To me, Raheem Morris didn’t get anywhere close to enough time to do his job as a head coach in Tampa. I’m actually surprised that one of the other teams looking for a head coach didn’t give him a real close look after he was let go by the Buccaneers, but instead he wound up as the defensive backs coach with the Washington Redskins.
Yes, Morris went 17-31 in three seasons with the Bucs, and wasn’t able to build on a 10-6 season in his second year. They won just four games this past season, but he had a young team that I think could have bounced back. Hopefully he gets another shot, though he’s clearly not dwelling on the past given his thoughts in the following interview.
Raheem Morris joined WDAE in Tampa with Dan Sileo to discuss if he knew he was going to work this year, the option he had to go to Minnesota, what he learned from his first head-coaching job, if his team was too young, if he was given enough time, the progression of Josh Freeman and the mistakes he made.
Was it a no-brainer for you that you were going to work this year?:
“Not even a thought to sit out. I’m entirely too young to do things like that. I just wanted to get back to some people that I could be around. I have a lot of familiarity in Washington with the people working here. … Obviously coming down here and having the opportunity to be with these guys … it was a no-brainer decision. I had a couple different places I could go. Those places didn’t fit as well for me. Obviously Washington offered me first and I gave them my commitment.”
It’s been said the Vikings were going to offer you the defensive coordinator position, but you felt more comfortable in Washington?:
“It didn’t go down exactly that way. I went to Washington and I definitely felt as comfortable as you can feel. … Going out to Minnesota and interviewing, that following day, they took their time and really interviewed myself and, I believe, a couple others. They came back and offered me the job probably a week after I had taken the job in Washington and I didn’t really feel comfortable leaving these guys after giving them my word … and them finding a way to fit me in.”
What did you learn about your whole experience with Tampa Bay?:
“I wouldn’t change anything about it. You put yourself in a position of power and you put yourself out there and you want to go out there and want to be great and we had the opportunity and almost pulled it off. I take no ill-will, no negative feelings toward those guys, toward the Bucs organization at all. … Now we’ve separated and I wish those guys nothing but the best.”
Was the team too young to understand what it’s like to play in the NFL?:
“I wouldn’t say that. The year that we went 10-6, people say you’re too young, but we just went out and won. This year, we didn’t have some of that same fortune. Some of those games we won by three, some of those games Josh pulled off fourth-quarter comebacks, didn’t play in our favor this year. For whatever, reason, it just didn’t work out that way. You can’t say you’re too young. … I’m not going to sit here, after the fact, and make excuses about what we could have done or what we should’ve done or point fingers at anybody. I told everybody during the season, whatever happens this season … you put it directly on me. And I have no problem saying that right now.”
Do you think you were given enough time?:
“I’m not going to sit here and cry over spilled milk. The Glazers gave me an unbelievable opportunity when they looked me in my face and shook my hand and told me it was an opportunity job. I knew exactly what that meant. That meant we had to go out there and win. … I wasn’t able to get it done this year and I’ll take all the heat for that and my coaching staff and we did and hopefully the next guys can get it going.”
What does Josh Freeman have to work on to get to that next level?:
“Josh has really been able to go to the next level at this point. He’s gotten smarter, gotten wiser. Obviously he’ll get a new offense and get some new things, but it’s all about situational football for him. He’s gone to that point where he can call his next play. … All those things are going to happen for Josh Freeman because he wants it so bad.”
What was the one mistake you think you made?:
“I think it was more than one. When you get put in those positions, you make more than one mistake and I certainly can tell you I made some mistakes. … With all that being said, those mistakes you have to make in order to go into battle. When you make these calls and go through these things, you believe in them. When you look back, and reflect, if they were mistakes, it’s something you can sit there and deal with, and I do.”