The QB Blasts: Morris Must Improve Immediately

January 6th, 2010

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson


Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson writes the weekly QB Blast column here at Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

Before we look forward to 2010 and a Buccaneers “future so bright you gotta wear shades” (thank you Jon Gruden), let’s look back on 2009 and see what can be improved upon — hopefully.

This year’s team finished 2-2 in the final four games, while Gruden’s team in ’08 finished 0-4. That’s a positive trend, but the defense looked exactly like the Monte Kiffin defense of a year ago and couldn’t stop the run to save their lives in the season finale against an average Atlanta Falcons program that finished five games better than the Bucs, good enough for second in the NFC South.

The offense sputtered in that finale, not capitalizing on an opening kickoff turnover in the red zone and only scoring 10 points on the day.

At this writing Raheem Morris is the coach for 2010, but it seems like that could still change at any moment. I for one believe that one year is not sufficient for anyone to be given a fair chance at success, even though egregious errors were made throughout this season.

Hiring two coordinators and firing two coordinators, one before the season began, are blunders beyond explanation, and expensive ones at that. But only the Glazers have to worry those kind of wasted funds. Or does that come directly out of the free-agent budget?

The Byron Leftwich experiment was another obvious and expensive waste of everyone’s time and energy and was chronicled by me in the spring. The Luke McCown trade took his salary off the books, but not his multi-million dollar signing bonus. So, our rookie quarterback (who came out of college a year early) and savior-in-training learned from veteran Leftwich for three games and second-year man (with zero experience) Josh Johnson for four games before taking the reins.

As I said in June after hearing Raheem Morris talk about potentially speeding up Freeman’s development, what would keep you from wanting to maximize any player’s development at the fastest rate? Shouldn’t every player be on the fastest track possible to be ready if needed? Nonsensical.

I can’t remember a special teams coach being given a chance to jump to NFL Head Coach, but Rich Bissacia’s name has been thrown out there and he should be the league’s assistant coach of the year. Without the special teams’ performance, this Buccaneer team would have surely matched the Detroit Lions record for futility.

Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris made a bold move in the spring and let Jeff Garcia, Derrick Brooks and Joey Galloway find greener pastures and only Galloway and Garcia saw limited action. I had no problem with the unexpected exodus, but it seemed that the Bucs move to youth from top to bottom left a vacuum of leadership that was sorely needed.

And finally, while Morris may never stop chest-bumping (he has a very nice vertical don’t you think?) and coaching with an unmatched energy from the sideline, he turned off the music at practice and may even stop taking time-outs before his offense makes critical 3rd-and-1 conversions.

Here’s to a new year of growing up, learning from the past and improving in the immediate future.

6 Responses to “The QB Blasts: Morris Must Improve Immediately”

  1. FlBoy84 Says:

    “Here’s to a new year of growing up, learning from the past and improving in the immediate future.” Well said Jeff.

  2. FlBoy84 Says:


    I was under the impression that part of a QB coaches job was to work with their QB’s on mechanics issues, if needed. I most definitely could be wrong, but that was my impression. In an article you did previously, you mentioned that most teams don’t have someone on staff to work with QB’s on tightening up the mechanics. Can you clarify?

  3. sensiblefan Says:

    “I can’t remember a special teams coach being given a chance to jump to NFL Head Coach…”

    John Harbaugh for the Ravens!

    I really hope they can find a way to keep Rich. His units have been one of the few bright spots this year.

  4. Mr. Lucky Says:

    I gotta say Jeff that was a fairly even-handed concise year in review Goldilocks post – not too hard, not too soft but just right.

    While I know you don’t respond to these posts might I suggest that next week (or sometime in the future) you would provide a guideline/template that YOU would use if you were the Bucs QB coach &/or offensive coordinator.

    My impression of Freeman is/was this:

    I think the organization expected too much from Freeman and kind of left him dangling in the wind on several occassions.

    I would have liked to see a “simplier” playbook, more reliance on a running game that never really materialized and very little, if any, half-time corrections taken by the Bucs.

    While I understand being behind by 10+ points throws a wrench into a coach’s game plan I wish the Bucs had been less concerned with “winning” on the shoulder of their rookie QB and more concerned with playing basic/fundamental football – ball control and moving the chains.

  5. ChuckInJax Says:

    As usual, Jeff, GREAT stuff!!!! My only input is that we have Timbuk 3 to thank for the ‘future’s so bright…” bit, not Chuckie…Thanks, as always!

  6. Jeff Carlson Says:

    FlBoy84, You are under the correct assumption that a QB coach should be there to tweak the mechanics, etc. But the cold, hard reality is that of all the QB coaches in the league, only a few have ever been a QB or know much about correcting problems with different motions, so they just leave them alone and work on the X’s and O’s of the individual plays, understanding the defenses and different blitzes for that week’s game, making sure the QB knows all of his checks (audibles).
    Byron Leftwich said he worked on improving his mechanics everyday. What did he work on? He certainly didn’t improve or change anything from his days with Jacksonville, Atlanta or Pittsburgh.
    Even though guys are given credit for “developing” QB’s (Charlie Weiss and Tom Brady or the Gators’ Scott Loeffler with Brady, Brian Griese and others while at Michigan), they don’t help them improve their throwing technique, they try to help them make better decisions with the ball. Did you see Tim Tebow’s throwing motion improve this year under Loeffler, the guy that “developed” Tom Brady? Not a bit in my opinion.
    I don’t think Charlie Weiss, who never played football at all, is giving clinics to Tom Brady, Brady Quinn or his newest guy Jimmy Clausen. Scouts say Clausen will be a #1 pick and he probably will be, but quote me as saying he won’t be a good pro. He hasn’t improved his “strange” throwing technique in three years under Weiss, who has had him since high school.
    So, can we expect Josh Freeman to improve his throwing fundamentals? No. Small changes to his weight transfer and his follow-through would put him on balance after the release of the ball, resulting in a more consistent outcome.
    Freeman will probably become a better QB by better decision making skills, which is what the QB/Offensive Coordinator will be working on throughout the offseason, training camp and during the season. If he makes better decisions, his stats should improve. If he was able to improve his mechanics, his ball would be more accurate more often.
    If he combined both, he would make large improvements in his play and the team’s potential for winning more games.