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Tag:Raheem Morris
Posted on: January 2, 2012 11:55 am
Edited on: January 2, 2012 12:32 pm
 

Raheem Morris fired by Buccaneers

The coaching hot seat begins to claim victims: Tampa Bay parts ways with Raheem Morris

By Ryan Wilson

Raheem Morris' tenure in Tampa Bay lasted less than three years. He was introduced on January 18, 2009 as Jon Gruden's replacement and now, after a 4-12 record in 2011 (including a 45-24 Week 17 drubbing at the hands of the Falcons), he becomes another up-and-coming young head coach who showed promise only to flame out shortly thereafter.

Black Monday

On Monday, the Buccaneers announced that Morris, along with his entire coaching staff, had been fired.

“We want to thank Coach Morris for all his hard work and dedication as head coach of the Buccaneers," Bucs co-chair Joel Glazer said in a statement released by the team.

In three seasons, Tampa Bay was 17-31, sandwiching three and four-win seasons around a 10-6 effort in 2010, and never qualifying for the playoffs. Expectations were high heading into the season, and only higher after the Bucs started 4-2.

"I have a lot of respect for the passion Coach Morris gave to our team, but this change is one we felt was necessary," General Manager Mark Dominik said.

And then the wheels came off. Tampa Bay lost 10 in a row, most in convincing fashion. They allowed at least 24 points in each game over the final two and a half months of the season, seven times allowed more than 30 and gave up more than 40 on three occasions.

Thus, Morris' firing wasn't a surprise, even to him.

"It was the way we finished the season,'' Morris said, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. "The game-losing streak. You don't have that and survive in this league and we all know that. It is what it is, you have to be ready to deal.

"They blew it up. I have nothing bad to say about the Glazers, Mark (Dominik). The Glazers gave me a great opportunity and we almost pulled it off.''

Morris has been on the proverbial hot seat since Thanksgiving or so. Last week, he made it clear that he wanted to finish what he 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," Morris 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.”

When Morris was hired, team co-chairman Joel Glazer called him "a leader, [who] commands the respect of the team ... and his peers … Raheem can relate to today's NFL player … The game has changed a lot. It's always changing. ... If you don't adapt to those changes, you can't compete."

Gruden, who led the Bucs to a Super Bowl title following the 2002 season, had been unimpressive in his last three seasons. He was 4-12 in 2006, and 9-7 in 2007 and 2008. Morris was supposed to be the younger, newer version of Gruden. Turns out, he wasn't. And now the Glazers begin the process again.

Morris shouldn't be out of work long. He was a 32-year-old defensive coordinator before he got the Bucs job and he'll likely return to that role. And if things go well, there's every reason to believe he'll get another shot at a head-coaching gig in the future.

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 9:08 am
Edited on: January 8, 2012 1:42 pm
 

Latest coaching rumors, news

It's Black Monday and that means seats are heating. (Getty Images)
By Eye on Football Staff

Throughout the day on Monday (and now Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday!) week news and rumors will be flying about job security of various NFL coaches. Bookmark this page to stay updated constantly.

SUNDAY
1:10 p.m. ET
SATURDAY
9:20 p.m. ET
3 p.m. ET
  • Although Ray Horton realizes that Jeff Fisher has to be the No. 1 choice for the Rams job, the St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting that if Fisher takes the Miami job, St. Louis will give a second look to Horton, the Cardinals defensive coordinator. Apparently, Horton's initial five-hour interview went very well. "When it was over they called my agent and said they were blown away by him, and he couldn't have been any better," Horton said.
  • According to Rapid Reporter Ron Clements, the Rams have received permission to interview Tennessee VP of football operations Lake Dawson and Titans VP of player personnel Ruston Webster for the vacant GM job. Both worked with Jeff Fisher in Tennessee.
  • CBSSports.com's Clark Judge speculates that Vikings defensive coordinator Fred Pagac might be fired soon. According to Judge, four candidates have already lined up interviews to replace him -- Steve Spagnuolo, Raheem Morris, Mel Tucker and Mike Singletary.
12 p.m. ET
  • The Chiefs reportedly have decided to remove the interim tag for coach Romeo Crennel, meaning the job is all his. It seems like general manager Scott Pioli wanted Crennel to have the job all along.
  • It didn't take long for the Patriots to hire their next offensive coordinator to replace Bill O'Brien. It's their old offensive coordinator of course as Josh McDaniels will take over O'Brien's spot for 2012 AND will begin work immediately, helping New England in this postseason.
  • According to NFL.com's Jason La Canfora, the Dolphins have permission from the Falcons to interview offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. Jacksonville already has shown interest in Mularkey.
FRIDAY
11:20 p.m. ET

12:13 p.m. ET

  • Ray Horton, the Cardinals defensive coordinator, is set to interview with the Rams for their head coaching position soon.

