There are too many factors to just fire the coach
If your reading this, there is a very good chance you’ve been a Bucs fan for a long time, maybe even from the good ole orange days. OK, they were not all so good! But we weathered the storm and hung on to our team, and eventually, we became winners. I can handle a one season losing streak, and I’m sure you can too.
This is why I wont be too upset if the Glazers decide they need to see one more year of Raheem Morris, because there are just too many factors at play to blame it all on the head coach. This team 8 weeks ago was looking back at 16 wins in 24 weeks! It was 4-2 and tied for first place in the NFC South and had a 2-0 record in the division. So what’s really wrong with the Bucs in 2011?
Lack of veteran leadership is one problem. Raheem Morris is just the head coach, he has assistants under him, but real leadership comes from players. If you were a rookie coming into the Bucs locker-room with Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, and John Lynch, you better believe you would be obeying the coach’s mandates. There is no one to dictate that to the players.
Accountability: Players screw up, then wont talk to the media. Kellen Winslow Jr has been on the team 3 years, and hasn’t done ONE radio show on Bucs radio network. That’s a lack of accountability, and too many people are blaming the head coach for that.
If a player misses a meeting, we say, “That’s coaching”. If a player gets in a fight in a bar, we say, “That’s coaching”. If a player blows an assignment he was taught over and over in practice, we say, “That’s coaching”.
No, it's players playing, and there is no one in the locker room to grab a player like that by the ears and say “You better listen to what coach says”.
Lack of quality player input/depth. The Bucs plan has been to build through the draft, and it’s a sound plan. But you can’t rely only on one aspect of team building, because no one is perfect at anything. If you miss out on a couple draft choices, your whole plan goes up in smoke.
There is no need to become Philadelphia, but if you go out and get one or two good free agents each year, you increase the talent level on your roster, without changing the chemistry of your team. Earnest Graham goes down, which he has each year now, and you’re left with a one-dimensional runner.
Rumors are the Bucs will be active in Free Agency again in 2012, well it’s a MUST. Nothing else will make as much of a difference. One or two TOP Free Agents must be secured, to show Bucs fans that the Bucs do care, and people who renew season tickets aren’t the only ones investing in the team.
Lack of competition - this may be the biggest problem of them all. Geno Hayes and Quincy Black were told, “Here you go, its your job to have”. An NFL position is not something given, its something earned. Only a handful of Bucs have been given competition at their position. Hayes and Black were not, and they are terrible.
Wide Receivers Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn- “Here you go, congrats guys, your our starting WR”. They had to be saying, “Wow what did I do?” Indeed, not much this year. You did something last year, but as the old saying goes, Last year is SO Last Year!
Meanwhile Michael Bennett and Da’Quan Bowers were locked into battle for the RIGHT to start at left DE. Bennett won, and the highly drafted rookie would have to wait. Both players benefitted from this competition.
Quality Assistant coaching- No one here really knows whose good or not, and it usually doesn’t come out until the next season that the players tuned out this coach, or that coach. But Keith Millard is one assistant coach who has done his job, and his unit shows. QB pressure has been consistent, with sacks coming at regular intervals.
All bets are off for offensive assistant coaches though. Not too many teams go into shotgun on a regular basis when its 3rd and 2. Especially when shotgun takes out your best runner.
The lack of offseason could be the No.1 factor for this Bucs team. It was said by many well-respected people that first and second year football players would be most affected by the lockout. The Bucs have nothing but first and second year players at ALL key positions.
Josh Freeman spent the whole offseason at One Buc in 2010 going over every possible angle to the QB position, and he came out with a great season. This year, he was practically begging for coaching, even trying to institute a camp of his own, for naught. The result has been a season that has seen Freeman lead the league in interceptions, when last year he was among the leaders in fewest.
Players QUIT/Ready for 2012- Young players lack discipline, something that cannot be coached, but comes from within. Donald Penn was the first to publically say “I can’t wait until OTAs 2012 so we can learn again and get better”. Some players have quit on the season. They haven’t quit on Raheem Morris, they’ve quit on themselves, on the team, and they quit when the game goes into doubt.
Tony Dungy talked about losing as a cancer when he came to coach the Bucs. As DC for the Vikings, whenever they would play the Bucs he would tell his team to get up on the Bucs quick because they would quit, because losing became a mentality in Tampa Bay. But let the Bucs hang in there and they would gain confidence.
Well these young immature 2011 Bucs are doing the same thing. They would do it no matter who the coach is. If they had all this respect for Morris, and we know they did, then some guy coming in yelling at them isn’t going to make a difference.
The new CBA limits what a coach can do to punish a team anyways. It’s a player like Hardy Nickerson, or Brooks or Sapp or Lynch is what it takes to wake up a young immature player, but the Bucs have rid themselves of such players, and they need to get them back soon.
We’ve all been through bad times; these are different times with the NFL in 2011. The Bucs defense is horrible bad, 30th, but you k now who the two teams are who are worse than the Bucs? The Packers and Patriots. Bill Belichick’s Pats, a defensive coach, is last in NFL defense.
Would it really hurt to give Morris one more year to see who the real Bucs are? Who the real Freeman is? Correct the mistakes above, and there is no reason to think the 2012 Bucs wouldn’t make us proud, and maybe even have us calling for Raheem Morris for Coach of the Year, like we were doing one year ago at this time.