From what I can gather the first day of Mini Camp with Raheem Morris at the helm went off without a hitch. Predictably (in a good way) he gave a rousing team meeting prior to the players actually hitting the practice field. QB Luke McCown glowed about the meeting saying it was ‘fantastic’. Raheem wouldn’t give the media any hints about what he discussed other than saying it was a truthful and impactful meeting that was from the heart and apparently it energized his guys. He also alluded to calling out players in front of their teammates (family as Raheem would put it), to prove a point that they are going to be a tight knit group. He was challenging players and letting them know there won’t be an atmosphere of one-on-one meetings of he-said-she-said conjecture. At this point I wouldn’t expect anything less from Raheem as he has proven to be a great motivator early on.
You get a sense that Raheem brings the fire that Coach Gruden brought to the table, but he’s completely different from a communication with his players standpoint. Rather than talk to his guys individually about their issues, he addresses their concerns amongst the group. In a way he gets held accountable by all eyes that are present. Gone are the days of a player thinking a meeting went one way only to hear Gruden discuss it in another light to the media. There are 53 pairs of ears to witness said meetings. That goes a long way to building trust amongst the team and accountability on top of that.
WR Michael Clayton echoes these sentiments:
"I think he got everybody's attention in terms of the discipline we're going to have and the character of the team and what it needs to be. From Day 1 he hit a homerun with that, and everybody is excited. Everybody wants to see him successful. He has worked as hard as we have, guys that have been drafted, trying to keep their jobs. We've seen him approach greatness. Now that he's been put in the driver's seat we're all a family now. He's leading the ship and we're all the workers on it. To see him successful means we're all successful. I think everybody wants that for him because he's so young, so in touch with the players, and to have a coach like Raheem it's a good feeling." - Pewter Report
LB Barrett Ruud talks about Raheem’s ability to communicate:
"I think how smart and sharp he is, you obviously have fun, but he's a detailed guy. He's on top of everything. He communicates well. He's going to let you know what he thinks, show you his rules and ask for your input, and then come to a conclusion. I think he's a real intelligent guy and communicates real well. I think those are important for a head coach." - Pewter Report
You might wonder what a team can get out of a three day minicamp in April that doesn’t allow any contact. For first time Head Coach Raheem Morris this minicamp is instrumental in getting into the flow of things and taking the reins of this team from day one. Morris discussed wanting to use these three days as a way to instill the guys timing, execution, and precision; the little things basically. The toughness, physical, and violent implementation will come during Training Camp. We are months away from seeing contact, but is the excitement starting to build for you? Obviously we are coming into the season as underdogs, just about everyone is going to overlook us thinking we are in transition mode and that may just be the case, but the players are buying in and that can transform a team quicker than anything…