Last season, Raheem Morris became the youngest head coach in the NFL at thirty-two years old. Tampa Bay knew they would have growing pains during his first year, but never did a 3-13 season seem possible. I guess it all started with the crappy coordinators that he surrounded himself with. Morris fired his offensive coordinator, former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski, just 10 days before the season opener and then fired his defensive coordinator, Jim Bates, when the Bucs started off the season 0-7. In his first year on the job, it appeared at times that Morris was overwhelmed with the duties of being an NFL head coach. He made plenty of wrong decisions but one of the best decisions Morris made was taking over as defensive coordinator for the rest of the season returning to the Tampa-2 defense he knows best. From then on, the Bucs ranked 15th in total defense, ninth in scoring and stunned the Super Bowl Champion Saints at the Superdome in overtime behind rookie quarterback and first-round draft choice Josh Freeman. Having coached the Bucs seven out of the eight years prior, Morris is very popular with his players, but when you are a young coach at any level, there is a fine line between being a coach and being a friend.
As a Falcons fan, I was able to witness former head coach Jim Mora play ‘buddy-buddy’ with his players, in particular Mike Vick, and that didn’t last for long. Morris needs to avoid stepping over that line as he matures into a head coach. A young coach, second-year quarterback and rebuilding defense mixes like vinegar and oil and smells like another disaster waiting to happen.
Raheem Morris joined WDAE in Tampa to talk about what Warren Sapp’s involvement with the young players on the team, his thoughts on what the number one lesson he learned last season will bring with him into this season, and his thoughts on Gerald McCoy saying that ‘the money is going to be there. That is for my family. I am a football player’.
What Warren Sapp’s involvement with the young players on the team:
“Warren, make no mistakes about it, he is always going to be a teacher. Warren Sapp is an excellent teacher. You may not like his tactics but he is excellent teacher and if you sit down and listen he is probably saying the right things. I remember being a quality control coach and when Warren would get into the building and he talked everybody didn’t like what he had to say but a lot of times he was telling the truth. You have got heat to that and right now he has talked to these young men and they are talking back and they are able to listen and gain some knowledge from. Any time you can get that from that type of guy it is awesome. Speaking of excellence, we were able to bring in Angelo Dundee in here to our training camp and he is able to come in and see some of our football team and talk to our team, whenever you can surround yourself with that type of knowledge, that type of people, you have no choice but to get better.”
His thoughts on what the number one lesson he learned last season will bring with him into this season:
“The beauty of it is that it is all blown up, everybody is 0-0. The number one thing that you bring into it is the angry, working mentality that we always talk about. Ronde Barber is the greatest example of them all. I always tell people all of the time that he is still pissed off that he wasn’t drafted in the first round, he is still angry that he wasn’t elected to every Pro Bowl, he is still angry that he didn’t start his first year, he is still angry that the Bucs tried to replace him with a different corner every year. He is still angry that he wasn’t the highest-paid corner in the National Football League for the last nine years and that is what keeps him going right now. He is still angry that people say what he can’t do, he is still angry that he is thirty-five playing football and he loves that and he thrives in that. That is what this whole team has to feed off of and take that angry, working mentality and put it into the football field and apply it and go out there angry as we race to ten.”
His thoughts on whether the contract issues surrounding some of the NFL players holding out is just a matter of priority until the deals get done:
“You know I think it is more less being a part of the process or pecking order, so to speak. It is more about where we are as a CBA state, and that is where we are. Those guys understand the business of it and what is going on and we got to go out there and work. That is our job and that is what we mean. It is not an angry football player so to speak, it is the angry workers. We are all underpaid an everybody wants to make more money but we have got to look back, sit back, take a deep breath and we have a great game, in great financial standing, and we all our lucky. We are living out our dreams and it is hard to do sometimes when you are a professional athlete. There are people out there working their butts off and these are tough times. They come to see the Bucs and they come to see us. What I try to exude is happiness and love for the guys that come out there and watch us and that is what they got to do as well.”
His thoughts on Gerald McCoy saying that ‘the money is going to be there. That is for my family. I am a football player’:
“That has got to be his belief. He has just got to go out there and prove it and I think he will. The young man has done a lot of great things since he has been here and that is where the football team has got to be and that mentality has to be ingrained into him and to everybody else and that is what the angry mentality that Ronde speaks of. In his mind, he is still a third round corner, he just got picked, ‘I don’t have any money’, and we all know different, but in his mind that is what drives him. In his mind that is what is going to help McCoy and his mentality and everybody else on our football team.”
Tags: 2010 NFL Football, 2010 NFL Training Camp, 2nd year head coach, Gerald McCoy, NFC South, NFL Football, one of the youngest coaches in the NFL, Raheem Morris, rookies in training camp, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach