THE OPTIMIST: Raheem Shouldn’t Take The Fall

December 10th, 2011

You’ve all read THE PESSIMIST, who spews his Bucs-related anger like no other. But Joe also brings you THE OPTIMIST

THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the Buccaneers goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of, a place Joe goes to get lost in time via Houllis’ stunning video collection.

THE OPTIMIST will shine that positive light in your eyes. Some will love it. Some won’t.

We have now seen the Bucs fall and trip over themselves for six straight games. The defense has crumbled to 1985 proportions, and maybe even worse. The Bucs are on pace to give up more points than any Bucs team ever since that era.

The outside linebackers are completely outclassed, and the secondary is shamefully not tackling anyone, other than No. 20.

We can’t complain about the loss of Gerald McCoy because other teams have injuries, look at the Houston Texans. They were down their best D-ineman and wide receiver, and blew us out of the Bay.

This team has only one running back, and the Bucs offensive coordinator doesn’t know how to use him. Not that it’s Greg Olson’s fault that LeGarrette Blount doesn’t know how to pass protect yet, or is it? Maybe our running back coach is to blame.

Speaking of coaches, that’s the first place everyone wants to go. Even the diehard fans are calling for Raheem Morris’s head. Well, before I do that, it’s time to pass some of the blame around. Namely, the Glazers; owners since 1994.

How do you fire the head coach you promoted to the job and told him to be patient and make this team win with a college all-star team? There are three veteran free agent players on this team right now that don’t work on the offensive line.

Kellen Winslow, Ronde Barber, and Michael Koenen. Don’t be surprised the punter is on this list; the two kickers for the Bucs are in a dead heat tie for 2011 Team MVP right now. My money is on Connor Barth by a nose.

The Glazers are the ones most responsible for this poor product. Coaches coach, players play. Right now this young coaching staff probably has some turnover in store for it, but head coach is probably not one of them. It was the Glazers who instituted this plan in the first place. Build a team through the draft, pile up draft picks and field a team so we can see where free agents are needed. Well, we now know where the holes are, so now your going to get rid of the coach?

It doesn’t make any sense, and that is why I’m still behind Raheem Morris keeping his job, because there are too many indications in history of this sort of thing happening. It may not happen to this degree, but then again show me an example of a team of players so bad before.

Bottom line is anyone who is upset is guilty of putting too much stock into the Bucs 10-6 season last year, and the notion there would be guaranteed improvement. Last year the team overachieved, but this year it’s underachieving. But we all built up our expectations too much. Most people predicted the Bucs would be 6-10 or 7-9, and that’s probably where the Bucs are headed, so what’s the problem?

If Raheem Morris is fired, it will be a done deal, and it will probably shock no one. But ask yourself this one question: you knew it was a long-term deal, you were prepared to undertake it. Is one more year so much to ask to make sure you don’t make a mistake and set the franchise back 3-to-5 years?

28 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: Raheem Shouldn’t Take The Fall”

  1. Tommy Boy Says:

    It is too long. We’ve gone too long without a playoff win. Heck, too long without a playoff appearance. Too long being irrelevant. Falcons went 2-12 not that long ago. The very next season they brought in Mike Smith, free agents, and a solid QB now they are contenders year in and year out. We are the worst in our division again. One more year of this crap is unthinkable. Start fresh now, bring in a legit coaching staff, and let’s start working ourselves back to respectability.

  2. RichinNC Says:

    Three years to stop the run.

    It seems Morris as the head coach has no control over his offensive coordinator and has lost control of his defense and any ounce of discipline he had. Instead of getting his offense coordinator on the same page of running Blount 30 times a game we still get end arounds, wildcats, and very little Blount. He still has not stopped the penalty problem, nor the slow starts. That is coaching. That is bad head coaching.

  3. Bobby Says:

    Good article. Tampa fans, or any fans for that matter, react like fans and not like GM’s and owners and people who understand that building anything takes time and there’s no such thing as ‘instant gratification’ when it comes to building a team from the floor up. I like what I’m seeing from a lot of players. The talent is starting to come together. Bowers and Clayborne. McCoy and Price. Williams, Briscoe, Benn, Parker. Blount, Freeman. T-Jack and Talib. The O-line has played well. We still need more pieces of the puzzle and I don’t think anyone would argue that a major piece of that puzzle is our outside LB’s. They are atrocious and need to be replaced. Single handedly they have cost us games. I’d like to see what Gaitor can do to replace Barber (yes, I think he’ll be that good) and I think Ahmad Black can send Sean Jones packing. If you get a new head coach then you aren’t addressing the real problems. I don’t think it’s Raheem. I think we need a dedicated DC and unless Olson can break out of his shell and open up the playbook, I wouldn’t mind seeing a new OC.

