Morris, Blount Continue Race To Ten
Buccaneers coach, rookie RB fighting for playoff berth
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Raheem Morris and RB LeGarrette Blount conducted conference calls with the New Orleans media today as they Bucs prepare to face the Saints on Sunday. The improved 9-6 Buccaneers have as much to play for as the Saints on Sunday as they need a win and a tie or loss by the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants to qualify for the playoffs. Nevertheless, this a vastly improved club over last year's 3-13 edition, led by QB Josh Freeman and young players like Blount and fellow rookie WR Mike Williams. Below are transcripts of the conference calls:
Head Coach Raheem Morris
Do you consider last year’s win at the Superdome as a springboard for your success or for what could come?
“I don’t know if it was an indicator of anything, but last year was about us going out and trying to improve every week. We had a young team last year and we were developing a young quarterback. We had just put him in against Green Bay for his first start, then he had a nice showing against the Super Bowl champs last year. They weren’t the Super Bowl champs at the time, but we certainly knew they had the will and intangibles to do what they did last year and it was a great test for Freeman to put him out against you guys. He went out. We played well. We played fast. We played hard. We played consistent and we were able to get a win there and a very significant win for us in our development and where we wanted to go. It only helped us generate some positive pub for the offseason to get us going in the right direction. Right now we’re just building and keeping trying to continue to grow.”
You’ve been watching film on that Atlanta game. What are your thoughts on the Saints defense considering they are not forcing as many turnovers, but that they have given up fewer points and yards?
“They’re really playing grade A football across the board. Gregg Williams does a great job with scheme. He does a great job with putting his players in position to make plays. That’s why they were a great opportunistic defense last year. Plays happen and turnovers happen when technique and opportunity meet. For whatever the case is, just not as many opportunities have presented themselves because if they do, usually those guys cash in. They have great ball skill guys in Tracy Porter and (Jabari) Greer and Darren Sharper, one of the best of all time and (Jonathan) Vilma, all those guys. They do a nice job of hustling to the football and causing turnovers. They‘re tackling better, even better this year than last year and they’re just playing harder. That’s going to make them a better defense all around. That’s what they’ve done. That’s what they’ve become.”
When you saw the emotion that the Saints had in that Monday night game, it’s pretty evident that they were pointing to it for a while. Did you use that as an illustration to your team? Have your guys been pointing to this game given what happened when the Saints came to your house earlier this year?
“No. We play one game at a time. This is another great challenge for our football team. We don’t ride the emotion of roller coaster. We go out and try to play each game as an individual game as what it is. We control, what we can control. The only thing we can do is go out and try to get our tenth win against the Saints this week. There are no emotional ties. We don’t ride that kind of roller coaster here. We stay even keel. We’re young. We’re hungry. We’re focused. We have our own goals. We’re building this team for the long term. That’s what we want to go out and do this weekend.”
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Morris, Blount Continue Race To Ten
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