This offseason, the Bucs encountered what may have been the biggest free agent bonanza in NFL history. With two years of restricted free agents hitting the market simultaneously, a lot of talented players could help the Bucs. Some reports suggested the Bucs made some inquiries regarding a few of those players: CBs Nnamdi Asomugha and Johnathan Joseph were mentioned, as was T Doug Free. In the end the only quality free agent the Bucs signed was P Michael Koenen. And while that signing has worked out very well, it's hard not to ask "What if the Bucs had invested more in free agency."
And it seems that Raheem Morris is asking that same question. In his post-game press conference he said a lot of the right things: he took the blame for the loss, he would improve, he was not doing a good enough job and the team would just have to get better all around. But he also took some stabs at the quality of the players. Stephen Holder has made this point before, and did it again in reference to those quotes: Raheem Morris does not seem too happy with the quality of the players he has on the team right now.
The Bucs haven't yet made Raheem's press conference available, but The St. Petersburg Times has collected a few of those key quotes. So I'll take a look at a few of them, and see what they can tell us. Hit the jump for the quotes and analysis.
(In response to a question about needing better personnel)
There's no doubt about that. Obviously when you go out there and you give up 160 yards rushing and Cam Newton scrambles for a 22-yard big one, we had another big one popped out of there of 31 yards by Jonathan Stewart, you have to constantly try to improve our football team, which we will do. But you do see some positive pieces. We just have to make sure they become more consistent and smarter."
It can't be any more obvious than this: when asked about needing better personnel, Raheem Morris said "yes, please".
I need to go back and make sure we continue to build this team for the future. We've got a lot of young players. I don't want things to get away from us. We've got a lot of young, talented football players.
The key here: building for the future. This isn't about winning now, not anymore. But it also seems to signal a commitment to improving the team, and a certain amount of doubt that they've done enough. Raheem feels he needs to check whether they're still on track with building for the future. The six straight losses would suggest some problems there.
And we're getting better on defense as far as personnel. I don't want to make everything "Oh woe is me". To see Bowers go out there and play with the effort he gave today, that was certainly something special. To see Clayborn go out there and play with the effort he gave today, that was certainly something special. Knowing you're going to get some of those guys back and continue to build for the future, and to get a chance to go out there and watch a guy like Madu go out there and make a couple of plays, to be a part of the rotation, to get in there, to see some light is what we're looking for.
I think we see the same issue here: the lack of quality players, specifically on defense. Raheem feels they're getting better on defense with personnel, but that also suggests they're not there yet, and the results would certainly agree with that assessment.
I feel like this point had to be made: Raheem Morris isn't happy with the personnel he's been given. We don't know what the relationship is between Morris and Dominik, but it was pretty clear this offseason that if it had been up to Morris, the Bucs would have re-signed Ruud. Clearly he doesn't make the final calls. So to what extent does the blame for this six-game slide fall on Mark Dominik's shoulders?