It has been a rough season for Raheem Morris. He started off the year as one of the most loved coaches in the Tampa Bay area, but the Buccaneers' atrocious play this season has caused him to fall out of favor...and fast. There have been grumblings about his play calling since the beginning of the season, but with Tampa Bay's collapse in recent weeks, many fans have started to call for his head.
What's more, players within the organization are now speaking up with criticisms of Morris. According to a report from Jason Cole at Yahoo Sports, Morris talked GM Mark Dominik out of releasing Aquib Talib after his arrest last year, and that message -- talent is more important than discipline -- has resonated with the players:
"Wrong message," a Bucs player told Cole. "Raheem believes he can get through to anybody and he can, to an extent. Guys do listen to him. But sometimes they have to see that you're going to back it up . . . [Talib] is a huge talent, but you have to know there are certain guys who are impossible to get through to."
I'm normally skeptical of reports that attempt to draw conclusions about a coach based on their clubhouse leadership, since that information is being fed to us by reporters and none of us know exactly how the players respond and react to a coach. But an actual player has gone on the record criticizing their coach? Even if it was done anonymously, that's a very troubling development.
The Buccaneers have been characterized in recent weeks as being "undisciplined." Their play on the field has been sloppy and they have turned the ball over much too frequently, and none of their young players have improved over the course of the season. If anything, the team is getting worse. Maybe these facts are all unconnected with Morris's coaching and management, but with quotes like this on the record, it gets more and more difficult to come to his defense.
Can Morris turn the Buccaneers around and finish the season strong? Will more stories like this begin to pop up? Keep your eyes peeled on the Bucs, as these last few weeks could determine Raheem Morris's fate.