9:03 a.m. ET

THURSDAY

4:15 p.m. ET
  • Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin has been a busy man lately, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Philben was in Kansas City on Wednesday, and by this weekend, he'll interview for the Dolphins head coaching job as well.
1:20 p.m. ET
  • Although he and general manager A.J. Smith kept their job, Chargers coach Norv Turner fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky after just one season. Interesting, because, three days ago, Turner said he thought Manusky had done a good job this year.

9:00 a.m. ET
  • Raheem Morris was spotted dining with Redskins brass, and Washington could be interested in hiring Morris as a defensive coach. The only problem with that scenario is that Buccaneers were the worst team in the league in points allowed this season.
  • Yahoo Sports' Michael Silver has written that the Jeff Fisher sweepstakes has become a two-way race between the Dolphins and the Rams. Fisher was scheduled to interview with St. Louis today.
  • NFL.com's Albert Breer is saying that Jay (not Jon!) Gruden is the favorite to land the head coaching job in Jacksonville. The Bengals offensive coordinator, however, can't interview until Cincinnati is out of the playoffs. Until then, it sounds like the Jaguars will continue to interview every hot offensive coordinator they can find.
WEDNESDAY

8:20 p.m. ET
  • According to multiple reports, Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will interview for the Penn State job on Thursday. Though his interview with the school has been reported and then denied previously, it seems like O'Brien might have a real shot at landing this position, especially since it appears he's not a candidate for any current open NFL head coaching jobs.

5:58 p.m. ET
  • The Rams have requested permission from the Ravens to interview director of player personnel Eric DeCosta for the St. Louis general manager spot, according to PFT. DeCosta is seen as the possible successor to Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore. St. Louis also has received permission from the Falcons to interview director of player personnel Les Snead.

10:53 a.m. ET
TUESDAY

6:06 p.m. ET
  • Jeff Fisher's the hottest name on the coaching circuit and he officially visited Miami -- even flying there on a helicopter! -- to talk to owner Stephen Ross about the Dolphins gig.
2:40 p.m. ET
2:20 p.m. ET
10:19 a.m. ET
MONDAY
6:00 p.m. ET
  • Colts owner Jim Irsay calls firing Bill and Chris Polian a tough decision, and adds that "it's not outside the realm of possibility" that Jim Caldwell returns as head coach. When asked if Peyton Manning will play again he responded, "I don't."
4:28 p.m. ET
  • The Rams will interview Jeff Fisher this week for their vacant coaching job. If they land Fisher, then they would try to find a general manager.

4:03 p.m. ET
3:44 p.m. ET
  • According to the Buffalo News, Bills defensive coordinator George Edwards has been fired and replaced by Dave Wannstedt.

2:42 p.m. ET
  • According to the Chicago Tribune, Bears special teams coach Dave Toub will interview for the Dolphins job.

1:59 p.m. ET
  • A report from the New York Daily News says that Brian Schottenheimer will interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Because the Jets offense was just so awesome this year, apparently.
1:22 p.m. ET
  • Although there were reports that Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien was the prime coaching target for Penn State, it sounds like O'Brien won't be headed to Happy Valley after all.
12:45 p.m. ET
  • During his last regular-season news conference, Colts coach Jim Caldwell said he's "moving forward" with his day-to-day work. Caldwell also said he met with owner Jim Irsay on Sunday night and with executives Bill and Chris Polian on Monday morning. Obviously, at this moment, Caldwell is still employed. Which led Indy Star reporter Phillip B. Wilson to tweet, "Colts fans, to be honest, I have no idea what's going on ... maybe team won't announce changes for another day or two, IDK."
11:56 a.m. ET
  • An interesting set of tweets from UniversalDraft.com's Chris Kouffman: "<s>@</s>ArmandoSalguero with a stunning revelation that Carl Peterson was told to have dinner w/ Jon Gruden and allowed to offer Gruden the job ... which included total control over football operations, ability to hire and fire whomever he wanted...and Gruden TURNED IT DOWN. Yikes."
  • The Dolphins release a statement saying they're gearing up for their coaching search.
11:32 a.m. ET
10:37 a.m. ET
  • We have our first victim on Black Monday! Steve Spagnuolo, as expected, was fired by the St. Louis on Monday. Spags was 10-38 in three years with the Rams but should be a hot name for defensive coordinator positions.
  • You want to talk about a coach in demand? How about Jeff Fisher. Mike Freeman writes that the two jobs that intrigue him the most are Indianapolis and Tampa Bay.
9:39 a.m. ET
  • Speaking of the Jets, their public relations staff announced that BOTH general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan will be at Monday's press conference. That's not "normal" and it could mean that people's jobs are in trouble.
  • Despite a disappointing season in which the Jets didn't make the playoffs, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine -- whose reputation has largely remained intact this year -- has reportedly drawn interest from the Dolphins.

