Morris: Bucs focused on finishing strong

BY foxsports • December 17, 2009

With three weeks remaining in a miserable season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rookie coach Raheem Morris says he's focused on finishing strong rather than what it'll take to save his job.

The Bucs (1-12) lost for the 16th time in their past 17 games on Sunday, falling 26-3 to the New York Jets while being held to 124 yards of total offense.

``I start worrying about that, I shouldn't be in this position,'' Morris said in response to a question about his future.

``That's just not what we do in our job. As a position coach, as a head coach, whatever coach, you go out there every day and do your job and then let the people tell you what you're going to do at the end of the season.''

Morris reiterated Monday that he's looking for improvement down the stretch and that his players are committed to winning as many games as possible, too.

The Bucs face Seattle and New Orleans on the road before finishing at home against Atlanta.

``I'm not going to go into the tank. I'm not going to moan. I'm not going to make excuses,'' Morris said, adding that despite especially poor performances the past two weeks against Carolina and the Jets that the Bucs and young quarterback Josh Freeman are capable of finishing with a three-game winning streak.

``That's my goal. That's my intention. ... You've got to believe in yourself and what you're doing, you're capabilities. And, that's what I do. I believe in our ownership, I believe in our general manager. I believe in myself, and I believe in this team. We'll get better. It's just a matter or time.''

Freeman threw five interceptions during a 16-6 loss to the Panthers and was intercepted three times by the Jets, who didn't allow Tampa Bay to make a first down until late in the third quarter.

The rookie was picked off on the Bucs' first play from scrimmage and fumbled a snap from center on third, setting the tone for a long day. The absence of a running game put even more pressure on the first-round draft pick.

Moving forward, Morris said offensive coordinator Greg Olson may scale back the game plan in hopes of getting Freeman, who played fairly well in three of his first four pro starts, back on track.

``We've got to calm him down a little bit. We've got to establish our offensive identity as far as the run, get him some easy completions and get him back to his hard core play-action passes,'' Morris said.

``You don't want to overdo it and put him in remedial classes,'' the coach added, ``but at the same time you want to take a little pressure off the young man and put it back on the coaches and the guys around him.''

Linebacker Barrett Ruud said there has not been any fingerpointing in the locker room. Nor does he expect any as the season comes to a close.

``If you are really into football and love the game, you can look at yourself and find out how you can improve. That's all you can do right now,'' the fifth-year pro said. ``We are 1-12. All you can do is try to get better individually and try to help the team out as a whole.''

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