Bucs Central

Saturday Qoutes: Raheem Morris


(On injuries)
“Today’s injury updates: [Sean] Mahan kind of hurt himself in indies today, kind of had a calf. He’s still being evaluated. I’ll come back and get you some information on that later. He had a little calf issue; I’m not really sure of the extent of it right now but I’ll come back to you a little bit later when I get some evaluation on that. [Jeremy] Trueblood had a back; he’s day-to-day. He was doing fine, he was walking around. He looked good in the movie yesterday so I’m pretty excited about it. Clifton Smith had the hamstring. It’s mild, it is really mild, not like the one we’re worried about with [Michael] Clayton, which Clayton’s a lot better. He’s walking around really well so I’m pretty ecstatic about that. All these guys are starting to come back, starting to heal. That’s the beauty of training camp being physical – you get the nicks and the bruises and what’s the difference between that and the season. We have it all the time on Wednesdays and Thursdays and we feel like, ‘Wow, that guy’s not going to play,’ and then on Sunday they’re up and running. So that’s the beauty of training camp, starting to learn that process as well, getting these guys nicked up and bruised a little bit and then being happy and excited about those guys coming back. We’ve got a day off tomorrow on Sunday. I’m fired up about that for those guys. They’ll get a chance to go home, see their families tonight and tomorrow, rest, get off their feet, see their kids. Then we’ll get a chance to come back and play some football. We’ll make it a little bit physical in the mornings and in the afternoons to prepare a little bit for Tennessee. Just a little bit, nothing drastic, but just to get the guys ready, acclimated to getting ready to play another team. And we’ll go Saturday and have a game and we’ll see if we can really play and I can stop talking to you guys about practice. I can pull an Allen Iverson.”

(On practice)
“Today we had a little four-minute offense, which can be boring for a fan I guess, but you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to practice it. That’s an important phase of football. In 2002, we had a lot of four-minute drives and those are nice – 12 of them to be exact. Guys finishing games like that…it’s a lot better to finish a game in a four-minute drive than it is to finish in a two-minute. When you can finish in a four-minute, you can go out there and run the ball effectively; keep the chains moving; throw safe passes when you have to; make smart decisions like sliding before you go out of bounds; make smart decisions like not getting penalties to give the defense an advantage, to force your hand. What are you going to do? You’re going to have to punt, your defense is going to go back out there. If we can end that thing in victory formations, I’d be ecstatic and I’m sure you guys would be too. So that was kind of the theme of the team meeting today. That was kind of the message. That’s why I called them back up during that period, because we just stressed it heavy not to have a penalty and not stepping out of bounds. The second group that went out there today – we saw Kellen [Winslow] step out of bounds and [Anthony] Alabi jumped offsides on that first play. You’ve got to bring it back up and catch their attention, because it’s easy to get caught up in, ‘Wow that was a great catch.’ And it was, but it’s still a situation that you’ve got to know, you’ve got to be detailed for, to do everything you can. Fall backwards if you have to stay in-bounds and keep the clock ticking, because those critical seconds there, we may need. We may need the defense to use those timeouts so their offense won’t have an opportunity to use them back on us in two-minute drives. Those are the things as a head coach, those are the things as a coordinator, those are the things as a position coach, those are the things as a player that we’ve all got to know.”

(On Kellen Winslow making a bunch of plays in practice)
“He did, and he got caught up in it and ran out of bounds in four-minute. There’s that emotional deal, and he knew right away. As soon as I blew that whistle, I think he looked at me. He walked over and kind of just looked at me and smiled and I looked at him and said some choice words, and he put his head up and went back to practice. It was great. But that’s part of the learning process. I would rather it happen out here in front of the fans in our make-believe atmosphere rather than have it happen on Saturdays or Sundays when it counts.”

(On Robert Bruggeman)
“We actually got lucky. We brought Bruggeman in here and he’s been a center in Iowa, running the zone scheme, a real similar system. He looks a lot better in pads. I don’t talk about Bruggeman much but you talk about a guy who’s a little bit undersized when you have him in shorts. You look at him like, ‘There’s no way this guy can hold up.’ Then he puts on pads and he’s a lot more physical than you would think and he’s got all the tenacity and stuff. You shouldn’t be shocked because of the program, how well they do up there, but…I’m not afraid to say it: Bruggeman’s got an ugly body. When you get the ugly body to do really good things you get excited about it. Then we’ve got [Marc] Dile. We were fortunate to have Dile in our rookie mini-camp, and when you come to our rookie mini-camp, you do everything. You snap, you serve lunch, you clean cots, you do everything. So he gets to do the snap, play some tackle, play some guard. He’s really becoming a valuable asset. To move into center today and not miss a beat? I don’t think we had a ball on the ground from the center-quarterback exchange, did we? Maybe one, I can’t remember. That’s a credit to those young players, that’s a credit to those quarterbacks, that’s a credit to our quarterback-center exchange we have at the beginning of practice, the one that nobody seems to care about every day except for our O-Line coach and Olie [Greg Olson]. They stand there every day and they’re calling out snap counts, they’re switching up quarterbacks playing with centers. Luke [McCown] is taking snaps from Bruggeman sometimes, he’s taking it from [Sean] Mahan, he’s taking it from [Jeff] Faine. All of those guys are kind of rotating in there and that’s a credit to our coaching.”