9:07 a.m ET

  • CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reports that the Bucs spent all evening gathering intel on Raheem Morris from players. Ownership is starting to believe that though they don't want to fire Morris, they might have to fire Morris.

Previously:

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Posted on: January 1, 2012 11:39 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 8:53 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 17: Brees for MVP?

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action, figures out the winners and losers and asks the big questions. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Listen to the Pick-Six Podcast Week 17 recap below and don't forget to
subscribe via iTunes
.

Drew Brees for MVP?

Over the next month, until the MVP is announced before the Super Bowl, there's going to be an intense debate about whether or not Drew Brees' incredible hot streak to close out the season vaulted him past Aaron Rodgers for the MVP award.

Four weeks ago, this wasn't a debate. Even with Brees having a monster year, the Packers were undefeated and Rodgers was eviscerating defenses on a weekly basis.

Their numbers were close enough to tell anyone suggesting a debate to kindly close their piehole.

Now? Well it's a lot closer than it was. The numbers (below) make that much obvious even though the actual premises behind the argument are just frustrating from the sense of measuring a season by its full extent.

Player
Comp % Pass Yards
Pass TDs INT
W-L
Aaron Rodgers
68.3 4,643 45 6 14-1
Drew Brees
71.2 5,476 46 14 13-3

The bigger problem for Rodgers may be a confluence of events around 4:00pm ET Sunday afternoon: as Brees was throwing his fifth touchdown pass (hey, just one more than Rodgers!), Packers backup Matt Flynn was going absolutely bananas against the Lions, slicing up Detroit's secondary for six touchdowns and 480 yards, a Packers franchise record.

Take a look at the list of the guys who've thrown for six teeters in a game since the merger. Spoiler alert: it's short, and full of awesome quarterbacks.

Flynn's on the list now and as a result, he's blatantly going to cost Rodgers a ton of "Well if the backup can do that" votes, while Brees staying in much longer than needed against the Panthers netted him a significant boost in the eyes of "What have you done for me lately?" voters.

But let's get one thing out of the way first: Aaron Rodgers is not a "system quarterback." Yeah, there's actually a debate raging as to whether he is or not. And if you believe that Rodgers is only successful because of the Packers "system" then you're as foolish as anyone who thought Tom Brady was a system quarterback when Matt Cassel had a big year filling in for the Patriots.

Every team has a "system" on offense and some -- the Packers and Patriots stand out -- are better than others. But Flynn's a good quarterback who's succeeded before (he nearly beat the Patriots in prime time last year), has a great pedigree (BCS title anyone?) and has spent multiple years working behind Rodgers. That's not going to make him worse. There's a reason the Packers, winners of 21 of 22 games since LAST Christmas, have him on the roster. And it's not because he makes a mean gumbo.

Look, less than two weeks ago, Rodgers carved up a very (very) good Bears defense on Christmas night. All season long he commanded the Packers offense like a conductor, made ridiculous throws that no one else in the NFL can make and generally let the world pencil his name in for MVP. 

His season's been so magnificent that it's somehow getting railroaded by the Packers losing to the Chiefs late (but don't forget, the Saints lost to the Rams and, uh, the Packers), sitting out Week 17 (a smart move with homefield clinched) and Sean Payton and Brees running up the score in order to break records (which is fine, but let's call it what it is).

There's no question that Drew Brees is a viable MVP candidate. He's had an all-time season in 2011. But judging the MVP race based on a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude is shortsighted, and it diminishes the incredible season Rodgers had in Green Bay.

Winners

Tom Coughlin: Coughlin won the NFC East, despite sitting on the hot seat most of the season, and the Giants suddenly have a look of a team that could absolutely be a playoff sleeper. They can rush the passer mercilessly when they get hot, Victor Cruz is turning into a salsa-dancing monster and Eli Manning's smoking hot right now. Given the success wild-card teams have had in recent years -- hello, 2007 Giants! -- it would be foolish to count them out.

Maurice Jones-Drew:
"Mojo" ripped off a season-high 169 rushing yards on Sunday against Indy. That not only gave him the NFL rushing title for 2011, but also gave him the Jaguars single-season record for rushing yards, as he broke Fred Taylor's previous high of 1,572 in 2003. In a very dismal season for Jacksonville's offense, MJD's been an absolute workhorse. He's up there with Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith in terms of all-time greats for the Jaguars.

