Bucs Central

Wednesday Quotes: Raheem Morris

Morris discusses Antonio Bryant’s bone bruise, adjusting to life without Jermaine Phillips, talks about if the Giants game is a must-win situation. Morris talked about the youth and whats expected from them, from game to game. He also talked about the offense carrying the defense and the defensive scheme.

(On practice, roster moves and injuries)

“Giants prep today. Bunch of Giants prep, getting ready for the New York Football Giants, ranked number one according to the NFL Network today. So we’re excited about that. A great opportunity for us, a great opportunity for our team to get better, a great test, with a great coach in Coach [Tom] Coughlin, a guy I respect a lot. They’re a team that we want to look like and we want to play like, be as physical as they are, run the ball like they do, play as good a defense as they do. That’s the goal. That’s where you want to be. We’ll be on task. Roster moves; we signed Marcus Hamilton, who you guys all know, and also Corey Lynch off the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad. We released Steve Cargile and we placed Jermaine Phillips on I.R. That injury was more severe than we originally thought. He’s got a significant fracture that’s going to require a complex surgery to his hand, to his thumb. Personally for me, that’s tough. For him, that’s tough. He’s getting surgery today. He called me up yesterday and told me whatever I need him to do for the team in whatever fashion, he’s willing to, more than willing to. He’ll be missed. Injury report; Jeff Faine obviously didn’t participate today. Roy Miller did not participate today; he had the ankle in the game. Maurice Stovall with the knee did not participate today. Antonio Bryant was limited practice participation today with his knee. Earnest Graham, limited participation today, a little hamstring. John Gilmore, ankle, full participation. Elbert Mack, shoulder, full participation. Matt McCoy, back, full participation. Peanut [Clifton Smith], limited today, quad.”

(On Antonio Bryant)
“Obviously, you guys know A.B. wants to play. I’ve got a great feeling about it. I’m sure he does as well. I believe in A.B. and what he can do. We’re going to try to get him out there as quick as we can, as quick as he can go. We’re just all hopeful right now that he’s going to be out there.”

(On if a bone bruise is involved with Bryant)
“Yeah, I believe it’s all the same stuff. I’ve been getting the same reports that you guys have been getting from the doctor. We don’t hide any injury reports around here so it’s all the same stuff. He’s dealing with [Head Trainer] Todd [Toriscelli] and fighting through it, and here we go, off and running.”

(On adjusting to losing Jermaine Phillips)
“We’ll have Will Allen. Like I told you guys on Will Allen a long time ago, we felt like we had four starting safeties around here. Will didn’t get a chance to play as much last year, but in 2004 and 2005 and 2006, he played a lot as a starter. He was in that flipping, dual role that I talk about all the time that we play with our safeties. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Will’s ability, we’ve got a lot of confidence in his knowledge, we’ve got a lot of confidence in what he can do. He’ll be back there with Sabby [Piscitelli]. Those two guys have got to pick up the slack and play like starters, and be starters. That’s what they are now; here we go.”

(On if this game presents an opportunity because the Bucs want to play like the Giants)
“Every game presents an opportunity, you know that, but this one for me, personally, is stuff we’ve been talking about all year. You think about the things I’ve been saying: the mental toughness, the toughness of the team, the physical play, the violence of this football team. All that’s the New York Giants. That’s the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans. All those types of guys led by all those types of coaches who I look at in the league and study their tape and want to look like and want to be like. Those guys, they’re talented. You can’t help but see the talent in those guys. You can’t help but love the talent in those guys. But with that being said, this presents a great opportunity and a great challenge for our football team. I was sharing with our football team today, in 2007 I believe the Giants were struggling on defense early in the season. It was a joke all over SportsCenter with Antonio Pierce blowing a horn in the press conference. They were trying to figure out where it was coming from and it was Antonio Pierce because he didn’t need to hear that stuff about the defense. It was awesome. They snapped out, probably about Week Five or Week Six, went on that run, picked it up, brought it right to Tampa, ran right through us and ran right through the rest of the playoffs and won a Super Bowl. And now they are who they are today. Eli [Manning] has a new contract; they’ve got two young wideouts that are studs; they’ve got a defense that’s playing very well; they’ve got a young secondary that’s flying around. They’ve been through their growing pains, and here they are. You get the fruits of your labor, right in New York, right in the biggest marketing area of all-time. It’s positive to see and it’s the direction we want to go in.”

(On Byron Leftwich saying this is a must-win game)
“All 16 games are must win games, realistically, in this league. They all count. Not to knock on the baseball season or basketball season, but you don’t have that many games to get into the playoffs. You’ve got to win them all. You have to try to win them all, at least. You’ve got to put yourself in position to win them all. We’ve been in position to have an opportunity to win, but that doesn’t mean anything. You’re 0-2. For us, we’ve got to win them and we want to win them. A lot of guys like to say we’re rebuilding, but we don’t use that term because we’ve got guys on the team like Ronde Barber and Chris Hovan, who don’t deserve that. These guys want to win right now, and these young guys want to win for them. We’ve got to pick these young guys up and we’ve got to put them on a faster scale than normally anyone else would, and that’s what we’re doing.”

