The Disasters Of 2009

April 1st, 2014
raheem morris 1220

Bucs fans still aren’t laughing

Looking back, the 2009 offseason was, well, strange for the Bucs, and that’s being polite.

It began some two weeks after the Bucs ended their regular season when Team Glazer decided to jettison the only coach in franchise history able to reach the Holy Grail and win the Super Bowl. And this happened after two consecutive winning seasons, and winning seasons in three of Chucky’s final four years — years that saw the Bucs win the NFC South twice.

Within hours, not even 24 hours, the Bucs had hired little-known secondary coach and apparent heir to Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator, Raheem Morris.

Joe remembers being at a south Tampa watering hole with his good friend Justin Pawlowski, “The Commish,” watching the news conference of Morris’ coronation, and both Joe and Pawlowski looking at each other thinking the same thing.

“What the hell is going on?”

The Bucs had not even conducted a coaching search, perhaps partly because of the late date of Chucky’s firing.

After a major tease in 2010, when the Bucs were denied a playoff berth on a rotten call, reversing a touchdown catch by DJ Toes on the Line, Morris’ charges completely and totally collapsed. The Bucs lost 10 straight games to finish the 2011.

In many ways, the franchise has never recovered, not so much from the Chucky firing but for who succeeded him.

And it wasn’t just the Bucs who are still living the nightmare of the 2009 offseason. It seems just about every move made by a team that offseason turned to disaster. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports documents all that blew up that offseason — the list is long and cringe-inducing — and offered the following take on the Bucs.

Morris became increasingly close with players — far too close in the estimation of many, and after a strong start, he quickly fizzled. He, like McDaniels and others on this list, was in his early 30s when first hired — perhaps too young — and after rebounding to go 10-6 in 2010 he was fired in 2011 with a 17-31 overall record in Tampa Bay.

It wasn’t just Morris being pals with players and going out drinking with them. It was his look-the-other-way mentality. Joe remembers a high-ranking Bucs source explaining to him that Bucs commander Greg Schiano was brought in, largely, to clean up the cesspool that was the Bucs locker room under Morris’ (lack of?) leadership.

Though Chucky was flat horrible with the draft, he and Bruce Allen were always able to use baling wire to string together a decent team from loose, often aging parts. Regardless, Team Glazer may have had valid reasons for jettisoning Chucky.

Joe suspects at some point soon, current coach Lovie Smith may be able to replicate what Chucky did in his final years with the Bucs.

54 Responses to “The Disasters Of 2009”

  1. SteveK (MGM) Says:

    Another thing about Raheem:

    His teams had a very very low payroll. 40-50mm?

    Hence why the rules have changed.

    Thanks, Glazers!

    This is not premier league soccer, for crying out loud.

  2. BFFL Says:

    I put about 95% of the blame on Dominick.

  3. biff barker Says:

    2009 is ancient history now but does help me appreciate the Lovie hiring. Credibility, stability and maybe even a winning season should return.

  4. Pete I Says:

    It was time for a change. Chucky’s and bruce had gotten stale and the 4 game meltdown to end that season sealed their fate. 9-3 to 9-7 and no playoffs.

    Raheem and his staff were very restricted in what they could spend but they did sign byron leftwich and somehow thought that was a positive move. For me the leftwich signing was an unforgivable move which showed a lack of judgement.

    It turened me off before raheem coached game one.

  5. SeanyMac in SC Says:

    I feel confident that L&L will fix this thing.

  6. MTM Says:

    Dominick hired both Schiano and Raheem, drafted bust after bust, signed FA’s to ridiculously high contracts, traded away draft picks and overpaid players on the roster.
    Raheem was a better game time coach than Schiano could dream to be with the lowest payroll.

  7. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    Rah was better at second half adjustments but his team typically wouldn’t show up for the first half. Better game day coach than Schiano, don’t think so. Either way you had a team that played one good half of football

  8. Jon Says:

    MTM. You have no idea. How many times have we heard Rah and Dom were hired as a package. Neither of them picked each other. On another note, when Raheem “married” Freeman it set us back five years. Sad that Freeman who put together to excellent years tricked us all and is still on the streets.

  9. Eric Says:

    When I heard they fired Chucky I had that old time feeling deep in my gut that we were going right back to the pre Dungy laughing stock era.

    We did.

    Absolutely dumbest decision in Bucs history.

    Amazingly, some so called Bucs fans still support it.

    Ah well, whatever, Lovie will bring us back. We’re damn lucky we got him and what appears to be a good GM.

  10. Macabee Says:

    I might agree that firing Jon Gruden was a mistake if he had continued coaching and had proven that we were wrong. I’m stuck with ‘things happen”. I don’t know if we would have been better off if he had stayed or not. Bruce Allen has managed to keep a job, but he hasn’t done anything to make me miss him either.

  11. Harry Says:

    Talking about the Chucky era seems so long ago, much longer than just 4 years. It seems like its as long ago as the “Wacky Wyche” days. Looking back on it now it shows what a good coach Chucky – to win with the crap he and Bruce Allen put together for a team is a miracle. I am looking forward to seeing what L&L can do. I know Lovie can coach D. Can Licht find the talent? Can L&L put together an O-line? Will Tedford’s schemes shine in the NFL?

  12. brandonbucfan Says:

    The more interviews I see and the more I read about Lovie and his staff the more I believe that we will return to be a major factor again. But I still hope people don’t get over hyped about THIS year. While we have made strides remember what even Lovie said..”we were 4-12 last year” and the 4-12 was valid. This year we have to play a tough NFC North and tough AFC North. Our FA signings MAY be excellent but none of them have proved anything. Our #7 pick is a tough spot. If any of the “three” Qbs are there I think we take one. Sammy will be gone. Robinson who we could really use will be gone..I really don’t want to try to convert a 3-4
    DE Kahlil or Barr to a 4-3. Not big enough. Other than that it’s a stretch and that’s a shame. Seems we always have been one or two spots out of the right pick (can you say Calvin Johnson,Joe Thomas)
    I see 7-9 this year and hope will satisfy the fan base. It will me

  13. Architek Says:

    I cannot agree with some responses – I am of the mind that Gruden had to go. He offense was stale and he/Allen drafts were terrible!

    What followed was atrocious, Raheem the hombre from around the way and Schiano the defeated were both in over their heads.

    But hey it’s a copy cat league and many franchises were trending young at the time so I can’t judge but the losing definitely added up fast. I just glad the cupboard was left empty and the cap was managed superbly.

  14. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    a lot of people still do not realize that during the 4 game meltdown was because of Raheem. Kiffen was still the d-coordinator, but he was gone during the week. I had to travel a lot back then and saw Kiffen all the time flying out during the week, to recruit, set up his office at Tennessee, Raheem was in charge of the defence during the week!

  15. JMN Says:

    Raheem was a way better game time coach than Schiano. Unfortunately, the team just gave up on Raheem. The last year Raheem coached in Tampa is when I finally gave up my season tickets. The last several games were just blowouts with lack of effort from the players. Nobody in Raymond James was watching the games. A lot of fan disappointment, people just talking and socializing. It was such a waste of money. On a positive note for the Glazer’s…I bet their alcohol sales that year were through the roof!

  16. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    Ever wonder what Gruden could do with an independent, strong willed GM?

    And yes, when Raheem and Dominick were hired, I was apprehensive, and then when they drafted Freeman, and dark cloud settled over my head.

    It’s funny how defensive some people are over Dominik. I’ve never understood the need to repeatedly defend someone as above average. Like that’s what the wins championships: Above average. LOL.

    Looking back, it’s pretty easy to see where the blame lies: The Glazers. Maybe it was Man U., but, they clearly deemphasized this team, hiring a first time ever head coach and GM at the same time, slashing payroll, etc.

    I can understand “sucking for Luck” for a season, but, they let this team coast for many years.

  17. bucrightoff Says:

    How can anyone look back at the Raheem era and do anything but laugh?I kinda wish that 10-6 season never happened, it earned him another year he really didn’t deserve. A coach should not strive to be liked by his players, he should strive to be respected. Raheem cared way too much about being liked.

  18. Eric Says:

    4 game meltdown was replaced by 7, 9, and 10 game melt downs, and no playoffs for five years, let alone division titles.