Jason Taylor
: The only way Taylor's exit -- as a Dolphin, on the shoulders of his teammates after taking down the Jets -- could have been better is if the fumble he returned for a touchdown wasn't overturned. Taylor's a classy dude, a gamer, a hell of a dancer and at sixth all-time on the sack-leader list (not to mention a media favorite!), he'll find his way into Canton. Awesome career.

Matt Flynn: As noted above, Flynn had a decent day on Sunday. That's going to translate well when he becomes an unrestricted free agent and potentially becomes the most desirable quarterback on the market. There are lots of teams that need a quarterback and Flynn will be on everyone's radar just as much as Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. If someone falls in love with him, he might get Kevin Kolb money.

Cincinnati Bengals: Nothing like losing and still ending up in the winner's column, huh? The Bengals played the Ravens well on Sunday but Ray Rice was too much for them. Fortunately, KC beat Denver (or, if you prefer, San Diego beat Oakland) and the Bengals backed their way into a playoff matchup against a Texans team that will either start T.J. Yates or Jake Delhomme.

Sanchez is no lock for the Big Apple in 2012. (AP)

Losers

Mark Sanchez: The Jets never even got a shot at backdooring their way into the playoffs, as Sanchez picked apart his own offense and gave the Dolphins nine points off of three interceptions, two of which were to defensive lineman Randy Starks. It wouldn't ultimately matter, because the Titans won and eliminated Rex Ryan's crew, but anyone who justified Sanchez' performance with the old "He just wins!" argument has packed up their shanty and moved to Denver to make that argument. He didn't play like a $14 million quarterback this year -- even though he got paid like one -- and it would almost be surprising if the Jets didn't make a swap at the position.

Detroit Lions: They haven't won at Lambeau since 1991 now, dropping a mind-blowing 20 consecutive games at the Packers homefield. Of course, that's not why they're on this list, although it doesn't help. They're on this list because they just gave up 480 passing yards to the Packers backup and losing in Green Bay (coupled with Atlanta rumbling over the Bucs) means Detroit's next game will be in New Orleans. Against Drew Brees. You should go ahead and put your mortgage on the over.

Raheem Morris: I'm hesitant to include Morris because I'm pretty sure he'll have already been fired by time I hit publish. I mean, if there was ever a time not to let your opponent get out to a 42-0 lead it's definitely the final game of the season when you're riding a nine-game losing streak and barely clinging to your job.

Rob Ryan: Dallas looked absolutely flat early on Sunday night and somehow managed to storm back on the Giants, only to have the secondary shredded by Eli Manning when they cut the lead to seven points. Ryan's defense hasn't backed up his mouth all season long and even though you want your coach to make better late-game decisions and you don't want your quarterback turning the ball over late, there

John Elway: Kyle Orton didn't do anything crazy like throw for 500 yards to beat the Broncos on Sunday, but they win that game against Tyler Palko. Not that it mattered, because the Broncos made the playoffs anyway when the Chargers topped the Raiders. But Elway put himself in the position to miss the postseason by releasing Orton and even if it helped the team's chemistry they're barely hanging on right now and look like a lock for a first-round exit.

The Big Questions

 
The Broncos didn't exactly storm into the playoffs. (AP)

1. Is the Tim Tebow magic finally gone?
It just might be. The Broncos still made the playoffs, of course, and anything can happen once you get to the postseason. But Denver limped their way there, backing into a title at 8-8 on a three-game skid. Teams seem to have figured out that playing press-man coverage against Tebow severely limits what he can do on offense (he's much better at picking apart zones and makes fewer mistakes) and Denver proved that if they can't generate turnovers, they're in trouble. It's hard to imagine them beating the Steelers, even at home.

2. Who's the AFC favorite going forward?
The Ravens are my pick. They get homefield up to the AFC Championship and only lose it then if they have to play the Patriots. They've beaten the Bengals twice and they've beaten the Steelers twice. They've beaten New England in New England in the playoffs before, and the Pats have no defense. And the Ravens are nightmare matchups in Baltimore for Houston and Denver, neither of whom can keep pace if the Ravens start scoring.

3. How about the NFC?
Say what you want about how hot the Saints are -- and they are white hot -- but the Packers are still the favorites. They've got homefield throughout, they have two weeks to rest their starters and they can score on anyone. One bad week against the Chiefs does not a 15-1 team unseat. Their defense isn't great, but few teams do have a good defense and if they matchup against New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game, it's going down at Lambeau Field.

4. Who're the most dangerous non-playoff teams in 2012?
Eagles, Panthers and Chargers for me. The Snooze Buttons finished 8-8 and if they'd had a full offseason, they might have won the NFC East. Their dominant defense down the stretch is reason for optimism if you're an Eagles fan. Carolina needs defense, but they suffered an insane amount of injury-related attrition in 2011 and if they draft all defense and get healthy, they can contend in the NFC South. Plus: Cam Newton. And the Bolts showed this year they could be as good as playoff teams but just made stupid mistakes. A new coach could clear those problems up.