  4. Patrick Says:

    “Is one more year so much to ask to make sure you don’t make a mistake and set the franchise back 3-to-5 years?”

    Uh…..yeah it is. This team has missed the playoffs for the 4th straight year now, 3rd straight under Rah and Dom. Haven’t won a playoff game since the Super Bowl 9 years ago. That’s unacceptable, and the fans of other teams wouldn’t put up with that either. If this were Philly, Raheem would need bodyguards.

    Raheem and Dom should thank the Lord if they’re lucky enough to return for another year.

    How many coaches retain their jobs after 3 straight non-playoff seasons, especially when your team stinks in the 3rd season? Not many is what I’m guessing.

    However, the hardest thing about this is deciding who/what is TRULY the problem here!

    Do we fire Raheem for his bad coaching? Do we fire Dom for his flawed “no free agents/veterans” philosophy? Or will getting a new OC and DC fix everything? Will adding some veteran leadership and proven talent fix things on this team?

    What do you guys think?!?

    The Tampa fans have been patient enough for a while now and deserve much better than this.

  5. TheProsUseAdvoCare Says:

    @Bobby: Well said.

    @The Optimist: Though I agree with most of what you said I have a huge issue with the following quote.
    “….and the secondary is shamefully not tackling anyone, other than No. 20”

    I would argue that every person in our secondary is covering and and especially tackling better than Barber. Barber has missed 18 tackles this year(more than any other player at any other position in the league). He is playing outside of his athletic ability(that’s just what happens with age) in this scheme and is a good reason our secondary has looked so bad.

    It is just time to let the man go. He gave us 14 solid years but we must move on.

    On the note that Blount can’t pass protect: he has allowed one sack this year on 48 pass blocking snaps(32 most in the league lol). That’s it. Yeah there are those who have done better, but by no means should that be considered bad enough to take him off the field.

  6. McBuc Says:

    @TheProsUseAdvoCare…I ahree with everything you stated above…

    I feel we need to bring in some vet leadership all over the place on this team. I agree with King, we need a vet back up QB to help Freeman…Let Johnson walk and find his way on another team. They need to keep Bennett, and if AH seems to have changed his evil ways keep him too. LB is the biggest need, and we need to pick a guy up instead of drafting two and hoping for the best.

  7. Capt.Tim Says:

    What?? Agree with most if your comments, but wow! You got that secondary thing totally backwards. Talib was invisible the first nine games. He was playing the third or dough string receivers. When we played Atlanta, Biggers played Roddy white the entire game. Only the last couple of weeks has he played decent.( some idiot will come and dispute that fact, because they are. Kid, and think “Grand theft auto” is a lifestyle. Everyone else knew it, and discussed it every week). Tanard started strong, but his rust is showing, he is missing more tackles than he makes.

    Biggers doesn’t prevent Completions. His stategy Is to

  8. Patrick Says:

    @Capt. Tim

    This is exactly why we need a new defensive coordinator. Talib and Jackson have played MUCH better than this before.

  9. Bucnjim Says:

    I couldn’t disagree more! I’m not on the fire Raheem bandwagon (yet), but there is talent on this team and they’ve played hard in the past. Most teams in this league would be thrilled to have Freeman, Blount, Winslow, Mike Williams and our offensive line. Our Defense will have some growing pains because that’s just the way it is. The problem is they’re making mistakes that are made at the high school level. Then you have the complete lack of effort that a blind man could see. There are other young teams like the Panther’s and Lion’s who probably won’t make the playoff’s, but are making huge strides in improving their teams. If this team went 8-8 or 7-9 and played their butt’s off then I would have no problem bringing Raheem back. Unfortunately; they play with zero urgency and honestly they look like they’ve given up.

  10. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Optimist is GROSSLY understating it! The argument can be made that Rah’s defense is one of the worst in NFL history.

    Also you cant use the Softy Mccoy excuse bc rah’s 2 legit wins were when softy was out as usual.

