By Josh Katzowitz
Although I said in this week’s For the Gambler in You that I thought Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris would survive into next year, I also didn’t foresee the absolute pummeling the Panthers put on Tampa Bay, 48-16, on Saturday.
During their current nine-game losing streak, the Buccaneers have allowed an average of 33.8 points per contest, and that’s simply not a recipe a coach needs to follow in order to save his job.
If I could take back that pick on my latest Gambler post, I think I would.
We mentioned a few weeks ago, it wasn’t a great sign when Morris sent defensive tackle Brian Price home in the third quarter for a personal foul penalty and then said afterward, “You know, they're not listening. They've got to listen and we've got to do a better job of coaching. That's all."
After Saturday’s game, cornerback Ronde Barber confirmed the team’s acrimony and the suggestion that Morris -- who benched LaGarrette Blount for most of the first half after he fumbled early in the first quarter -- doesn’t have control of his squad (another key ingredient for a coach about to be axed).
|Week 16 recap|
Not even the fact the Buccaneers held top-notch receiver Steve Smith to one catch for nine yards could salvage the wounds torn open by the Panthers offense. That’s probably because Tampa Bay’s run defense was atrocious, giving up 270 yards, and allowing Brandon LaFell to catch three passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.
"They didn't even need him (Smith) today,” Barber said. “That just shows how far they've come and how far we've gotten away from what we used to be.”
But Tampa Bay guard Davin Joseph took exception to the thought that the team isn’t playing hard for its coach.
"It can't be that simple,” Joseph said. "You can't say this looks like a team that doesn't want Coach Morris to come back. The way we're going, I'd say this is a team where I'm wondering whether our players are going to come back.”
At this point, the team should be wondering if anybody is going to be coming back from what has turned out to be a disaster of a season.
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