The question that will occupy a lot of minds the next few weeks is: will Raheem Morris be fired? No one except the Glazers can answer that question. We can all speculate, but the Glazers have done a lot of surprising things through the year. I tried to analyze what they would do before the game against the Jaguars, but we really can't do better than educated guesses at this point.
But we can discuss whether we think Raheem should be fired. And yes, at this point, I think he deserves to lose his job. I have long supported Morris, because I felt like he was a young head coach getting the best possible result out of limited talent. He was showing progress, developing a core of young talent that was responding to his coaching, and he seemed to be building a team for the long haul.
But that progress has disappeared in 2011. In fact, the team has collapsed and players have wildly regressed. The team has some holes, but a lot of players are under-performing - and that's on the coach. Not only that, but this team has developed a knack for finding ways to lose by self-destructing. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars they did just that. After jumping out to a 14-0 lead, seven turnovers and a host of penalties sparked an embarrassing loss to a very poor team.
And that is why Raheem Morris needs to go: the team has regressed.
There are a lot of factors at play here, and I'm not suggesting that Raheem Morris is solely responsible for this year's slide. The Bucs have faced arguably the hardest schedule in the league, which can make any team look bad. Certainly there are holes on the roster that Mark Dominik could have filled during the offseason, but didn't. Certainly Raheem Morris isn't teaching Legarrette Blount to fumble the ball, Josh Freeman to throw interceptions, Kellen Winslow to commit holding penalties.
But all those things are happening on his watch, and he can't correct them. I could forgive losses, had the team looked competitive. I could forgive some sloppy play if the team was improving in that area. And I could forgive a poor offensive performance if Raheem Morris' defense, the one he coordinates, was playing better. But those things aren't happening, and the Bucs haven't looked like a good team all season.
Worse yet, very simple things are consistently falling apart. No on on defense seems to know how to tackle anymore, and the Bucs can't figure out how to teach players that pretty fundamental skill. Penalties continue to plague a team, something that is undoubtedly caused by youth, but also something that the head coach has to fix in whatever way he can.
In three years time, Raheem Morris has built a defense that can't tackle or cover and an offense that looks disjointed and doesn't have an identity. I have little faith at this point that Morris can fix those problems in the future. I enjoyed your head coaching tenure, Raheem, but it's time for the Bucs to move on.