  11. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    BTW: if rah rah is retained who in their right mind would renew their season tix? You would have more enjoyment watching $100 bills burn or making it rain or lending it to John Corzine.

  12. Sambizle Says:

    Tommy Boy,
    You spoke above about the Falcons well the KEY WORD YOU used is FREE AGENTS. Bucs brought in one FA a PUNTER but he played great.

    The bad record, it’s because the players have not played that good (see Free) and the ones that are good, are young, so that usually means they play inconsistent. Most of the youth is on the D-line. They are not keeping their lanes on runs and passes consistently. This is VERY HARD to do with young players. If it was a young guy here and there, that would be one thing, but when 3 of the 4 d-lineman are brand new this is difficult. It only takes 1 guy out of position to break a run. Rah has a cover team and fast team they aren’t built YET(as in young) to stop the run. They have Dline players but they weren’t ready this year to stop NFL Offensive. Next year with Clay and Bowers getting another year they will be more consistent staying in there lanes. I am sure of it. Now we just need McCoy and Price to be healthy. Get Morris Claiborne from LSU have him starting as rookie at the 3rd CB. Get Biggers on special teams. I know the safety play has been bad but if the Dline plays better the DB’s don’t have to cover as long.

    When you blame Olsen I can’t agree totally. I know I am a little sick…a lot sick of the endarounds. BUT to blame it on Olsen I have to LAUGH!!!!!
    1. Josh Freeman is one of the worst QB’s this year. He throws late, he lofts the ball a lot (this is because he is either thinking too much or not confident), throws into multi-covered players, throwing INT’s in KEY situations, sliding before the 1st down marker on the final drive to tie the game, then fumbling the next play.
    2. When I hear his pass eligibles don’t get open I WANT TO PUKE!! MAUB DORK……… WAS TRYING TO ARGUE WITH ME ABOUT SEPERATION. THIS IS THE NFL!!! THE FREAKIN NFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RARELY THERE IS SEPERATION THIS IS NOT THE NCAA!!!!!! I spoke earlier about how he is throwing late. This is one reason there is tight coverage. But back to the main point. If you watched the Green Bay/Bucs game you saw Aaron Rodgers throw the ball to an extremely well covered WR on the sideline, BUT he threw it to the outside shoulder of the WR (he didn’t catch it but.) It’s about ball placement and anticipation. He’s another example The Tom Brady 99 yard Wes Welker TD. Wes WAS COVERED when Tom RELEASED the ball but when the ball got there it was in the perfect spot and the CB (still in good coverage) fell down and Wes ran 99 Yards! THIS IS WHERE FREE IS HURTING THE BUCS. Like I said earlier HE IS taking TOO LONG to throw and NOT ANTICIPATING THE THROW!!!
    I do want Free to be our QB, but put a lot of blame on him especially this year he has played awful.
    3. Blount is tippy-toeing. When he gets going in the open field he is a BAD ASS!! BUT when I hear people say give him the ball every time I laugh. Because we all see it game in and game out unless he sees the hole he wants and he gets to the whole he is probably going to lose yards. A couple times in the last couple games, he just walked out of bounds; you may say what’s wrong with that? Well he was behind the line of scrimmage HE JUST WALKS OUT OF BOUNDS!!!!!

    That’s enough for now.

  13. macabee Says:

    The problem is that somebody has to pay now. Whether It’s deserved or not is another question. The mob mentality has taken over and logical and common sense reasoning is being shouted down. Therefore some judgement will be rendered. Morris by virtue of his own limited success (10-6 season) and heightened expectations (We’re youngry and will win the division), becomes the perfect scapegoat. In the long-run, If FO and other strategic changes are not made, we will look back and realize that with his execution, the only thing that we accomplished was that we got someone else that made us feel better about losing!

  14. Sambizle Says:


    Do we fire Dom for his flawed “no free agents/veterans” philosophy?

    That’s the Glazers silly goose!!!

  15. Tye Says:

    “Is one more year so much to ask to make sure you don’t make a mistake and set the franchise back 3-to-5 years?”

    The flip side, Keep Morris one more season and set the franchise back 4-to-6 years!…. 3 years is plenty of time a evaluate a person and rightly say whether they are the best man for the job…. Their is NO guarantee that the next coach will be a winning coach but we’ll never know by continueing to give a losing coach yet another season, and yet another season… And The GM for that matter…. They are dragging the Bucs through the mud IMO!