    Chucky hatred syndrome is an interesting disorder, no amount of data as to how the team did after he was fired causes it to subside.

    In reality the same whinny bitches who ran him out of town also aren’t man enough to admit thy were wrong.

    At least the Glazers admitted the error when they tried to lure him back this year. Have to give them credit for that.

  19. csidedave Says:

    I believe that there was another major reason Gruden was fired. The owners knew that they were going to be spending the league minimum on salaries for the foreseeable future and that would have been meant a constant war with Gruden.

    Better to cut the ties and give the job to someone who would be grateful for the opportunity.

  20. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    Eric, you are right.

    The same people who hated Gruden were the same who had it out for Schiano before he even started his first season.

    That same TYPE of person also hates Mike Glennon, even though he is a nice guy and had an impressive ROOKIE season. Regardless if you want a better QB, there is no sane reason to hate the guy.

  21. Pete I Says:

    Who hates Chucky??? But his seeming inability to work with Rich McKay, or Rich’s not wanting to work with him, and the arrival of Bruce Allen as his “hand picked” GM, which then led to terrible drafts and questionable free agents helped lead to a general decline. We have never recovered from that decline.

    hopefully Raheem and Schiano was the bottoming out and the arc will go back up.

    Malcolm Sr’s medical issues were a compounding problem dumping the team into the sons’ laps. The offspring do not always have the old man’s drive. Some do, these guys not so much so it seems.

  22. Bucsfanman Says:

    I don’t know how anybody can say Raheem was a better coach than Schiano! They were both in over their heads but at least we saw improvement on defense with Greg. It’s clear the franchise was set back by both of these blunders.
    Lets face it, despite our dislike, Gruden should’ve still been coaching today. He did far more with less talent. Oh, and won a Lombardi!
    Besides, who cares?! That was then, this is now.
    Go Bucs!!!

  23. Ghost Says:

    Forgot about Leftwhich. Who was that DT that was a bust from the Redskins they brought in for a year?

  24. Brandon Says:

    Gruden should have stayed and a real GM should have been hired to run personnel. The personnel side was where Gruden had his greatest difficulty. He didn’t trust young players and the old ones were either no longer talented enough or often injured to help him. A strong GM would have forced good young players down his throat and made him use them..that being said, Gruden ran McKay out of town, he probably would have been extremely difficult with a REAL non-Bruce Allen GM.

  25. Brandon Says:

    Buc Fan #237 Says:
    April 1st, 2014 at 10:21 am
    Eric, you are right.

    The same people who hated Gruden were the same who had it out for Schiano before he even started his first season.

    That same TYPE of person also hates Mike Glennon, even though he is a nice guy and had an impressive ROOKIE season. Regardless if you want a better QB, there is no sane reason to hate the guy.

    Hmmm, strange logic. I liked Gruden, hated his personnel dealings, he could coach though. I liked Schiano at first… even liked him going into this season… until disaster struck with the opening kickoff… every week my resentment grew until I now have Schiano among my most hated list.

    As for Mike Glennon… I don’t dislike him… he just isn’t as promising as some of you suggest. Having good appearing stats doesn’t make him a good player, being a good player makes him a good player. John Elway took several of his teams to the Super Bowl with stats that weren’t very good despite not having a good defense or running game. The guy made the plays when they counted most and did the little things to bring his teams to victory…something Glennon has never done or likely can do.

  26. tha truth is... Says:

    what memories those were. Tons of bad free agent signings, contracts, draft picks, trades, injuries etc

  27. Orca Says:

    I can’t believe there are still these Chucky lovers out there… He and Bruce Allen absolutely decimated the talent on the team. WORST. DRAFTING. EVER. The organization is still recovering, since Dominik didn’t do too well either until the last 2 years. It’s a testament to Gruden and his coaching ability that they were able to be competitive some of the time, but that team was headed nowhere fast. Mediocrity every year because they couldn’t draft and couldn’t develop a QB. Chucky had to go. I’m still convinced of it. Now, the fact that buffoons were hired to replace him and Allen is a separate issue.

    I can’t believe you people still bring up Chucky. Just idiotic.