(On Luke McCown’s first week)
“We talked about it a little bit yesterday, about the leadership qualities that he’s brought out this week and the positive things as far as leadership, the positive things as far as controlling the huddle, the positive things as far as off-the-field situational things. All those things and things he’s brought to the offense – communicating with Jags [Jeff Jagodzinski]. Luke is a smart young man, he’s really bright. He’s brought all those things. Then he’s taken it out on the field and there have been up and down days. Some days have been better than others, and he’s really grown from that. That’s how you’ve got to evaluate a quarterback. Once we get to the games, you’re really going to know where Luke is. You’ll really feel where Byron is. And those guys are really starting to compete. Those two have ascended to the fight. The young guys got an opportunity yesterday. They fought into it, and I’m just fired up. But Luke is really doing well. Really, those guys are truly preparing themselves to play Tennessee. There’s the one guy I can’t get ready yet because I’m not going to hit a quarterback. So that’s the one guy…physical, tough – hey, don’t touch the quarterback. That’s all good. I’m going to be smart as far as that.”

(On Byron Leftwich)
“Byron has had his up and down days. The thing that makes Byron really good is, he can be having a bad practice but he can spin one out there and you just go, ‘Whoosh, that was a good practice.’ You can get a misconception from that, and that’s okay because that can be a game. He could be having a bad game and he could spin one down there, throw a 60-yard bomb and you say, ‘Wow, Byron played his butt off today.’ Those things happen, too, and we’ve generated some big plays on offense. That’s kind of been a big-time theme around here. Our completion percentage hasn’t been what you want but our defense has dictated that, too, a little bit. With all the man-to-man coverages our defense plays, your percentages are going to do down. When you go play a zone team, your percentages should go up, your efficiency should go up but you also have opportunities [against man-to-man] to make some big splash plays down the field, which you’ve seen from our offense. I just think those guys are playing really well right now and I don’t think I can really judge either one of them until we put some pads on them and let them go get hit.”

(On CB Elbert Mack)
“I take all the credit for E-Mac. I made him who he was last year (laughing). Elbert Mack, you have to give the kid credit. You talk about a guy that people say is too small, doesn’t weigh enough, not big enough to play in this league, shouldn’t be in this league. All he did was lead the nation in picks. Become a free agent at the Bucs, tryout, walkout, come out here maybe get a look, come our here and make our team. He shoots up the depth chart, starts a game for us, gets suspended a day for hitting a quarterback for being too physical, sits out a week, comes back, go cover Steve Smith one week at the end of the game because he’s hot, you’ve got to give the guy credit. The guy’s a fighter. Now he is competing to be the starting nickel. That’s the kind of guy we talked about the other day. We talked about the 53rd man on the team. They fight their way to the top. He’s not the 53rd man anymore. He’s making sure of it.”

(On CB Ronde Barber not having his pads on)
“No, no. Ronde, you have the old school Benz and he left it in the parking lot today. You leave the new Benz model and let them run before they need an oil change. Ronde had to go get an oil change today. There was nothing wrong. I left him up the street at the Benz dealership and I made him sign autographs during water breaks. He was the show today.”

(On the pass rush)
“What is smart with Byron [Leftwich] is you usually see a max pro passing game or maybe some max type of drops. I’m always concerned about the pass rush because that’s the other guys you can’t judge until they actually hit the quarterback. Like I said the other day, you have a whole bunch of cute flybys. And one day on third down, we couldn’t get a ball off. So I don’t know yet. There’s another situation you can’t find out until you get into a game. Is he going to be able to run through a guy and bring him down? Is the D-line going to be up to generate enough pass rush and get him down? They’ve gotten better. You can feel them but you can’t feel them until you get to Sunday. Concern? No. Interested and waiting to see? Yes.

(On how CB Aqib Talib has progressed in the defense)
“That defense is made for [Aqib] Talib except for the fact that he has asthma. This defense was made for him. He runs around, competes. That’s what he wants to do, play man, bump man coverage. My whole fight with Talib last year was just getting a little bit of the quit out of him. When he gets a pass sometimes you can see him tail off at the end there. He didn’t do it in games, but you really got to jump him in practice just so he doesn’t tail off at all because he’s special. He has a special talent. He loves this defense. He loves playing in this defense. He loves challenging people. You ask him and he’ll tell you, ‘that’s what I do.’ Just let him go do it. He’s a lot of fun. He’s having a ball.”

(On evaluating first week overall)
“I have to be excited about the first week just based on the schedule and how it works. We had a few changes but there were no major changes where I felt I was disappointed in something or I had to change or redo something over or anything you have to do to take steps backwards. I think every step we have taken this week has been forward. I think every stride we have made so far has been a positive one. We are going to have to step back. It is coming. I just don’t know when. None of us do but that is when the mental toughness has to kick in with your team and hopefully what you talk and what you preach about everyday kicks in and somebody brings us out. Maybe it doesn’t always have to be me but maybe it can be one of our coaches, maybe it can be one of our DB players but hopefully it is our quarterback.”