5. Any chance Jerry Jones changes his mind on Jason Garrett?
Jones has been incredibly supportive of Garrett so probably not. But someone's taking the fall for the Cowboys not making the playoffs and the best guess here is that it's Rob Ryan. He runs his mouth constantly and his defense doesn't back up all the talk -- their secondary got absolutely shredded by Eli Manning right after they got back into the game Sunday night.

6. What is Stevie Johnson thinking with his celebrations?

He's not thinking, actually. Johnson's scheduled to be a free agent in what's a really, really deep wide receiver class in 2012 and reportedly wants $7.5 million. The only problem is he's now developed a stigma for dropping really important catches and oftentimes costing his teams 15 yards with penalties like he did on Sunday. Wishing everyone "Happy New Years!" is a cool thing to do ... when it's not bad for your job and you're looking for a raise. Johnson's one of the most fun and interesting guys in the NFL but he has to be smarter than that.

7. How smart do the Steelers look for that Santonio Holmes trade now?
You don't even know the half of it. Not only did the dump a guy who's clearly a locker room distraction (Holmes) and not LaDainian Tomlinson-approved as a captain, but Pittsburgh allowed Mike Wallace to emerge as one of the best wideouts in the game and let someone else (the Jets) pick up the tab for Holmes' long-term deal. Oh, and in case you didn't know, they used the pick they got from the Jets to draft 2011 breakout wide receiver Antonio Brown

8. Should my team draft a running back early this year?
Negative, ghostrider, the pattern is full. Full of guys who weren't drafted in the first round leading the league in rushing anyway.

Player
2011 Rush Yards
2011 Rush YPG
2011 Rush TDs
2011 YPC
Year/Round/Pick
Maurice Jones-Drew
1,606 100.4 8 4.7 2006/2/60th
LeSean McCoy
1,309 87.3 17 4.8 2009/2/53rd
Arian Foster
1,224 94.2 10 4.4 2009/None/UFA
Frank Gore
1,211 75.7 8 4.3 2008/2/55
Ray Rice
1,173 78.2 10 4.4 2005/3/65

This doesn't mean teams should avoid drafting someone who's a special talent in college (see: Adrian Peterson) but there's a real sweet spot developing in the draft for undersized, pass-catching running backs (go ahead and add in Jamaal Charles too) who turn out to be a lot better than where they were drafted.

9. How's that Carson Palmer trade working out now?
Not so good. The Raiders could have arguably won the trade if they made the playoffs. All they had to do was beat a downtrodden Chargers team at home and they couldn't, so they miss the postseason and give up a first-round pick and a second-round pick to the Bengals (who made the playoffs, naturally). With Palmer, the Raiders were 6-4 and he threw 13 touchdowns and 16 picks. Whoops. Add in the fact that Hue Jackson just coached the most-penalized team in NFL history and he has some explaining to do.

10. Is Romeo Crennel the Chiefs next head coach?
Hard to imagine he's not. KC finished 6-9 on the season and two of those wins were with Crennel in charge; they also nearly beat Oakland in Week 16 too. Surely Scott Pioli thinks that with Crennel in charge this season and better injury luck the Chiefs would've won the division. He might be right, actually, and that's why Crennel will get the gig.

11. How many records did the Saints break on Sunday?
Eleventy billion or thereabouts. Brees and Sean Payton were basically rubber-stamping their signatures all over the NFL's offensive record books. They set the record for points scored in a season, most points scored at home in a season, most passing yards in a season (Brees' own record), best completion percentage in a season (again, Brees'), most completions in a season, most all-purpose yards in a single season (Darren Sproles owns it) and most receiving yards by a tight end in a season (only Rob Gronkowski broke that one a little while later). I can't confirm it, but I'm pretty sure the Saints broke the record for most broken records as well.

GIF O' THE WEEK

Bryan Braman is going to get fined for a helmet-to-helmet hit that he made ... without a helmet.

Worth 1,000 Words


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Posted on: January 1, 2012 9:55 am
Edited on: January 1, 2012 11:31 am
 

Report: Fisher spotted at Bucs hotel in Atlanta

FisherBy Josh Katzowitz

Jeff Fisher certainly has been getting around lately.

Last week, the former Titans coach was in Detroit to catch the Lions-Chargers matchup (Fisher’s son is a defensive assistant under Jim Schwartz), and before the game, Fisher was seen on the field talking to Norv Turner, likely in his last days as the San Diego head coach. The weird thing about that: Fisher has been mentioned prominently as a potential replacement for Turner.

