In a recent interview, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris put some of the blame on the Bucs struggles early in the season on the labor deal. He was not referring to the long layoff (at least, it doesn't appear that way), but instead is focusing on the amount of padded practices teams can have in a season. For those who don't know, a team gets 11 padded practices during the season. This was done in an effort to focus on player safety and not subject them to a daily bell ringing. Morris says that he burned 2 of his 11 padded practices prior to the Green Bay game and believes we saw a different team as a result.
You know, we got the collective bargaining agreement and we couldn’t put on pads as much and some of those things. But last week we pulled our mulligan, we had our two padded practices, got those guys to compete again. Mike Williams practiced hard all week and it transferred into the game, which was great for us
He then followed up with this (all from PFT).
"We put our pads on, had those guys go out and really fight for the balls in practice and have the DB’s really compete with those guys," Morris said. "And you see it show up in a game. Mike Williams was able to go up and make some of the dynamic catches that he made last year when the practice habits were a little bit different.
I don't know that I disagree with the logic, but I will say this. It is Morris' job and his job alone to get his guys ready to play. If he can't use padded practices because of the labor deal, then he needs to find something new. You can't rely on the same crutch, especially when the league has taken that crutch away.
Additionally, Morris and the Bucs have the same restrictions that the other 31 teams do. The Bucs are not at a disadvantage in comparison, so to fault this as the reason the Bucs are struggling is not genuine or accurate. It's poor fundamentals, lack of discipline, and an inability to get playmakers involved. I don't think it's a coincidence that a good effort on the offensive side of the ball came in a weak when Olson's game plan made more sense than previous weeks.
Look, I like Morris and think he can succeed as a head coach. But he has to stop making excuses and start doing what he wants his players doing; Be accountable to you and your team. Step up, man up, face the facts and make changes.