The Buccaneers’ current two-game losing streak is raising plenty of questions in Tampa Bay, and the coaching staff is facing particular scrutiny about the sputtering offense. But Bucs head coach Raheem Morris says he’s not worried about anyone second-guessing his decisions.
A headline in the St. Petersburg Times laments the “Buccaneers’ terrible playcalling,” specifically as it relates to the decision to pull starting quarterback Josh Freeman in favor of backup Josh Johnson for one play, a third-and-4 on which Johnson ran for just one yard.
Taking the starting quarterback off the field for a crucial play seems like a mistake, but Morris says people are only saying that because it didn’t work.
“It didn’t work, so it was a bad idea,” Morris said. “If it had worked, it would have been great.”
There’s some truth in what Morris is saying — when the media question coaches’ play calling, it’s with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight — but the whole point is that it didn’t work. And the coaching staff’s job is to dial up plays that will work.
Bucs offensive coordinator Greg Olson offered a similar sentiment to Morris, saying that it was a good play call that didn’t work out.
“We just didn’t execute it,” Olson said. “We had practiced it all week. We want to get Josh Johnson more involved with our offense.”
It’s easy to see why the Bucs want Johnson to get more involved: Johnson is a talented runner, and Freeman has struggled this season. If the Bucs think taking Freeman out and putting Johnson in from time to time can give the offense a spark, they’re going to do it.
But until Johnson actually provides that spark, it’s reasonable for the coaching staff to be questioned about it. Morris should be ready for those questions to keep coming.