The Worst Defense?

December 5th, 2011

In one of the more scathing pieces Joe has ever read from veteran columnist Gary Shelton, the St. Petersburg Times fixture laid all his cards on the table, calling the Bucs current defense one of the worst in team history and boldly suggesting the defensive coordinator needs to answer for it.

For those a bit confused, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris is also the team’s defensive coordinator.

For a quarter of a century, it has not been this bad. Think about that for a minute. The Bucs are on pace to surrender more points per game (27.4) than any Bucs defense since Leeman Bennett left town.

Ray Perkins’ teams never gave up this many. Richard Williamson’s defense never gave up this much. Sam Wyche’s teams never gave up this much. At this pace, the Bucs will give up 438 points this season. Only twice (’85 and ’86) have they given up more. …

This performance should be below any level of acceptance and beyond any attempt at rational. Three years into a coach’s tenure, this should be intolerable. The Bucs cannot tackle, cannot cover and cannot remain disciplined. Yes, they are young. But five minutes ago, wasn’t that a good thing? Weren’t they young when they jumped to a 3-1 start?

As sort of a punctuation, Shelton also wrote, “Just wondering here, but shouldn’t it have been Brian Price who sent Raheem Morris home?”

As Joe has stated several times, it’s becoming more and more clear that Morris needs help. If he doesn’t want to give up the reigns of being defensive coordinator, then someone higher up at One Buc Palace should hire one for him.

This is not a total knock on Morris. The rigors and responsibilities of being a head coach are many and adding the duties of defensive coordinator to that mix may have Morris stretched too thin.

In not quite three seasons, Morris’ defenses have been ranked (as in yards allowed per game) 28th, 17th, and 31st.

Could it be that no offseason could affect this team this much? Or have the players simply tuned out?

22 Responses to “The Worst Defense?”

  1. passthebuc Says:

    The Glazer’s need to respond to the public outcry regarding the team. Should the choose to not publicly address the situation, it should be taken as a positioning by the Glazer’s to move the team.

  2. Eric Says:

    This finally dawned on someone in the media?

    As to this OTA excuse. I could see it if they were entirely switching defensive schemes or something. But this is Rah’s Tampa 2. I know Clayborne and foster havent played in it before, but most of the rest of the D have – with Rah.

    Besides, Clayborne is one of our better performers!

    Verrrrrrrrrrrry flimsy excuse IMO. Especially defensively.

  3. macabee Says:

    There is a reason or reasons for this almost total collapse. No 10-6 team decides to totally forget everything it has learned and no coach consciously decides to wreck his career. Something happened or didn’t happen that has caused this dramatic slide. I was watching the Saints/Lions game last night and some young Lions player caused a costly penalty and before he could get back to the bench, a veteran player was all over his case for the infraction. That was a demonstration of team leadership and all teams that succeed have to have that and a team identity. We don’t have that because every year we get rid of our veteran leaders, Cadillac, Ruud, Gilmore, etc and add more rookies. When things are difficult, it’s every man for himself and no team glue to right the ship from within. They have reached critical mass and the team is imploding. Morris can’t fix this and I doubt whether just changing the HC will. Dominik and the Glazers must understand what is occurring here and take steps going forward, whether personnel or strategy, to stop the hemmoraghing!

  4. stimpy Says:


    I have a new word for you…


  5. lightningbuc Says:

    If the Glazers had any cajones, they would fire Morris TODAY, much like Jacksonville did last week. Seriously, if they have a season ticket base of 40,000 this year, how many will they have next year – 25,000? Many people at the game yesterday have already sold their Cowboy seats and are talking of not renewing. Nothing short of bringing in a big name coach is going to stem the tide of fans wanting nothing to do with this right now. The Cowboys game will be a sea of blue, which will turn into even more of an embarrassment for the Glazers.

  6. Nick2 Says:

    Please fire this clown we have for a head coach. The embarrassment is now so bad I can only follow this sorry team online. Even then it is painful. If we have another year of this garbage the Glazers will regret it.

  7. lightningbuc Says:

    To clarify, I realize even if Morris were fired immediately that a coach would not be hired for the final four games. But at least by firing now it would give the impression that this is unacceptable to ownership.

  8. Bucnjim Says:

    Listened to Mean Gene yesterday on the radio and sadly he knew right away the Bucs would be beat like a red headed step child by a 3-8 team with a rookie QB. Gone are the days when the defense had so much pride in their play that they would never give up or take plays off. Now if things start going bad they fold up and head home. (or be sent home like a child behaving badly) Raheem promised the D would play smart, fast & physical; too bad but three strikes and you’re out.

