In just under 9 days, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will commence their 2009 training camp. With the opening of training camp comes a new defensive coordinator (Jim Bates), a new offensive coordinator (Jeff Jagodzinksi), a new general manager (Mark Dominik) and of course, a new head coach, Raheem Morris.
Training camp is where teams are built, foundations are laid and teams start to form an identity. This is even more important under a new head coach, particularly one that has not been a coordinator or head coach at the NFL level. This will be the first true test for Morris and company. There is a big (ego) void to fill with Gruden gone, a big leadership role to fill with Brooks gone. Talent evaluation starts with the most important position.
Being a fiery guy, Morris shouldn't have any trouble motivating the players and getting the best out of them in the early part of the season. Will he be able to sustain the support of the players (and management) all year? Early indications seem to suggest the players are fired up to have him as their coach. But what support will he get from the fans? Largely unknown, most fans were a bit disappointed with the hiring of Morris. Best thing he can do is win. Everyone loves you when you win.
There are tons of questions facing Morris as the Bucs enter training camp. How will he handle practices? Will he an the other new coaches be able to properly evaluate the talent and put the best 11 players on the field on both sides of the ball? Can he control the locker room? Will he be able to earn or get respect as a young head coach?
Lots of questions, answers are coming.