    Every year the blame could be deflected onto other areas and used as a reason to give that coach yet ANOTHER chance but that is NOT good business ethics…. It is highly likely that if Morris stays another season {especially if their season starts out losing} that RJS will become more of a Ghost town than ever before in the past….

  16. FearTheFlag Says:

    Clearly no one enjoys watching the current product on the field these days. But if you’re a real fan of this team you have to look at ALL the factors, and there are many, as to why we are struggling so much.

    THE OFF-SEASON: Some teams were essentially unaffected by it. We clearly were. All of our youth and inexperience was genuinely affected by not having that time.

    INJURIES: We are not build well enough right now to not be seriously affected by the loss of McCoy, Price, Crowder, Talib, and Freeman.

    DROPPED PASSES: I believe we have some pretty darn good receivers…when they catch the ball! That is a fixable problem. We can’t get first downs if we don’t catch the ball enough. Period.

    PENALTIES: Clearly this is a combination of coaching and players. To a certain point coaching has to find a way to increase discipline and the players have to SERIOUSLY step up their focus as pros and eliminate the mental errors that continue to cost us games.

    DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: I like coach Morris. By all accounts he was an awesome DB coach. However, his defense stinks right now. Having a defense ranked 31st is never acceptable so logic dictates that the Bucs should seriously consider bringing in DC and having Morris focus more on being head coach. If an A list candidate is available we should interview them. I’m not saying this HAS to happen but it should definitely be seriously considered.

    SCHEDULE: Don’t forget we beat both Atlanta and the Saints this year, two very good teams. And have lost to mostly division leaders and playoff bound teams the rest of the time. That’s real when you’re talking about a team as young and inexperienced as the Bucs.

    FREE AGENCY: I agree with 90% of the “draft philosophy” of this organization. But when appropriate we have brought in some good players like Winslow and Faine to help us. We have to look at upgrading some key positions. Going after LB’s like Marrio Williams, Anthony Spencer or even E.J. Henderson would IMMEDIATELY make this team more talented. I believe we also need a durable true scat back like Darren Sproles (who we should have absolutely tried harder to pick up this year!) Blount is great but we need to that other threat to challenge defenses better. No much out there currently in projected free agency but if we drafted LaMichael James, RB, Oregon that could really elevate our options.

    At the end of the day I truly believe that next year with a solid off season, another quality draft and 1 or 2 high quality free agency pick ups the Bucs will be a much better team next year. We’re closer than a lot of people think!

  17. Says:

    Good read but you are the Optimist!

    I totally think the Glazers are at fault. But lets be honest, Rah is not the next Mike Tomlin like they thought he was. Not at this point in his career. He needs to go develop more and frankly this organization will hurt his career in the long run.

    What happens next Season depends on the dirtys. If they want to sell tickets, Rah and Olsen have to go and they need free agents. Case closed. Do not pass go etc. I can’t see why anyone would buy that crap.

    My guess is the dirtys fire the whole coaching staff, hire a big name, and go after free agents. That would be the smart thing to do. furthermore, the smart thing to do is to model Atlanta/Arthur Blank after the Vick fiasco.

    The caveat/wildcard is they don’t have to do anything and they will still make a ton of cash. That’s where the fans need to step in. Dont buy into their bullcrap. Demand more. Demand Excellence. We deserve it.


  18. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Fear the Flag:

    Young teams with decent coaches have benefitted from the no-off season lockout, see Denver and San Fran and to some extent Carolina.

    Injuries: see every NFL team. The bucs have also benefitted from other team’s injuries: see the Colts without Manning and the Saints without Vilma etc.

    Everything else you say is an excuse, a flat-out weak excuse for BAD, epic bad, coaching. If this team is nowhere close to decent, they would be underdogs to the 09 team, Jim Bates chuckles and says I told you so weekly watching these jabrones. In one more year with free agents and draft picks – Rah will coach the discipline and skill right out of them and coach them all into Quincy Blacks and Kellen Winslows.

    For any hope in 2012: Fire this terrible coach now, and in doing so create excitement, sell some tickets, heck us JBFers may organize a parade – we call it “the end of the charade parade!”

  19. Bobby Says:

    I think Thomas is actually Roddy White…..

