he has to do. I believe he is going to do it. I just have to let him go out there and compete and let him win the job. I can’t tell you that it’s been a competition right now because Matt hasn’t had an opportunity to go out there and compete. I want to see him compete and I want to see him go kick.’

(On Matt Bryant being able to kick this week)
“For me and kickers, that is the one position I am not [getting into]. I just don’t know with kickers. That’s a track athlete, that’s different. That’s a different skill that I could never do, I can’t even kick a soccer ball. It’s just something that you have to let the trainer, a doctor, the people you trust, the kicker, his specialist, the guy that rubs his hamstring, let those guys handle that stuff. That’s one of those deals.”

(On the running game)
“When you are talking to coach [Pete] Mangurian, your offensive line coach, your offensive coordinator, any of those guys, your running back coach, they are always going to want to be better. They are going to want to be better. Obviously, every play I want to be better too. But to see where we’re going, I would have to say that I am pretty pleased to see Earnest Graham, Cadillac, Derrick Ward, Kareem Huggins, Clifton Smith, B.J. Askew in the preseason, all have some form of a breakout run, all have a run that you would love to see get done productively against Dallas. To have that kind of confidence in your offensive line. We talked about it the first week, cutting off the backside better. We got better the next week. We talked the following week about finishing better, we got better the following week. When it all started to click when we got the three man rotation going I said to you guys that someone is going to get hot and we’re going to keep feeding him. That’s what happened with Cadillac and Earnest that day. They got hot so the plan was all starting to come together. That excites me, looking from the outside in. That’s because I’m not the guy out there installing every run to get six every time. I’m the guy saying, ‘hey, that’s pretty productive. Keep doing that.’ I’m going to let you know how pleased I am at Dallas. I like what we’re doing, I like what our coaches are doing, I like our production. I like what our fronts doing. It’s fun to watch your offensive line who know they aren’t going to play much this week to go run gassers, back and forth in-between plays, to try to simulate being tired so they can get ready and get back down there for the next play. They know who they have behind them. They know they are one block away from either Cadillac, Earnest, Ward, Peanut, Askew or Huggins to tip off a big play and they understand that and they love it.”

(On the upgrade in speed on the defense)
“It’s funny that you ask. I didn’t necessarily look at our defense last year but I looked at other team’s defenses in the league and I just want to see the speed, I want to see the finish and I want to see what we call cap-off’s. I’m going to get some more from some other people. I didn’t tell Gaines [Adams] this yet, but I want to see a little more cap-off from Gaines. We had the ability to fly around, and I’m picking on Gaines right now because that was the one thing that I was doing at the time, it’s not a negative and I didn’t tell him yet. It’s positive, more positive than anyone else that I’ve seen. I see he has more. I see that I can get a little more from him. I can see where I can make this thing a little faster. They’re flying, don’t get me wrong, they are flying. That first few that has been out there, they have been flying around, they’ve been swarming to the football. That’s the type of stuff you love. It does, every time you run around and hit them like that sometimes we take a snap out of ourselves but that’s part of it. Thinking back to last year, thinking about the speed that we lost at the end of the season, we were a little worn down. The bright spots being Sabby and Sims, we have to find a way to maintain it. We started off like that last year too, we started off that fast in 2007. We have to find a way to finish like that, stay like that and keep that mentality and that has to be our winning edge.”

(On the Tampa 2 change)
“That’s what I say to people all of the time. You change the defense, schemes, the squiggly lines on paper, they’ve might have changed a little bit, but the fundamental core beliefs are the same. That’s really what the Tampa 2 is. People think the Tampa 2 is two corners re-routing, two safeties in the half field, a mike linebacker running through, four guys rushing and two scheme droppers. That isn’t the Tampa 2. The Tampa 2 is the fundamental core beliefs. It’s play hard, play physical and play together. That’s Tampa 2, that’s who we were, that’s what we’re about. Mike Tomlin runs a 3-4, that’s the Tampa 2. That’s what it is, you can call it whatever you want. I don’t care what squiggly lines you draw. All these guys. Minnesota, they run a Tampa 2. They literally run it, but they’re running it. That’s their mentality. You see the Bears running it a little bit during preseason.”

(On the QB rotation this week)
“You are probably going to get a big dose of the young guys. I’m not sure what I am going to do with the two older guys right now. You will get a big, giant dose of the young guys.”

Courtesy of the Buccaneers Public Relations Department

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