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Raheem Morris Is Writing Checks the Bucs Can’t Cash

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One of the surprise stories of the NFL season thus far has been the 5-2 Buccaneers.  Led by second-year quarterback Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay is the youngest team in the NFL but that hasn’t stopped their second-year head coach, Raheem Morris, from claiming they’re the best team in the NFC despite two 25-point home losses this season.  Is he crazy?  I would go as far as saying they aren’t even the fifth-best team in the NFC.  Although it is a nice accomplishment for a franchise coming off a 3-13 season, it isn’t the sort of thing to prompt superlatives not even halfway through the season.  Nobody in their right minds thought the Bucs would even be competitive, let alone be tied for the NFC South division lead with the Atlanta Falcons.  On Sunday, Tampa Bay travels to Atlanta to take on another gritty, young football team when first place will be up for grabs.  It won’t be easy because they will have their hands full in trying to defend a Falcons offense loaded with Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez, and Roddy White, just to name a few.  Sunday afternoon we will see if in fact these Buccaneers are the best team in the NFC, and I can’t wait. Raheem Morris joined the Dan Patrick Show to talk about the notion that he has a lot of energy and that the Buccaneers are the best team in the NFC, whether he feeds off the media doubting them as the best team in the NFC with their weak schedule, and whether he is more surprised by Josh Freeman’s development or LaGarrette Blount.

On the notion that he has a lot of energy and that the Buccaneers are the best team in the NFC:

“You know I have had a really hard time focusing on being the best team in the NFC.  I heard about the show, Against the Grain, first I thought it was a show about multi-grain vitamins, which I am allergic to, and then I figured out that I couldn’t stop listening to us and now I’m having a hard time focusing.”

When he usually decides on a final gameplan heading into a game:

“I don’t know if there is ever a real comfort status right up until you get to the game, right up until that Saturday night meeting that you have with the fellas.  Once you get all the wrinkles out and once you get all the guys into the room and they feel comfortable and you have that meeting together and we all kind of have fun together, then you go into your team meeting and you can feel the energy from your team, and your football team and how excited they are about the next day and it is just a process of getting to the stadium and then watching those guys go out there and work.  As a coach, we always say that we work six days of the week and then on that 7th is a joy to watch you guys go out there and work.”

Whether he feeds off the media doubting them as the best team in the NFC with their weak schedule:

“I don’t know about feed off of it but what I have done all my life is strive to be the best.  That is something that was instilled in me on my parents and something that has instilled in us throughout all of my coaching but it helped me throughout my career.  You have got to believe that you are the best.  No different than I would expect you to instill in your kids or your children or anyone you were giving advice to or you wouldn’t have any chance.  That is the only way I can attack it and the only way I can be, and it’s just who we are.  It is not a false confidence, it’s not to try to trick anyone or even talk trash.  It’s just for me it is about a mentality and I believe it is a mentality before it is ever a reality.”

When the last time he talked to Jon Gruden:

“I talked to him a couple of weeks ago via texts.  We have been talking about this stuff and he is wishing me luck.  I learned so many lessons from him I talked about recently.  I got to do it on the Coaches Show, with Coach Billick and some of those guys and we talked about the keys of, how do you set up your blitz?  I really thought about it and I have been around all of these great defensive coaches and he was one of the intricate parts that taught me about attacking offense and how you have got to prepare, how you study…”

Whether he is more surprised by Josh Freeman’s development or LaGarrette Bolunt:

“I would have to say LaGarrette Blount.  With Josh Freeman, I was fortunate enough to be around him as a young man in college and I have seen him go through this process, at a smaller level, but on the same intensity.  I’ve watched him come in and I have watched him grind and I watched him go through the process of who he was going to become and be ready to be before he became a first round draft pick and I knew it would be no different when he got to the pros because I know he is one of those kids that wants to be the very best at what he does.  With LaGarrette Blount, it was a process.  It was a process of going back, studying the background, finding out who he was, being able to talk to the people who knew him, your common friends, your common relationships, getting him involved with your program, getting him here, teaching him in the program within a 7-week process and now finally having him being able to rise to the occasion and outing him as a part of our team.  It has been fun to watch and it’s been a good thing.”

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