Even after suffering through a 3-13 campaign, marred by inept performances on both sides of the football Tampa Bay Buccaneers second-year head coach Raheem Morris still exudes a supreme confidence that he can get the team headed in the right direction and win championships.
Morris in speaking with St Petersburg Times Columnist Gary Shelton said the difference between winning and losing in the NFL is about an quarter inch as he held up his thumb and forefinger apart.
But the more interesting comment, was when Morris again uttered the phrase “lasting contender” which is the second time in as many weeks that he’s used that reference to describe what he and general manager Mark Dominik are building in Tampa.
In the final six games of the year, however, Morris took over the team’s defense. The Bucs played better, and there were hints that he had finally left his imprint on his team. Still, a bit of improvement doesn’t offset a bad season. Morris knows that.
“We have one ultimate goal, and that’s to win a championship,” Morris said. “I’m not going to tell you that if we went 13-3 and lost in the first round that I’d be happy. I would be a liar if I said that.”
Yeah, but wouldn’t you be happier?
“You guys would be. The town would be. But I don’t think my team would be. If you don’t win some form of championship, I don’t know that you can be truly happy.”
At 3-13, however, who is searching for true happiness? At 3-13, a winning season would look pretty good.
“What we’re trying to do is build a lasting contender,” Morris said. “To do that, you have to have young players play together.”
Whether or not the team finds a winning formula in 2010 wont be known until late December or early January. However the infectious attitude and energy level Morris exudes along with the talent that’s been acquired through the draft the past two seasons after the cupboard was left bare by the previous regime, should have even the most pessimistic fans seeing things through pewter and red tint glasses in the very near future.
The caveat though, is after a 3-13 season. There’s nowhere to go but up. So sure Morris is confident the team should and will improve. Is it that hard to fathom a 3-13 team getting better? No, but some fans continue to struggle with any and everything Morris say’s or does.
The fact that he’s had a say in drafting a potential franchise quarterback, drafted receivers that potentially could be mentioned in the same sentence with the likes of Brandon Marshall, Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and others and finally drafted the heir apparent to Warren Sapp still seems to be lost on the negative fans that continue to spew venom.