|Morris might not make it to 2012 with the Bucs. (Getty Images)|
By Ryan Wilson
It doesn't take much imagination to envision a scenario in which Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris gets fired. After a 10-win season in 2010, his second as an NFL head coach, Morris appeared to have turned around an organization that had lost its way under Jon Gruden. He had his young franchise quarterback in Josh Freeman and a team full of overachievers. Now, nearly 12 months later, the Bucs will have to beat the Faclons to get to five wins. And whatever happens in Week 17, come Monday morning, Morris could be looking for work.
When asked about that possibility, Morris, 35, offered this (via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Scott Purks): "I will never fire myself. You don’t go from being a Coach of the Year candidate to being the worst coach in the league to getting fired within a year. It’s about us. It’s about everything."
Morris is right: it's not just about coaching. It's a confluence of events that have led the Bucs to this point. Just like last season, when the culmination sound football and a lot of luck led to a 10-6 record. Maybe Tampa isn't a 4-11 team 16 weeks into the 2011 season. But perhaps they weren't a 10-win outfit a year ago, either. More likely: they're somewhere in between. An average football team that had a run on good luck in '10 and a run on bad luck in '11. It happens.
But the NFL is, as they say, a bottom-line business. Which means blaming ill-fated bounces for your plight won't help you keep your job. And that brings us back to our original point: Morris, in all likelihood has a week left in his current gig.
Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times suggested as much Monday on NFL Network's "Around the League."
“I think [Morris' future in Tampa is] probably more than a little bit in doubt,” Stroud said. “Regardless of what happens on Sunday, it’s most likely that Raheem Morris won’t be asked to return next season.”
There were rumors several weeks back that the Glazers considered dumping Morris before the end of the season but that they didn't feel comfortable giving the interim job to any of the assistants currently on staff. That doesn't bode well for their futures with the Bucs, either.
Morris, of course, wants to finish what he's started.
“I believe in my guys. I believe in the system. I believe in the program. I believe in what we do and everybody in this building, so it’s a buying-in factor," he said. "Either you buy in or you don’t. And we want to building this thing young and we want to develop a team that goes out and wins — and wins consistently.”
Incidentally, it's the lack of winning consistently that has Morris in his current predicament.
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