Now, we have word (via the Tampa Bay Times) that Fisher was spotted at the Buccaneers team hotel in Atlanta on Saturday.

Although another of Fisher’s sons is a walk-on at Auburn, which beat Virginia in the Chik-Fil-A bowl on Saturday night, you have to wonder if the Buccaneers -- most likely looking to fire Raheem Morris after nine-straight losses -- spoke to Fisher about their potential future opening.

As the Times writes, Fisher would be considered one of Tampa Bay’s biggest targets if the team fires Morris.

And luckily for the rest of the NFL coaches on the hot seat, Fisher doesn’t have any more sons around the league that he can visit that would coincide with talking to another NFL team. Especially since Fisher apparently is willing to listen to anyone.

UPDATE: According to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Fisher and the Buccaneers did NOT meet this weekend and that his appearance at the hotel was purely coincidental.

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Posted on: December 31, 2011 3:23 pm
 

For the gambler in you, Week 17

By Josh Katzowitz

Each week, we’ll take the best -- and most clever -- odds collected by Bovada for the upcoming week and give our take. This is important stuff, perhaps the most important post you’ll read all week. Because if you can’t lose money while watching a game in which you have absolutely no effect, what’s the point of watching sports at all?

Will the winner of the Giants vs. Cowboys game win their opening playoff game?   
    
Yes 5/7

No 6/5

Thanks to the handy help of our post-Week 16 playoff picture, we can tell you that the Giants-Cowboys winner will end up as the No. 4 seed. That means the victor will play either the Lions or the Falcons in the wild card round. If Detroit beats the Packers, the Lions would travel to the New Meadowlands or Cowboys Stadium, but if they lose to Green Bay and the Falcons beat the Buccaneers, it’d be Atlanta with the No. 5 seed. I favor the Falcons to be the No. 5 seed, and I’d favor the Giants, but not the Cowboys, to beat them. But if the Lions come through, I think they’d beat either squad.

All of that means I have no idea. But I guess I’d go “no,” if for no other reason than this is a game it just feels like the Cowboys and Giants would lose.

How many head coaches will be fired between Sunday, January 1st and the 1st Playoff game kicks off?

Over 3 (-140)

Under 3 (EVEN)

Well, Jack Del Rio, Tony Sparano and Todd Haley are already gone. Steve Spagnuolo, Raheem Morris and Norv Turner are soon to be (probably). I think Jim Caldwell will survive. As will Andy Reid. I guess the best way to approach this bet is to avoid it, because I don’t see more or less than three coaches getting axed.

Who will finish the 2012 regular season with more TD passes? (Note: Both quarterbacks are tied with 20 touchdowns)      

Cam Newton (CAR) QB 7/5       

Andy Dalton (CIN) QB 8/5       

Tie 7/4       

Newton faces the Saints, one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Dalton faces the Ravens, one of the best overall defenses in the NFL. Newton likely will spend much of his day throwing the ball because the Saints probably will jump out to a big lead. Dalton could be involved in a run-oriented, defensive game. Thus, go with Newton to throw more touchdown passes than Dalton.

Which team will win the Number 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft?  

Indianapolis Colts 1/3

St. Louis Rams 2/1

The Rams play the 49ers, and St. Louis almost assuredly will lose. The Colts play host to the Jaguars, where Indianapolis, riding that two-game unbeaten streak, very well could win. I think the Rams take the No. 1 pick for next year and then trade it for a boatload of draft picks.

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Posted on: December 26, 2011 8:14 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 8:15 pm
 

Raheem Morris isn't long for Tampa Bay

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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Posted on: December 25, 2011 11:08 am
Edited on: December 25, 2011 11:10 am
 

Buccaneers have run amok (not in a good way)

Morris

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
"It looks like guys want to do their own thing,” Barber said, via the Tampa Tribune. “You've got to believe the guy next to you is going to do his job.”

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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Posted on: December 24, 2011 7:37 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action, figures out the winners and losers and asks the big questions. Slightly condensed version this week as it's the holidays. No podcast, no picture of the week and only eight questions. Blame Mrs. Brinson if you're so inclined. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter.

The Greatest Rookie Season Ever?

That's right. The greatest rookie season ever is precisely what Cam Newton's going to wrap up in Week 17 against the Saints a game of no real consequence when it comes to his legacy as the best rookie in NFL history.

There should be no argument that Cam's season, even without the final week, goes down as the greatest season by a rookie quarterback in history. He has the record for most passing yards in a season (again, with a week to go) by a rookie. He has the record for most passing yards in a game by a rookie. He has the record for most rushing touchdowns in a season by any quarterback.

