Organized Chaos: The Morris Regime

Raheem Morris has just enough control of his team.
Raheem Morris has just enough control of his team. /

I have to admit Raheem Morris is really growing on me. He may be brash and at times he could probably filter himself a little bit better. But that’s also his charm. He’s young, hell he’s not even as old as Ronde Barber (who is nearly a full calendar year Morris’ senior). He exudes energy and passion. He runs down the sideline, he jumps into the air chest bumps his players as they leave the field. You can’t help but admire some of the charisma and energy he brings to the job.

Still you also can’t help but wonder if some of the unbridled passion and energy don’t rub off on the team in the wrong ways too. The Bucs are one of the NFL’s least disciplined teams. From small things like maintaining gap integrity and being on the same page with blocking schemes to big things like being one of the NFL’s most penalized teams, there are some obvious issues with discipline.

Take for instance Morris’ comments regarding the chaos that was last weekend’s closing seconds. After scoring a touchdown to go ahead 18-17, the Bucs tried to go for a two-point conversion to go up three. This is Morris’ account of the madness that ensued:

"“Before we scored, I was confident our offense was going to be able to get the ball in the end zone,” Morris said. “I had to let them know, my coaches, that we were going to have to round them up. We are an average age of about 26. So I knew they were going to go nuts and we were going to have to go get those guys for the two-point conversion.“I found (guard Ted) Larsen. … I had to run over there and grab him and make sure he knew we were going for the two-point conversion. And I didn’t say it in those words.“I think Freeman was somewhere entangled between the (first-down) chains, crawling over them. Cadillac was doing the Lambeau Leap, and Larsen was kind of strolling along the sideline. We almost didn’t have a left guard.”"

That’s at once both highly amusing and absolutely horrifying. While I do enjoy the image of the Bucs as an excitable group of kids on a field trip, meandering off in 15 different directions to the dismay of their chaperones, this is the NFL! You kind of expect the head coach to, you know, be in control of his team.

Do you think Bill Belichick or Mike Tomlin has ever had to go corral a quarter of their offense so they can get a two-point attempt off? Or do you think elite teams like the Patriots and Steelers just know to line up and go about their business. I’m not knocking the coaching staff, I think they’re doing great things with this young team but you can’t have mental breakdowns like that. Youth isn’t an excuse. There are college teams that know to get on the ball better.

I like Raheem Morris a lot, I just wonder if sometimes his method of organized chaos rubs off on this Bucs team the wrong way. Of course Morris is a young coach too. Maybe everyone is still growing into things.