  28. Buc1987 Says:

    Who’s gives a crap? Did the Bucs have winning seasons with the guy? Hell to the yes.

    As far as I’m concerned the first coach to take my team(the dregs of the NFL for decades)to the SB and win it has a lifetime pass to be the HC.

    But of course “he had to go” is what they will say. He had to go so we could usher in the Raheem and Schiano days. WTF kind of thinking is this?

    Even in hindsight after the Raheem-Schiano fiasco they still say Gruden had to go. WTF is wrong with you people?

  29. Buc1987 Says:

    Look there’s another one “he had to go”. That’s what they always say.
    In hindsight after watching the games over the last 5 seasons they STILL say it. As if it would have been worse under Gruden than under Raheem-Schiano.

  30. Orca Says:

    Dumb. The fact that the last 5 years have been screwed up doesn’t validate Gruden’s performance, just because it sucked less. Chucky’s teams would’ve probably had similar struggles the last 5 years as the team needed to be rebuilt from the draft and Chucky was clearly not the guy to do it.

  31. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    Orca, you are a big fat blowhard.


  32. Orca Says:

    If you’re asking whether Chucky is a better head coach than Raheem and Schiano, well, yes, of course he is. He’s better than a lot of coaches in the league now, but he has to have a strong personnel guy in the front office who is in charge of the draft and has strong input on the roster, to remedy Gruden’s blindspots.

  33. Orca Says:

    Buc Fan #237 Says:
    April 1st, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Orca, you are a big fat blowhard.


    Is this what substitutes for a reasonable argument for Chucky?

  34. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    Would you rather me call you Shamu?

  35. Buc1987 Says:

    “Chucky’s teams would’ve probably”

    Is not a fact.

  36. Orca Says:

    Buc1987 Says:
    April 1st, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    “Chucky’s teams would’ve probably”

    Is not a fact.

    True, but most teams struggle when they undergo a rebuilding phase, regardless of who the coach is. Chucky and Bruce Allen were never going to do what needed to be done, because they were the worst drafting pair ever. The Bucs don’t have a history of strong drafting, but those 2 oversaw what were arguably the worst drafts in team history. An astounding accomplishment.

  37. Tristan Berry Says:

    @Ghost: Albert Haynesworth.

  38. mpmalloy Says:

    @ Eric:

    Chucky hatred syndrome is an interesting disorder, no amount of data as to how the team did after he was fired causes it to subside.

    In reality the same whinny bitches who ran him out of town also aren’t man enough to admit thy were wrong.

    Awesome post. I could not agree more.

    Hey 620 DJ: Remember your incessant daily rants
    about how Gruden was terrible and should be fired?
    I do. Remember how you won’t admit what a class-A
    dumbass you were for pushing that agenda. I do.
    Remember how you loved Morris and Freeman and still
    to this day hang up on people who call you out about it?
    I do. It’s kind of like your hate speeches for Joe Maddon
    whenever the Rays hit a slide. Your shtick is to berate
    good coaches for controversy. You use your media
    position in an entirely self-centered and irresponsible

  39. Tye Says:

    3 of the most crucial roles in an NFL organization is GM, HC and QB…. The Bucs just happen to end up with the trifecta of poor talent… Dominik is no longer a GM, Morris is no longer a HC and Freeman is no longer a starter and I maintain that he will never again be one, IF anyone even signs him to their team!

  40. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    MPMalloy… perfect response!

  41. Buc1987 Says:

    Yes Orca….but did they win?

  42. Orca Says:

    ^^ Very mixed, mediocre results and the roster was not headed in the right direction. Certainly better results than Rah or Schiano, but I as I said, Gruden likely would’ve faced the same struggles as Rah and Schiano had he stuck around to oversee the reshaping of the roster. I don’t think he had the right temperament to rebuild the roster. To me, the absence of talent left at the end of Chucky’s tenure is all I needed to see to know his time was up.

    And it needs to be remembered that the only good record after his SB year was the 11-5 smoke and mirrors campaign. They were eliminated in the wild card round.