(On people questioning the defensive scheme)
“It would be if you had a mentally weak team or the people around you are. It’s not a mentally weak neighborhood, it’s not a mentally weak town, it’s not a mentally weak staff, it’s not a mentally weak group of guys. We all know. You guys were here in 1996. Coach [Tony] Dungy walked in here and there was a young defense. There was Derrick Brooks, there was Warren Sapp, there was [John] Lynch. They said Lynch couldn’t play safety and he should have moved to linebacker. They said Derrick Brooks was too small to play linebacker. They said Warren Sapp was too fat and had a whole bunch of off the field issues and he couldn’t do it either. Ten years later, we can’t believe that we got rid of him. We can’t believe they are no longer Bucs anymore. 12 years later or whatever it’s been, we can’t believe that they aren’t here anymore. That’s the same thing that has to happen now. We aren’t saying that the new guys are going to be Lynch, Sapp and those guys but we have some talented players out there. In the last couple of weeks it has really been impressive. It’s tough to lose but it has been impressive. We just have to get other guys to come around with them. The bounce back game that Sabby [Piscitelli] had, the way Ronde performed in this new defense. He got beat for a touchdown Sunday but realistically, he is having a heck of a year. He played well against Dallas, he had a forced fumble the other day that led to a touchdown. He has given us an opportunity to win. Having Kellen Winslow getting off the way he did and the offense the way they did. Obviously, we addressed the offense this offseason. The offense has performed well and performed up to task, they performed to what you would like to see them perform on offense, it’s been great. We’ll have an opportunity to catch it with some of the young players on defense that we drafted over the years. You guys get a chance to meet those guys and go through the growing pains that they went through the first night in 1996 and we love it as a challenge.”

(On using two sets of coverage schemes in the defense)
“We have never really been that one scheme feel. Jim [Bates] is here because of his fundamental core beliefs. That is exactly what I put up on the board today to show our team his philosophy and what he believes in. I match with that our philosophy and what I believe in and it’s pretty similar. A lot of things that we already believe in is what we are going to do. We are going to always mix and match our coverage. When I hired Jim, he was always pounding me down, trying to figure out about the Tampa 2 and I was always trying to hound him down to figure out quarters. Now, we are just finding a happy medium where our players can get comfortable, go out there and play as fast as they possibly can. I’m excited about this week. This is awesome. We have the New York Football Giants coming here, ranked number one throughout the NFL Network, a great team that we respect, a team that is a really talented football team, not far from a Super Bowl appearance. They aren’t far from beating our butts in 2007 when we were in the playoffs. I’m ecstatic, I’m excited.

(On if the team’s identity changed to offense)
“You would have to say yes right now. The identity was built from 1996 on. That identity from 1996, if you go back and look at that tape, it didn’t look as well as it did when the final product was there. We are just trying to get to the final product a lot faster. That’s the days in the film. It’s not the long week so we have to do it a little bit faster than we had an opportunity to do it. So here we go men. In 1996, I don’t know what they started off at but it wasn’t good. 1997 came and they started rolling, getting more plays, these guys started playing faster. They had a better rotation. People got more confident, you guys jumped on board seeing what the defense was doing. I know at that point, their offense didn’t look like what our offense looks like now. I’m fired up.”

(On the youth)
“It’s the same thing that happened in 1996 when we had Derrick Brooks as a number one draft pick, Warren Sapp as a number one draft pick, you had John Lynch and what he’s become and Ronde Barber when he finally got here. It’s a product of new guys, gelling together what that thing is going to be, how they are going to do it and how they are going to be. The test happens every week. They got a little bit better from week one to week two. We had a plan, that didn’t work. Here we go back to the drawing board, here is the plan versus the Giants. Let’s go out and execute it and be our very best self. Here we go. Let’s go. I’ll put these guys up against anybody. I know one thing, they are going to compete. For one thing, they aren’t going to lay down. They may have missed a tackle but it wasn’t because of lack of effort, there was nothing like that you can see. We just have to get these guys to play better, play faster, play together.”

(On the Terrell Owens missed tackle the first play of the game)
“He missed that tackle and Terrell Owens did a spin. When we get to where we want to be, that same missed tackle that was a spin is going to be a knockout by somebody else. Just like it was, I can see the play in my head right now. Brian Kelly misses a tackle and makes the San Francisco 49ers receiver spin. Derrick Brooks, coming from his Will linebacker position hits him. The ball pops up in the air and falls right into Brian Kelly’s hands for an interception, he runs it back to the five. They score the next possession. That’s where it has to go. We’re close, real close. Gaines Adams missed a tackle in the backfield Sunday, just missed it. It was one of his better plays of the game. He slipped, he dipped, he got in the backfield missed the tackle. Geno Hayes made it in the backfield, tackle for a loss. Those old factors, they count and they’re big on defense. We just have to get back to that, have trust in that and believe in that.”

(On the offense carrying the defense)
“It could be [the best offense this franchise has ever had]. They have the tools, they have the weapons, they have the confidence. They have everything you want; they have it rolling right now. I can accept anybody carrying anything. I hope special teams goes and blocks three kicks and we win the game.”

(On dealing with a loss)
“I’m miserable for the first 12 hours. Then its gone. It has to be gone. I can’t allow myself to show mental weakness to this football team because this football team has to be stronger than that. We have to believe. When I start moping around here, start moping around you guys and start feeling sorry for myself, nobody else cares. It’s about production. It’s about wins. I don’t want you guys to be sorry for me. I’m here to pick you guys up, make you feel better. Seriously.”

Courtesy of the Buccaneers Public Relations Department

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