Nice to see Raheem dropping some knowledge on us lately. Many folks wondered why the axe fell on Derrick Brooks, Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard, Warrick Dunn, and Cato June... but not on Ronde Barber. Turns out, Raheem Morris still thinks he can play some football.
"He's staying because he touches the ball and he scores touchdowns," Morris said on the final day of the NFL owners' meetings. "I don't know any corner in this league that scores more touchdowns than Ronde Barber. I've seen him do it in bump, Cover 2, I've seen him blitz and pressure the quarterback. He's got some juice left. At the end of the season, the two guys leading the team in picks were Ronde and Aqib Talib - two ends of the spectrum. That's why Ronde's here."
Morris also gave a few brief thoughts about the defense:
"I'm going to make sure he has it," said Morris. "That's my job, and (general manager) Mark Dominik's job. We know what we're looking for. At defensive tackle, you re-sign a big guy like Ryan Sims. Chris Hovan is a smaller guy, but a tough guy who eats up blocks. You've kind of got the Jason Taylor type of guy in Gaines Adams, you've got Barrett Ruud, who is a Zach Thomas type of guy. I feel pretty good about it. If you're going to a 3-4, that would be different. Then you're talking about different body types. We've got creative ways to get what you need to get done."
Ryan Sims '09 hopefully isn't Ryan Sims '08.... the Ryan Sims who couldn't occupy blocks and keep blockers off the LBs after Haye went down. No doubt Barrett Ruud had a Zach Thomas'esque season. With 55 gone, he needs to take over as the leader of the defense like Thomas did in Miami.
On his outlook on the team and his coaching style:
"Call it naïve, call it young, but this is how I'm looking at it: I had 15 players before, now I've got 66. I've got 66 defensive backs sitting in front of me and I'm going to approach it like that. All my defensive backs have always been competitive, they've always done what I asked.
"I've always messed around with them in the locker room, I've always been demanding and they've responded. I'm going to treat them the same way. You have fun, you make it competitive. You tell Ronde Barber the same thing you'd tell him before – 'I'm gonna tolerate you until I can replace you.'
"Most great players are uncomfortable all the time anyway. I've never seen Ronde Barber comfortable. They're always a little uneasy because they want to be the best. They're competing against themselves for the most part. You guys call it a youth movement - I just call it getting younger so we can finish down the stretch.
"We want to be a tough, physical football team. How do you finish down the stretch? You get younger, you get guys that can finish down the stretch and you don't have the niggling, nagging injuries you had before. Plain and simple, not coaching scared."
Raheem's message... man's game. No more 8 mentions of our key injuries during each press conference. No more players getting Wednesday practices off (Joey Galloway). No more Mr. Nice Guy. Knock heads, ice it up, sack up.
Sounds like he likes you, Ronde...................................................................but don't suck this season!!!!