After another disappoint loss Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris addressed the media, following the game. He talked about if the defense took a step forward…the fourth down decision to go for the field goal instead of punting. Josh Freeman who was making his fourth start in the NFL talked about receiver Antonio Bryant…the running game and the pressure he faced from the Falcons and his ability to bounce back after last weeks game against the Saints.
Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris
“It was a hard fought game from our football team, and with that, I’ll open it up to questions.”
Q: At the end of the series there, you were up by four points and decided to go for a fake punt. Can you go over that situation a little bit for us?
A: “I was just trying to get the offense going. I wanted to change the game and that’s what I did. That is completely on me. That was a call by me and it didn’t work out for us. I am lucky our defense could go out there and stand it up and give us another opportunity.”
Q: On the fourth down, why the decision to go for a long field goal instead of punt?
A: “Fourth down, we wanted to get up by seven so all they could do was tie. We made a lot of big time field goals the week before and had a lot of confidence in our kicker. I wanted to go out there and take a shot at it. We were a 1-9 football team and now we are a 1-10 football team. You can’t play scared. You have to play hard and go out there and win football games.”
Q: You had a lot of injuries in the secondary, and had to rely on a lot of youngsters. How much did that matter in this game?
A: “It doesn’t matter. When you go out there, it’s your turn. It is your time to shine. You are a starter. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is the result. Nobody knows who the touchdown was scored on. All they know is that it was a touchdown.”
Q: How do you feel the defense played today?
A: “They played hard. They played hard and they continued. It was a hard fought game as a team. We blocked the punt on special teams. On offense, we moved the ball fairly well. In the second half, we didn’t play as well as the first, but we played well as a team today. I am just proud of the guys in that locker room.”
Q: If you had to do it over again, would you go for those fourth downs again?
A: “You can’t second guess yourself. This is a grown man’s sport. When you start second guessing yourself, then you become soft. That was the decision I made today and I stick by my decisions.”
Q: How busy was it for you being a defensive coordinator and head coach? Did that affect your decision making at all?
A: “Of course I was really busy, but I have a great staff. I have great people around me and a lot of people helping me out. I’m glad those guys were with me today and they did a great job.”
Q: Was Tony Gonzalez everything you had expected and prepared for?
A: “Tony Gonzalez was a problem. He always is going to be a problem and he has always been a problem in this League. He made a key catch on a fourth down, but he is that type of player.”
Q: Why did you call a timeout in the fourth quarter on fourth down?
A: “To get a look at what they were in. I wanted to see what they were in and what to call. I wanted to talk to my guys and let them know what my mentality was.”
Q: When Ryan went out, did you change your plan?
A: “No. The plan is the plan. Chris Redman is their backup and they are going to come out with their same plan. We are going to use our same plan and try to win. Redman came in and did a great job today. His quarterback rating is very high. He got some completions and was smart with the football. That’s the kind of player he is and the kind of player that develops in Atlanta.”
Q: Do you think it was a step forward for the defense?
A: “It’s never a step forward when you lose.”
Buccaneers Player Quotes
QB Josh Freeman
Q: Talk about the play of WR Antonio Bryant.
A: “Antonio Bryant played a great game, especially on the first half drive where he had two big plays, including the touchdown. It was good to have him back out there.”
Q: Thoughts on that two-play drive in the first half.
A: “The first play was a play action pass and (Antonio Bryant) did a great job of catching it. He ran a great route. The next play he got off his guy and threw his hand up and I gave him a chance to make a great play.”
Q: Was that second pass to Antonio Bryant short?
A: “No it was an instance where the defender’s back was to me and the last thing I wanted to do was overthrow him because you feel like you have a touchdown. I just wanted to give him a chance to make a play and he did that.”
Q: Was your performance a bounce back for you from last week?
A: “I wouldn’t really call it a bounce back. Last week I had an off week and this week I played closer to the level I want to play at.”
Q: How tough was the Falcons pressure?
A: “They did a good job of mixing up the blitzes and making it so we had to get it out of there quickly. I was trying to get it out quick. That is something I need to go back and work on.”
Q: On the Buccaneers running performance today.
A: “They have a good run defense. Their down linemen are solid. No one has really had success running the ball against them. We tried to make some plays this week, but they were hard to come by. Some weeks you will be able to run it and some weeks you’ll be able to pass it. This week they lived up to their tough run defense and held us in the run game.”
Q: Did you have untimely penalties?
A: “We need to find a way to eliminate the penalties and keep the chains moving.”
Q: Talk about the defense.
A: They played a great game. Offensively, we aren’t putting up enough points to get the win. Our defense kept us in the entire game and they did a great job today.”
LB Quincy Black
Q: You played well enough to win today, but no such luck.
A: “(The Falcons) are a good football team. They made more plays than us down the stretch, and you’ve got to give them credit for that.”
Q: You seemed to be everywhere the ball was today.
A: “All of that doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, we lost.”
Q: Even though this is your 10th loss, it still hurts, I assume.
A: “It hurts just as bad as the first time we lost. Every time you step on the field, you expect to win. We fell short today.”
CB Ronde Barber
Q: This was one of your best chances to win today.
A: “We did our job. Someone needed to make a play on that last drive, and nobody did. But it was a great throw and catch on the touchdown. We shouldn’t have let it happen.”
Q: It was almost like watching the Buccaneers of old today, if you could put it that way.
A: “This was the ultimate Buccaneers kind of game. It was the bend don’t break philosophy that has defined this franchise. But (Chris) Redman dialed up (Tony) Gonzalez on that last drive, unfortunately. I don’t know. This one is very frustrating. It was our style of game. I wish we could have found a way to not make it so exciting at the end.”
P Dirk Johnson
Q: Have you thrown a pass before in your career?
Q: That one worked out OK?
Q: It looked like at one point that you were going to run the ball (on the fake punt)?
A: “I cut back and the defender came up field and I knew that I didn’t have the corner on him so I had to stop and throw it. I saw John Gilmore coming across.”
Q: Have you had success in practice running the fake punt?
A: “Yes. It’s good. We’ve had it in for a while. We just didn’t have it. They covered it up. It happens.”
Courtesy of Falcons Public Relations Department