  9. Adam Says:

    Unfortunately, they can’t fire him now because there’s no one on the roster to fill in for him. What? you want Greg Olsen as head coach?

  10. bucfanjeff Says:

    Morris will not be fired now.
    He may not even be fired.
    Regardless of what the fans think or want, I believe he stays on next year, the team adds another descent draft class, and they add FA’s at key positions.
    The Glazers wanted the rebuilding, which I agree is the right way to go, so they will give him the rope next year. He either hangs himself or not.
    Think about it, is the HC the first one to go? Not always, look for staff changes next year…LB and OC coaches could be gone.

  11. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    The answer:

    Move Foster outside and bring in another OLB

  12. lightningbuc Says:

    Notice I said IF the Glazers had any cajones. I realize he won’t be fired immediately or probably even after the season, cuz he still has time remaining on his contract and the “money conscious” (cheap) Glazers won’t want to pay him next year for not working. But if you think attendance was bad this year, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  13. NunPuncher Says:

    The players are not responding to Raheem now. Raheem is a lame duck next season. Even if the Bucs win out (lol) the rest of the schedule and give him a 1 year extension the fan base is still going to drop off more so than they already have. The Glazer’s, as cheap as they are, simply cannot allow that to happen. This team is AWFUL. This was an ill-advised and failed experiment to rebuild this team at this time against an already stacked NFC South division.

  14. NickinMelbourne Says:

    bucfanjeff put down the Glazer koolaid and step away from the table. If the Glazers have ANY intelligence Raheem will not last this season. Yes bucfanjeff when a team stinks as bad as the Bucs do right now you fire the head coach. I know you can’t grasp that concept but yes you fire the head coach.

  15. doubles Says:

    Shelton should consider that teams across the NFL are also scoring more points than ever before. So the Bucs should be knocked for the 31st *ranked* defense, not necessarily by total number of points.

  16. Meh Says:

    Morris said himself in the presser that players aren’t listening. They’ve tuned him out. He’s lost the team.

    It is time for Morris to move on.

  17. OB Says:

    Joe, I have been saying for months that we need a DC becasue you can’t be the Head Coach and the DC. Raheem has proved it.

    Besides that the other thing they need is a leader not a friend. When you join the service all are given a haircut and wear the same uniform and you then proceed to “earn your stripes”. This is not a team but a group of individuals. Have them cut their hair and “earn their stripes” Make the Pro Bowl or win a playoff game, you earn a stripe, stripe here being something the player wants..

    I don’t care who the coach is but for what we are paying the OL, they are not doing their job. Is the defense over pursuing on almost every play and that is why they are almost always out of position? I don’t know but someone there does.

    They can be fixed this week, someone with b*lls needs to step up and put the hammer down on this team.

  18. Steendahl Says:

    @CBH – thanks for the link, dude looks pretty good.
    his open field tackling is not the best and he takes poor angles at times, but with good coaching (new LBs coach anyone?) he can be good, he fights off blocks well mostly and chases down ball carriers

  19. Hillbilly Heaven Says:

    An original Buc fan from Canada: flew down to the games, spent money in hotels, restaurants, etc — exactly what the city needs


    I gave up my season tickets when Raheem was hired and I am glad I did.
    Mid-season this year, I gave up my Sunday Ticket package

    I admit I still listen to Gene every week (on Sirius), but I am not spending another cent on this team until RM is gone

    Glazers are you listening?

  20. Says:

    They wont win another game. Maybe we will beat Borat’s Cats in Jacksonville.

    I don’t know the dirty owners angle. They cant seriously think they are going to sell any tickets this way. Asking season ticket holders to pay for the slop witnessed yesterday? Things are going to start falling fast. The only way out is massive action, new head coach, free agents, PR campaign etc

    The damage done over the last tree years is insane. They probably have lost a generation of fans. Do y’all know any kid who wants to root for the Bucs? I don’t know where the owners are going with their business model. “Okay lets suck perennially and have an empty Stadium!..what say you Duey?”

  21. crazy Says:

    The question is whether or not the Bucs can field a better team for the given payroll. Ownership made it clear they’d spend whatever dollars were necessary when the time was right. They did it by bringing in a new team to push the Dungy team over the top and probably won’t hesitate to do it push the Morris team over the top. The problem is it sure doesn’t look like any team built by this GM/HC is going to be ready for that push any time soon. Until then as long as this at best mediocre team is profitable don’t expect much change.

  22. BigMacAttack Says:

    I think Shelton pretty much nailed. They need a new DC to help Raheem, but I think it better to wait until after the season when the list of candidates is better. I also want to see Olson fired now, and let Van Pelt take over for the final games. I think Norv Turner would be a good OC and Steve Spagnuolo a good DC if they become available.