Morris points to labor deal as a reason for Bucs’ struggles

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers already have lost as many games as they did in all of 2010, and they still have six games to play.

Last week, the team began pushing to the media the notion that the franchise has been saddled with a very tough schedule, even though the Bucs basically play the same slate of games as the other teams in their division.

This week, coach Raheem Morris is blaming it on the labor agreement.

Per the folks at, Morris said during his weekly radio show that the limitation on in-season padded practices has taken some of the steam out of his “yungry” team.  Morris explained that, by using two of his allotment of 11 padded practices last week, he got the desired response from a squad that, while losing to the Packers, didn’t get blew out . . . or blown, blowed out.  Instead, the Bucs kept things interesting at Lambeau Field.

“We put our pads on, had those guys go out and really fight for the balls in practice and have the DB’s really compete with those guys,” Morris said.  “And you see it show up in a game.  Mike Williams was able to go up and make some of the dynamic catches that he made last year when the practice habits were a little bit different.

“You know, we got the collective bargaining agreement and we couldn’t put on pads as much and some of those things.  But last week we pulled our mulligan, we had our two padded practices, got those guys to compete again.  Mike Williams practiced hard all week and it transferred into the game, which was great for us.”

Morris may be right.  But it’s his job to find a way to get the most out of his players, within the confines of rules that apply equally to every team.  More importantly, he needs to be careful to avoid the perception that he’s making excuses for underachievement.

Though I’ve probably said enough about Morris in the past week to earn a permanent spot in his doghouse, I like the guy.  He has done well with a work-in-progress roster, and he has a bright future.  But he needs to be willing to take a step back and assess not only his team’s performance but every aspect of his own performance objectively, in order to be the best coach he possibly can be.

And when identifying publicly the reasons for his team’s inability to meet expectations, he needs to let folks other than himself supply the excuses.

46 responses to “Morris points to labor deal as a reason for Bucs’ struggles

  1. What did everyone expect from a guy who’s highest experience level was an assistant coordinator? Everyone in Tampa knows that Morris smack talked Gruden to the higher ups and kissed his way into the affirmative action position. Period.

    P.S. I’m Black so don’t even start.

  2. just like the lions people crowned the bucs as great before they won anything. younger player and younger coaches let things like that go to their head and it shows.

  3. i could say the same damn thing about my Eagles and every other team that sucks this year. but the TRUTH is you are what your record says you are, no excuses. do you really think fans are gonna say “oh. okay then. well that’s understandable.” just because you say you could practice as much as you needed too. gimme a break bro

  4. .

    True that the lockout probably hurt the younger, developing teams more than a mature club like the Steelers.

    True that the schedule which includes a resurgent NFC North is not favorable.

    True that the head coach should not be speaking publicly about such things.


  5. 11 padded practices is so sad. These guys are paid to play football. I agree with Morris on this. However, not a good enough excuse for this slide.

  6. I am not a fan of Morris or the Bucs but I think he is right. Minimal camp and lack of meaningful practices plus new players has to have contributed to the fall off of the entire NFL this year. I can not remember a year in which there were so many BAD teams as this year. This hasn’t probably had any more effect on Bucs than most others but the principle is correct. Sadly, most of the games are not worth watching. I will really have a hard time justifying renewing my DTV NFL package after this year!

  7. Even though they played Green Bay close, they weren’t going to win that game. The Packers played like it was a pre season game. They played 3rd and 4th stringers the entire game, knowing that they’ll be playing their 3rd game in 10 days on Thanksgiving. The Bucs have talent, but the play calling was horrible.

  8. Unless I missed something and other teams get more full-pads practices than the Bucs, this doesn’t explain why his team is losing.

  9. Sounds like a coach who doesn’t have a clue to me.

    It couldn’t possibly be the coaching could it ?

  10. I don’t see him using this as an excuse. What he is saying is essentially – give me more padded practices and my team will play harder.

    That is nothing new in football and it is obvious that the tackling league-wide is suffering this year. It looks like the CFL out there.

    This is all the make it easier on players so they won’t fight that 18-game schedule that is going to hit them in 2 years.

  11. More importantly, he needs to be careful to avoid the perception that he’s making excuses for underachievement.
    I think it’s a little too late for that.

  12. Yes, RM. I’m sure the record has nothing to do with playing three good teams in the NFC North vs. getting 4 Ws against the NFC West last season. You weren’t that good last season, you aren’t that good now.

  13. This guy is a joke with a loser’s mentality. Be a man and take the blame for your team’s struggles. Fact is your team wasn’t as good as you thought last year and they are facing reality. You have to constantly adjust and keep getting better if you want to stay relevant in this league. Morris doesn’t seem to know what it takes.

  14. While he is completely right that the rule is idiotic and probably DOES affect young teams, it still reeks of excusitis. Same as last week’s claim. Yes our schedule is brutal, no it is not an excuse for poor gameplanning, a lack of discipline, awful tackling, and abysmal playcalling. Last year Raheem went out of his way to NOT make excuses for losses; I wonder what made him completely change that stance.

  15. I’m confused as to why the media, and especially PFT, pointed to the Bucs “soft” schedule last year in an attempt to downplay their success, but are now disregarding the difficulty of their schedule as a reason for their struggles. Seems a bit hypocritical to me.

  16. Will you just shut the hell up Raheem.
    Nobody is interested or buying your poor exuses.
    Until you admit you are in over your head and the Bucs are getting out coached we don’t want to hear it.

    I mean another game goes by and yet again we get more examples of why you just aren’t very good at your jobs (HC and DC).

  17. Last weeks excuse: the schedule is too tough
    This weeks excuse: the NFL lockout
    Next weeks excuse: I can’t think of anymore excuses

  18. Since the Niners have made the “lockout excuse” null and void, I guess he needs to find some new excuse to deflect the blame from himself.


  19. (con’t)

    Ronde’s replacement and linebackers who could play the position we would be cool until then we will fight with Carolina for last in the division.

  20. “We put our pads on, had those guys go out and really fight for the balls”

    Yo Rah boyee you might want to rephrase that wassup

  21. I’m sorry but the owners put a deal on the table, the players wanted litigation. Saying the extended lockout is the reason for not meeting expectations is just blaming yourselves.

  22. Good thing the other 31 teams didn’t have to follow the same rules. Oh wait, they did Duh!

    The Texans D not only got a new coach but changed for a 4-3 to a 3-4, moved 2 DE to OLB, started a rookie at DE, have to small Nose Tackles, lost one OLB for the season and is now starting a rookie there. But they have the #1 D in the NFL!

  23. If Tebow says God is the reason for his success will Morris next blame God for his failure? This is a joke. Not what you want to see from an NFL head coach….

  24. This is a case of the media taking a snippet and putting their spin and weight behind it. This is why people like Belichick only say 4 or 5 cookie cutter responses.

  25. They’re an extremely young team so it goes to figure that they’d need practice more than a team with more experience, seems like a fair point. On the other hand everyone that follows the Bucs said this over the offseason, that teams like the Bucs would be hurt much more than teams like the Saints and the Bucs needed to add some veterans to help in this regard. They did not. That’s more the GMs fault than Morris’.

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