Rah expedition is sailing with no direction
Raheem Morris quickly hit on something, like a nail in a coffin, after yet another piece of non-recyclable waste, in this case a 26-3 loss to the Jets. "I told the team right there, we came a little flat in practice on Friday and those are the results you get when you don't practice hard every day," Morris said.
So that was it - Friday practice. We knew there was a reason why Josh Freeman kept right on throwing interceptions to start this one, why the Bucs had 15 yards of offense and no first downs at halftime, why this team is regressing, looking as aimless as it has all this already 12-loss season, enough to make you wonder what the head coach must do the final three weeks.
The arrow at least has to be pointed up. Right now it's aimed at a shallow grave. How can the Glazers not look at this disorganized mess (one they helped create) and all those empty seats and not at least think about pricing chopping blocks?
I still say Freeman remains Morris' get-out-of-jail card, but: Friday practice?
That's not to say Friday doesn't matter. History shows it does. There was Napoleon's awful Friday practice before Waterloo. We hear Custer tore the 7th Cavalry up one side and down the other at the walk-through for Little Big Horn. And, of course, there was Friday practice at Ford's Theater.
"How many times I got to tell you, Pinkerton - you look at the president's box from the inside."
A few weeks ago, I figured Morris was safe, even with more fired coordinators than wins, so long as the Bucs had a good December, showed signs of progress, Freeman improved and neither Bill Cowher nor Mike Shanahan purchased condos on Reddington Beach.
But December has been rough and Freeman has looked rougher. He was intercepted on Sunday's first play from scrimmage. The Bucs took until the third quarter to get a first down ... and it came on a Jets penalty. The defense, which has showed slight signs of life since Morris took over, nevertheless has lost to three backup quarterbacks in three weeks.
And Morris keeps doing just the kind of things that will get you fired at 1-12 when 1-12 isn't enough by itself, and it isn't for a rookie head coach, unless he keeps looking so, well, rookie.
You never know where the Rah expedition is sailing. It blows with the wind. Take that onside kick after the Bucs scored to make it 19-3. Gutsy move that worked. Well done. The Bucs got the ball at their own 42. But after three plays and no first down - shocking - Morris opted to punt on fourth-and-2 from midfield. Huh?
If you're going to onside kick, why not go for it, too? There's been too much of that schizoid decision making, and not just because of coordinator flux.
Sometimes I really believe the only thing that makes Morris safe is that idea of the Glazers paying three head coaches at once. Remember, they're still on the hook for Jon Gruden. But the G-Men might be willing to do it if the right (big) name is out there. That has to be on the table. What are they going to do, spend the money on players?
Two seasons ago, the Dolphins went 1-15, but became a playoff team last year. The Ravens and Falcons were big losers two seasons ago, but became playoff teams last season, with rookie quarterbacks, no less. Turnarounds do happen.
But you can't finish on a flat line. That's Morris and the Bucs. Maybe they could beg for some Thursday night games. That'll nip Friday practice right in the bud.
Martin Fennelly, The Tampa Tribune 14 December 2009