(On the transition going into the second week)
“Well now, the second week is what we have talked about. We are going to come out in the morning and are going to get a lot of work done. There is still going to be some situational stuff. The afternoon you want to come back and see guys be detailed and lock into a game plan or lock into another team and know exactly what they are doing. ‘Hey Rah, I know this is the situation but I know this team does this and we need to do this, this week. Let’s do it. Let’s practice it. Let’s rep it.’ But now it is about the preparation. So now this week we were physical, we were tough, we were all those things we talk about in the off-season. We have seen it all. We had a couple live periods and we will have a little more of that next week in the morning. In the afternoons, it is the mental part. It is the preparation part. It is your coaches preparing and seeing the players preparing is how you’re going to deal with it and how you’re are going to attack the people and that is the part you want to see in the second week.”

(On the timetable Matt Bryant is taking to start kicking)
“Matt Bryant, as far as I am concerned, he is just day to day. So that could be any day here. I think he kicked on his own a little bit actually.”

(On the adversity Matt Bryant has gone through in the past year)
“Like a champ. You can see how he has handled it. He went out and kicked the game winning field goal. Then he comes back and he has to compete for his job. Like a champ. He has been here kicking and competing.”

(On who has stood out in the first week of training camp)
“Who is a pleasant surprise? I keep using the same names so I’m going to use a different one for you today. Sammie Stroughter. I have to throw his name out there again. He is just a pleasant surprise. He was a seventh round draft pick. He was a steal. Who are we kidding? Geno Hayes, Quincy Black. Those guys are pleasant surprises. Watching those guys move around and make plays, especially Quincy Black these last few days. His pass rush ability off of the end. He has stood up and made a couple plays at linebacker. He is getting excited about it. You can see the focus out there. He is starting to develop. He is starting to mature. We are really excited about him.”

(On his first week of camp as Head Coach)
“Surprisingly, I feel very comfortable, maybe too comfortable. I mean, surprisingly. I have to be honest with you there. Not to say it is easy, but there is just more decision making and the thought process of what’s going on. I’m trying to think of everything that happens in a football game. I’m trying to think about everything that I could possibly think about. I’m leaning on my coaches. I’m leaning on my veteran leadership. I’m leaning on my veteran coaches. I’m leaning on everything like past experiences. I’m trying to learn from all the situations. I’m trying to learn from all the mistakes. I’m going out everyday in practice and I’m trying to be a head coach. I’m feeling really comfortable doing that. I’m feeling really comfortable giving the team direction about whatever the situation was, whether it was a problem with the team, whether it was an emotional roller coaster issue. I’m treating you guys like my team right now. I want you guys to know what we are thinking about and what we are talking about. So really, everything I give them, I am pretty much giving you. I may not give you all the words and how I say it and how I deliver my words, but you get the point. I think.”

(On giving Richard Mann a title change)
“You’re talking about a special guy. You’re talking about the receivers coach. You need to think about it for the second. Think about the guy who has the roughest job in the NFL. Think about all the blow ups, all the signings, the popcorn, think about everything like that. What position is it? The wide receiver position. All that he’s done in his career is get some guy from Hofstra named Wayne Chrebet to be great, draft some guy named Keyshawn Johnson, coach some guy Webster Slaughter, got a guy named Antonio Bryant that nobody wanted off the couch, brought him back to football and made him the comeback player of the year. He’s related by nothing but greatness. He’s one of the best teachers of the game. I don’t even know if he wants to call a play. He just wants you to call it so he can teach you how to run the route. You just tell him what you want and he’ll show you. I sit in his meeting room sometimes and he just goes. He loves this sport. He loves this game. He loves receiver play. He’s not going to say a whole bunch unless you ask him. Every once in a while he gives me some words of wisdom and I appreciate it. Very few people that I sit around are absolutely quiet and he’s one of them. He’s very funny in his own way. He’s a quiet Tanard Jackson coaching.”

(On the huddle before the last period)
“We had a four minute period today and I just brought all those guys together. We talked about at team meeting about not having penalties on offense. We talked about in the team meeting about not running out of bounds. In that second drive, we jumped offsides, moved back, trying to run the clock out, Kellen catches a great pass on third down and steps out of bounds. Everybody got caught up in emotions. Fans are cheering. Kellen thinks he did a good thing, staring at you guys, you guys are staring back like ‘Wow. ‘No bring it in. That’s not what we wanted to do in this situation. We wanted to catch the ball and fall backwards if we had to to stay in bounds and
keep the clock moving. So that was that competition for them. I just wanted to hit it right there when it was fresh in everybody’s mind. You can do it tomorrow morning; you could do it later walking into the cafeteria. I wanted him to know before he got in talking smack about the next play that that was wrong and I think he knows.”

Courtesy of the Buccaneers Public Relations Department

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