Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris defends his decision to use starting quarterback Josh Freeman and the rest of the teams’ starters sparingly in Saturday’s preseason opener against the Dolphins. Citing injuries as his motivating factor and the possibility, that he could potentially be scolded by management should an injury occur to Freeman. But doesn’t think it’s fair to penalize his starting offensive line just because Freeman is young.
“You want to go out there and let Josh be Josh and develop his skill set and do some of the things that we’ve been able to see him do in practice, make some completions, get off of the field and get him out of there healthy,” Morris said.
“But you can’t penalize your front five because Josh is young. He may have to just grow up a little faster.”
Morris won’t play Freeman without the starting line.
“If you send Josh out there, you better not send him out there with the (backup) line, or somebody’s going to come have a conversation with me,” Morris said, suggesting he was talking about ownership.
“And it’s probably going to start with a (short) walk down the hallway, and as the walk gets longer, the more trouble I’m in.”
The explanation unequivocally falls under the category of strange. While all coaches in the back of there minds worry about injuries in meaningless pre season games. Freeman and the entire offense need all the practice they can get, at this point. Especially the offensive line, that struggled tremendously last season. Granted there’s no depth behind the starting five offensive linemen but with such a young team the opportunity to build continuity in live game situations can’t be replicated in practice.
The fact that Morris fears someone from upper management, over his decisions as the head coach, only further fuels speculation he’s not the final decision maker in terms of who starts or even who plays in games.
If you weren’t listening to WDAE-AM 620 afternoon host Steve Duemig, Tuesday afternoon. Then you might have missed Morris’ respond to a question regarding his young team playing during the exhibition season. No need to fret, as one of Bucs Central’s blogging brethren JoeBucsfan.com transcribed Morris’ radio interview with Duemig.
Steve Duemig: As young as this team is, how hard is it to put them on the sidelines during an exhibition season? …You have a lot of guys you need to evaluate.
Raheem The Dream: Today [at practice] it was pretty easy. …On gameday it will be a little tougher with Mark upstairs calling me down from the box going, ‘let’s get him out out of there. You know, Rah.”
Steve Isbitts lead blogger / writer for JoeBucsFan.com and an accredit journalist rightly ask the questions “Who The Hell Is Calling The Shots?” Now based on everything that Morris has said this week, one could come to the conclusion. That Morris is just a puppet on a string for general manager Mark Dominik, as its Dominik who is calling all the shots.