It gets worse with each loss. It mounts with each blown coverage, every interception and each dropped pass. And all they want is a sign: Something to give them hope that the Buccaneers will be washed of their seven sins this season and get into the win column.
The natives are getting restless, and they want Raheem Morris out.
The blog forums are threaded with "Fire Morris" petitions. The stands are peppered with brown-bagged heads. If not for the Rams, there would be talk of Tampa Bay as the worst team in the NFL, primed for a winless season. While it’s easy to point at Morris for the teams inability to do . . . well, anything, it’s fair to say he needs more time.
After all, what do Tony Dungy, Jeff Fisher and Andy Reid all have in common? Yes, they have all been to the Super Bowl. They’ve all had wildly successful coaching careers.
And they all had inauspicious beginnings.
Reid, now in his 11th season as Eagles head coach, started his head coaching career losing 11 games, including seven of his first nine. Fisher started as interim coach with the Houston Oilers in 1994 by losing five straight. The following season he started 2-5. Tampa Bay’s beloved Dungy started his career 1-8, losing his first five.
And they saw the same potential in Morris. Potential he still has, given enough time to grow. Coaching is a lot like playing quarterback in the NFL. Some come out of college and perform immediately (Matt Ryan, Ben Roethelisberger, Dan Marino). Others take time to learn and adjust before becoming great (Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner). It depends on where they come from and what tutelage they’ve had access to.
Accordingly, a head coach is only as good as his assistants. Morris’s cast, whose jobs are as secure as a public restroom (and given the performance thus far, share the same rotten stench), has underperformed and failed to make proper halftime adjustments to take advantage of opportunities to put teams away. So if it’s sacrifice you want, perhaps you should look at Morris’s herd first, specifically Jim Bates and Greg Olson, before calling for Morris’s head.
We’ll learn a lot about Morris and his future in the coming weeks when his hand-picked quarterback, Josh Freeman, begins his career as a starter in the NFL. Morris bet the house on Freeman, wagering the No. 17 overall pick in last year’s draft. And the question remains: Will Morris cash-in? Or will he be fired and become a coordinator with another team, scrambling for more chips?
Sure, It gets worse with each loss. But if it’s truly to the point where it cannot get much worse, Morris should be spared for now. We still have nine more games and a high draft pick to determine if the franchise is headed in the right direction, and if Morris is the guy to take it there.