Of the seven rookie quarterbacks with 3,000 passing yards, Newton doesn't have the most passing touchdowns, but he doesn't have the most interceptions either. There shouldn't be any question that his rookie year is the greatest by any quarterback.

As far as other rookies go, you could argue for Eric Dickerson (more than 2,000 total yards and 20 touchdowns in 1983), Dick Lane (14 interceptions, two pick sixes for Night Train in 1952), Randy Moss (17 touchdowns and 1,313 receiving yards in 1998) or Lawrence Taylor (9.5 sacks -- before they were even counted -- in 1981) if you want.

But none of those guys dealt with the complexities of running an offense. None of those guys dealt with a lockout-shortened offseason. None of those guys performed the way they did under the intense scrutiny of 2011 Twitteratiland. None of those guys carried the expectations of the No. 1 overall pick who was supposed to save a franchise ... or cost a GM his job simply because no one was sure how good they'd be. None of those guys inspired the fierce debate that Newton did leading up to being drafted.

Cam's rejuvenated a franchise that was dead in the water and he might be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL right now. It's been a marvel to watch him perform and it's insane to think that there was a debate as to whether or not the Panthers should take him.

Winners

Matthew Stafford: The Lions are in the playoffs. That's worthy of "winner inclusion" all by itself. But the Lions were secretly facing a pretty bad situation, with the white-hot Chargers and the very good Packers over the next two weeks. 9-7 and getting snuck out of the playoffs wasn't out of the question at all. Until Stafford got his surgical precision on and shredded the San Diego secondary, going 29 of 36 with 373 yards and three touchdowns. Stafford's next up for the "is he or isn't he elite" debate.

Pete Prisco
: Yes, my CBSSports.com colleague and former life coach (Pete doesn't know it, but I fired him when he suggested I not wear socks with my loafers). Prisco's the only guy that I know of who refused to budge off his negative stance of Tebow during the Broncos winning streak. There might be an argument that Pete's stubborn and you might be inclined to call him a "hater" but with the way that Tebow egged on Saturday, there are going to be a LOT of people ripping him over the next week. And Prisco's the only one of those people who's stood his ground the whole time.

Kevin Kolb:
The Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday and that means Kolb avoided his worst possible nightmare. That would be "John Skelton marching Arizona to an improbable postseason run and the team deciding to bail on Kolb's albatross of a contract." Instead, Arizona now plays out the string and regroups for 2012, likely with Kolb as the starting quarterback for at least another year.

Matt Forte
: What's that, you say? Forte didn't play on Saturday. Oh, I know that. I also know that if the Vikings hadn't handed Adrian Peterson a monster contract before the 2011 season, things would be awkward right about now. Over the past month, the Bears have collapsed without Forte and Jay Cutler, meaning he's beefed up his leverage as an important player for the franchise and, with the Peterson injury, justified his rationale for wanting a new contract.

Jerome Simpson: Did you see his touchdown catch?

Turner's time might be up in San Diego. (US Presswire)

Losers

Norv Turner: A lot of credit goes to the Lions for the way they played on Saturday. Detroit is a very good team and a formidable opponent. But how can the Chargers not show up, especially knowing that the Broncos lost and that they were either a Bengals/Jets pair of losses or a Broncos loss in Week 17 away from making the playoffs? That's still not "controlling your own destiny" but out of everyone who was gifted an early Christmas present during the early games on Sunday, Turner and the Chargers were probably the luckiest. A 24-0 halftime deficit in the most critical game of the season isn't going to inspire any Spanos family members to keep their pink slips tucked away.

Jason Garrett
: No one's going to blame him for losing to Philly. That's what happens with Stephen McGee under center. But holy cow does Garrett have the hardest decision -- and the most scrutiny -- of his short career coming up over the next week. The Giants and Cowboys will play in Week 17, with a trip to the postseason and a division championship on the line. Tony Romo will almost certainly play, but will he be effective? Can Garrett gameplan in order to play to Romo's injury? Will he cough up a shot at the postseason? These are the ways we will judge him after next week's game. And by "we" I obviously mean "Jerry Jones and his potentially angry family."

Adrian Peterson
: AP's leg injury on Sunday was so brutal that I even feel like a jerk putting him in the "losers" section. But if you saw the horrific nature of Peterson's injury, you know precisely why he's not feeling like a winner right now. The Vikings announced after the game that it was a sprained knee but -- all due respect to Minnesota -- that's just not believable at all. The multiple reports that it's a torn ACL (and potentially worse) make a lot more sense. It's just sad that Peterson could miss significant time because he was playing in a meaningless game for a three-win team.