  20. Sgt Mike Says:

    I call Bullsh@t! I did not want him as a coach as much of the fans didn’t but we don’t own the team. The Glazers knew they were on the hook for Grudens contract and decided to cheap it out. It also didn’t hurt that the coaching pool wasn’t that deep at that time. While I believe in there philosophy of building through the draft, I know that without wading smartly through free agency you will rarely be able to field a competitive team. I did not think Rah was ready and he has proven it. Get a new coach now and develop the young team that we have with a proper coaching staff. Rah proved in the first six months he wasn’t ready to be a HC by firing his OC and later dumping his DC midseason. Dump Rah now and get the team and fans a coach that will right the ship and give us something to root for again.

  21. Jonny Says:

    There is a very good proof that this optimist guy is another writer, but no better football analyst than an average fan. He says our secondary, except for 20, is bad at tackling. Ronde Barber is one of the leading candidates in missed tackles column on two different websites. Yeah, Ronde Barber is a very good tackler.

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  22. Jonny Says:

    Wow. What happened to my mini ascii facepalm.

  23. Tampa2 Says:

    To build through the draft is one thing. To develop and train young talent is another. This ‘regime’ has shown what we all knew when they were hired, and that is they were not experienced enough to develop, train, scheme, or simply Coach. Raheem’s defense is not last in the league in points allowed & yardage allowed by accident. Raheem simply is not experienced enough to be a DC, much less Head Coach. If the Glazers really wanted to “build through the Draft” and field a team of young talent they would have hired a Head Coach that could develop and train that talent. Instead, they hired the cheapest coaching staff in the NFL. Morris & his regime need to go now. Put an interum coach in for the rest of the year.

  24. Brian Says:

    This idea that its not realistic to expect more so quickly or instant gratification is not realistic is being proven wrong. The 49’ers have been putrid since Steve Young left them. This year they hired a new coach with absolutely no off season or OTA’s or free agent additions and are one of the best teams in the league.

    Lets not forget our own Bucs in 2002. New coach same players with a few average free agent adds equaled SuperBowl. Granted the talent on our 2002 team was far more consistent but it still proves the point a new coach can change a locker room and a team faster than free agency and a draft can.

    Its been shown over and over before a coaching change can change the fortunes of a team faster than anything else and this team is not any different.

    Raheem was never a D coordinator only a position coach yet he was thrusted into the head Coaching job. That is the Glazers fault and they in my opinion like to gamble in their decision making process’. They gambled and won with Gruden. They gambled with Raheem and Dominick and right now its a loss not a win with 2 out of 3 seasons failures.

  25. Niko (The Optimist) Says:

    @Patrick- Its irrelevant how long the team hasn’t made the playoffs, were talking about this Bucs team now, and 10-6 is a playoff record 99 out of 100 seasons.

    @TheProsUseAdvoCare, Blount does NOT pass protect. The fact he has all those non sacks when he is in there is the same reason a nun doesn’t get VD. OR why I havnt been bitten by a shark in 4 years (havnt been in the water)

    @McBuc, QB is the one position that doesn’t need a veteran backup for advice. QB has its own coach, one on one.

  26. Niko (The Optimist) Says:

    TWO more…
    FearTheFlag Said it best, Were a lot closer than people think.

    But couldn’t be further from the truth. Let me tell you something, 30,000 people will buy season tickets no matter what happens. Thats been the number for about, oh since the Bucs CAME to Tampa Bay! Only 98% of NFL fans actually GO to games, and fewer have season tickets. Those season ticket holders are NOT the ones on the boards and comments sections calling for Raheem Morris’ head. And you do not deserve Excellence. You’ve turned on your coaching staff after 6 games. You deserve nothing.

  27. Niko (The Optimist) Says:

    Thomas 2.2, Denver has a veteran defense. San Fran is not a young team at all. The Bucs are young AT THE KEY POSITIONS, not just a number like Green Bay who is second youngest. But Green Bay is young at their backups. Their Key guys are 27-29.

    And when you draft only, you don’t have depth. Injuries hurt teams with little depth MORE than other teams. See Indianapolis Colts on what can happen when ONE player goes down.

  28. Niko (The Optimist) Says:

    Of course Im an average fan, just like you, I have an opinion.

    But #20 is outplaying everyone else in the secondary. Thats my opinion.

    Now lets talk about your english… “There is a very good proof…”
    Now we see why you don’t write for anyone.