    Gruden’s records after SB:
    2003: 7-9
    2004: 5-11
    2005: 11-5
    2006: 4-12
    2007: 9-7
    2008: 9-7

    Not very impressive. Yearly mediocrity. Failed to develop a QB. Oversaw a talent drain on the roster. Inspired distrust of large portion of the roster. Offense (his specialty) was routinely anemic.

  43. BucTrooper Says:

    The Buccaneers fired Jon Gruden because the Broncos came sniffing around Morris. The Buccaneers did not want to lose another black defensive backs coach the way they lost Mike Tomlin and have him go on to success someplace else. They were convinced that Morris was the second coming and they figured that firing Gruden after just missing the playoffs in a four loss collapse was a good way to get out of his tenure.

    And they were wrong.

  44. Orca Says:

    ^ What the h3LL does “black” DB coach have to do with it. And I disagree that not wanting to lose Morris was their reason for firing Gruden. No evidence for that.

  45. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    Orca are you bored, or just delusional?

    Guess what. Josh Freeman stunk up the NFL. Now he is unemployed.

  46. Orca Says:

    I’m not sure what you mean. What’s the delusional part? Also, what does Josh Freeman have to do with the conversation? I don’t understand your point. Is there one?

  47. Patrick Says:

    Gruden wasn’t the problem; Allen was. If weren’t for Allen we wouldn’t drafted Calvin Johnson not Gaines Adams (RIP)

  48. Orca Says:

    Calvin Johnson was gone.

    And Gruden handpicked Bruce Allen, you fool, so he’s to blame. He got the GM he wanted and together they decimated the roster.

    Get your facts straight if you want to make a point.

  49. Orca Says:

    Amazing how strong the denial is in the Jon Gruden Mob.

  50. Eric Says:

    When you try and trash a guy who is a pro football coach and you say “after he won the Super Bowl” such and such happened (as if the Super Bowl is nothing) all credibility is lost.

    But very typical of Bucs fans, many of whom richly deserve what they have gotten the last five years.

    Loserville USA.

    Lovie may get the same treatment from these morons, I sure hope not.

  51. ghost Says:

    @ buc1987
    you’re finally starting to make sense. Gruden was clearly more qualified than Raheem
    and Shiano.

  52. Orca Says:

    Eric Says:
    April 1st, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    When you try and trash a guy who is a pro football coach and you say “after he won the Super Bowl” such and such happened (as if the Super Bowl is nothing) all credibility is lost.

    I say all credibility is lost when you disregard the record of SIX, yes SIX, seasons of mediocrity after the Super Bowl. Winning one Super Bowl doesn’t give you license to suck as long as you like.

    It’s great that Gruden won the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t relieve him from scrutiny forever. They sucked in most of Gruden’s seasons and the roster was decimated. You can question my credibility, but I’m just talking about the record and the state of the team at the end of Gruden’s tenure. I’m just the messenger in this case. Nobody has even challenged my description of the state of the franchise when he was fired because you ALL know I am correct… But go ahead, question my credibility… if that’s what you require to ignore facts.

    And to state again, for those of you who don’t understand simple logic… Just because they hired idiots to run the show after Gruden does not mean he didn’t need to go. They’re separate issues entirely. It’s the Glazers’ fault if they were incompetent at hiring a GM and coach at that point. Yes, obviously Gruden was a better HC than Rah or Schiano. So what?

    Also, if you watch Gruden on TV, it becomes clear why the players grew sick of his act. He’s a douchebag and a phony.

  53. Jerry Says:

    We had to overpay for free agents because the team was horrible. No one wanted to play here.

    The team may still be terrible, but we are getting free agents at decent contracts now mainly because they want to play for Lovie.

  54. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Orca- Maybe Gruden did need to go. But before you continue piling on about the lack of talent scouting and free agent signings let me remind you that to get Gruden the Bucs gave up 2 first round picks AND 2 second round picks. So, to recap, that’s two years with nothing higher than a 3rd round pick. You think that might set a franchise back a little? Maybe handcuff the personnel department?
    Unfortunately for you, he hoisted a Lombardi! Love ’em or hate ’em you can never take that away. This may be sacrilege but, not even Dungy could win one for the Bucs.
    Now hopefully you have all that out of your system. Lovie is the man now. Lets hope we can say he won one for us as well.
    Go Bucs!