Rex Ryan: Ryan spent all week running his mouth about the New York-New York rivalry and when push came to shove, his guy Mark Sanchez fumbled on the Giants goal line and threw a "pass" to an offensive lineman that resulted in a safety in a devastating loss on Saturday. The Darrelle Revis/Antonio Cromartie combo got torched by Victor Cruz (that's his name, right?) and Brandon Jacobs got to say "It's time to shut up, fat boy." That's just embarrassing. Oh, right, and the Jets lost control of their own destiny with respect to the playoffs. It wouldn't be nearly as mortifying if Ryan hadn't run his mouth all week.

Pipedreams: Just like San Diego, the Eagles were very much a longshot to make the playoffs. But I'm telling you, there was a chance. Then the Giants killed that chance (adding to their winner-y-ness) with a win over the Jets. That means Week 17 is no longer a dream scenario for fans of long shots, because both early-season favorites are now removed from any chance of a postseason berth. You don't have to root for the Eagles or Chargers. In fact, you can root against them. But if you don't like ridiculous storylines and clowning around with playoff predictors then we're not friends.

The Big Questions

 
The new Tebow narrative could be awkward. (AP)

1. What's the new Tim Tebow narrative?
No, but it's on life support (and Prisco wants to pull the plug!). Look, Tebow can still win against Kansas City in Week 17, or even lose as long as the Chargers beat the Raiders. But think about how quickly this narrative could be absolutely flipped on its head: if Kyle Orton, the man Tebow replaced, beats Tebow in Week 17 because Tebow can't win late, and the Raiders beat the Chargers and make the playoffs, the Broncos new narrative will be as chokers. No, really, it will. And that is nuts when you consider where we were just two weeks ago.

2. Why does Leslie Frazier keep playing guys who are hurt?
NO CLUE. But this is a story that's flown under the radar for the past few weeks and it culminated with AP's injury against Washington, as well as the concussion that Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder suffered on Saturday. The Vikings are 3-12 after winning on Christmas Eve, but they didn't even need Peterson or Ponder to put up points -- it was all Joe Webb against the Redskins. Of course, winning, at this point, should be secondary. Frazier's top priority should be the health of his franchise quarterback and running back. Instead, these guys keep getting trotted out with injuries late in a lost season. That's not the sort of thing that keeps a job safe for long.

3. Did Raheem Morris get fired on Saturday?

Almost certainly. The Panthers went out and walloped Tampa Bay 48-16 in Charlotte, meaning that the Bucs lost their eighth game in a row.  Worse than the losses is the way they've happened: over the last four games, the Buccaneers have been outscored 158-64. They've given up 40 points to the Panthers and Jaguars and have topped 20 points just once since their trip to London in late October when things really started to unravel. It's an embarrassing collapse down the stretch and it's hard to blame the Glazer family and GM Mark Dominik when (not if) they fire Morris.

4. Anyone else getting fired?
Gotta think that Turner's done in San Diego now and that Romeo Crennel's the only interim hanging around. I can't buy that Jim Caldwell's saving his job so I'd add him to the list too. But I think any questions about Chan Gailey can now be reserved for a while, given the way he dismantled the Broncos on Sunday.

5.  Why should Tom Brady be worried?
Because his offensive lineman are dropping like flies. And while the Patriots are going to continue being good because that's what the Patriots do, there's absolutely cause for concern in New England if Logan Mankins and Matt Light are hurt for any length of time. As you may be aware, this isn't a team predicated on playing any sort of defense, and if they can't protect Tom Brady, there's little chance of them advancing in the postseason.

5. How mad are the 49ers?
Furious. And it doesn't matter that they won, because they gave up a rushing touchdown to Marshawn Lynch. They might hold the record for most games without one, but you know they wanted to make it the entire season. They did not.

6. Am I going to have to watch Matt Flynn on Christmas night?
Not as much as you might have feared. The 49ers won against the Seahawks on Saturday, and that means Green Bay hasn't clinched the top seed yet. Which means that Aaron Rodgers will stay in the game against the Bears for the entire game, barring an absolute Packers blowout.

7. Was Simpson's catch the play of the year?
Yup, it sure was. Maybe not the "play of the century" or anything insane like people are saying, but it was an absolutely bananas catch and it deserves incredible props. Watch -- it's going to be the type of thing you talk with your relatives about on Christmas. That's the way you can truly judge the greatness of a play.

8. Should Ben Roethlisberger play next week?
No. There's just no need. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice handled the Browns just fine in Week 16, and Charlie Batch/Rashard Mendenhall can do the same in Week 17. Rest the guy, run the ball, cross your fingers that Cincy can summon the strength to beat the Ravens on the road and let Roethlisberger rest.

GIF O' THE WEEK

I mean duh. Did you notice I liked it?



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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com