The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasted little time in relieving head coach Raheem Morris of his duties on Monday, just one day after the team finished a 4-12 season that included a ten game losing streak to round out the year.
“We want to thank Coach Morris for all his hard work and dedication as head coach of the Buccaneers,” Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement.
The Glazers met with Morris on Monday morning to announce their decision, which came as little surprise to Morris or Bucs fans in general. Morris finishes 17-31 in his three seasons as the Bucs coach. The team also fired Morris’ entire staff but retained general manager Mark Dominik.
Frankly, this was a decision that was made more out of necessity than anything else, the Glazers did not want to fire Morris but were given little choice in light of the team’s embarrassing futility over the last half of the season. Morris was once considered a rising star amongst NFL coaching circles after leading the Bucs to a 10-6 record and narrowly missed the playoffs last season.
This year, weighed down by expectations and a more challenging schedule, the Bucs regressed and eventually quit on the season entirely.
Frankly, Morris is not the only one to blame for the team’s collapse. There was a complete lack of leadership and accountability on the part of the players and the lack of an off-season truly hurt the development of this young team. While older teams with more veterans could weather the lack of off-season work, Tampa could not. That lack of work, coupled with a waning competitive fire as the team trekked through its ten game losing streak were what doomed Morris in Tampa.
For his part though, Morris was very classy even at the end, thanking the team and the players that quit on him and wishing them the best in the future.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Glazer family for the opportunity they gave me to be the Head Coach of the Buccaneers,” Morris said in a statement released through his agent. “I was honored and blessed to have spent the majority of my coaching career with the same (class) organization. I grew up with the Bucs and I was fortunate enough to be part of a Super Bowl victory there. I wish the Glazers, the management, players, staff and most importantly, the fans nothing but the greatest success in the future.”
This was a move that needed to be made. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel good about it. Morris seems like a good man and I truly believe he has a very bright future, but this had to happen. When a team tunes out a coach a move needs to be made.
But now the players have no more excuses either. The Bucs are a roster that has more than a few quitters on it, and next year without a scapegoat it’s going to be pretty obvious who those guys are.
It wasn’t just the coaches.
Nobody should be safe in Tampa.