Interesting post on yahoo by Jason Cole. The post is about Morris' job, but the Talib comments were the most interesting to me.
For the record, I thought we needed Talib back for a couple reasons. Most importantly, I wasn't sure he was guilty (and I'm still not). Plus I had zero confidence in our other corners (other than Ronde). Was it the right move to keep him? I'm still not sure. His play has been way down this year, but he has also been struggling with minor injuries all season. In the couple of games where he looked healthy he played pretty well. However, moving forward I think we need to plan for a future without Talib and Barber. Scary to think of how bad the secondary would be without those 2, even in a down year.
This offseason, Morris became too much of the first example when he spoke up for Talib. After getting arrested for the gun incident, Tampa Bay management was ready to cut ties with Talib once and for all, according to a team source. General manager Mark Dominik didn’t care about Talib’s supreme talent, the distractions were no longer worth the drama, the source said. Talib had been in at least four altercations with teammates and coaches before the gun incident and was arrested for assaulting a taxi driver in 2009.
Because of the lockout, the Bucs couldn’t follow through right away, giving Morris time to talk Dominik away from the proverbial ledge. In the process, Morris sent a message to his young team that talent trumps character.
The most interesting thing in the article comes right after the above quote:
“Wrong message,” a Bucs player said this week. “Raheem believes he can get through to anybody and he can, to an extent. Guys do listen to him. But sometimes they have to see that you’re going to back it up … [Talib] is a huge talent, but you have to know there are certain guys who are impossible to get through to.”
Which player said this? I guess it doesn't matter much, but it is clear that at least some players are concerned about this sort of thing. You've got Morris sending Price home in the middle of a game for a stupid personal foul, but Talib has never been disciplined like that for his personal fouls. Is Talib above the rules on this team? It sure looks like he's been getting preferential treatment from where I sit. At least one player is saying that message has been received loud and clear the players, and is implying that Talib is impossible to reach.
Obviously there are much bigger issues with the team than this. It is just one more drop in the steady drip drip drip of evidence that discipline on this team has been at best uneven, and at worst completely missing until very recently.