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Tag:Raheem Morris
Posted on: December 4, 2011 11:23 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 11:34 am
 

Josh Freeman out for Bucs Sunday, Johnson starts

Posted by Will Brinson

Late Saturday, the Buccaneers decided to promote current third-string quarterback Rudy Carpenter to the active roster, an ominous sign for Tampa Bay fans, since it seemed likely that starter Josh Freeman would miss Sunday's game against Carolina.

That is exactly the case, as the Buccaneers announced on Sunday that Freeman will be inactive against the Panthers in Tampa Bay.

Freeman's absence means Josh Johnson will get the starting nod for the Bucs. Johnson's played in six games for the Bucs this season, though he's only attempted seven passes, completing two of them for 14 yards. He's also attempted five rushes for 17 yards, as most of his usage this year has been out of Wildcat-type formations, or when Freeman's been banged up.

Johnson hasn't started a game since 2009, when he began the season as the Bucs starter, losing the first four games before Tampa Bay decided to insert Freeman as a rookie.

The change at quarterback resulted in an early move in Vegas as well, as the Panthers went from three-point underdogs to one-point favorites with the news that Freeman wouldn't play.

That's a pretty accurate portrayal of the difference between Johnson and Freeman, and if the Bucs lose to the lowly (?) Panthers, don't be surprised to hear more chatter about Raheem Morris on the hot seat.


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Posted on: November 29, 2011 9:09 pm
 

Josh Freeman injured thumb at shooting range

Posted by Will Brinson



The Buccaneers continued their slide backwards from 2010's 10-win effort during Sunday's 24-18 loss to Tennessee. Josh Freeman looks like a quarterback regressing from his outstanding performance last year, but now it appears he's got an excuse for his recent poor play: Freeman injured his thumb at a shooting range on Halloween.

That's according to Bucs spokesman Jonathan Grella, who confirmed to the Tampa Tribune that Freeman aggravated a thumb injury he suffered against the Bears in London while at a shooting range on Halloween.

According to the Bucs, Freeman received five "cosmetic" stitches following a "gun mishap" on October 31, an incident that occurred just eight days after Tampa Bay's loss to the Bears.

Freeman's been pretty bad this year, but I'm not sure it's fair to simply attach his lack of success to the thumb injury. His completion percentage has actually gone up in the Bears game and going forward, although he's thrown 10 interceptions since Week 7, and only six before.

Additionally, Freeman's had some pretty putrid games, including a Week 9 matchup against Houston where he completed just 45.5 percent of his passes and threw three picks. But that game's sandwiched against nice efforts against New Orleans and Green Bay, so it's fairly difficult to simply point towards his injury.

But that inconsistency could certainly be a result of an injury -- CBS Sports Rich Gannon opined as much prior to that Houston game.

"I don't think he's healthy right now," Gannon told the Tribune then. "That's my personal opinion. I watched Freeman practice Friday and I don't think he's 100 percent. I don't see Josh Freeman driving the ball. Quarterbacks are very funny about having any tape on their throwing hand. I could tell in practice that it's bothering him."

As you'll recall, Sean Payton turned the Bucs into the league for a misleading injury report after the Bucs quarterback showed up on NFL Network with a splint on his hand.

So maybe he isn't healthy. That would make a lot more sense than Freeman's wild inconsistency this season. Or getting all up in arms about him getting hurt at a shooting range.

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Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:12 pm
 

Haynesworth spouting same rhetoric as before

HaynesworthPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With Albert Haynesworth’s first practice complete with his new Buccaneers teammates, he told reporters, including the St. Pete Times, "I’m excited. This is where I should have been like, three, years ago. I think all good things come to somebody who waits."

Forget for a minute that Haynesworth said basically the same thing at the beginning of September when he had just arrived in New England: "To me, it's a career-saving place for me to come. I had no idea it would be like this, but it's unbelievable, and I wish I took two years ago and came here."

The real question is why the Buccaneers -- and, according to PFT, ONLY the Buccaneers -- would put a waiver claim on a guy who’s seemingly still talented but tends also not to give a crap about anything that’s happening around him on the football field.  It’s because, as general manager Mark Dominik told NFL.com, the team was desperate after losing Gerald McCoy for the season with another torn biceps injury.

"If that doesn't happen, this doesn't happen, we don't claim Haynesworth," Dominik said. "The reality, we lost Gerald for the season, we're 4-4 and still in the thick of it, we've lost our last two and we're one game off the wild card. We don't think we're out of it.”

So, the Buccaneers decided to pick up a guy who, as my colleague Ryan Wilson puts it, has “previously shown great skill at lying motionless on the field, and his play in New England rendered him virtually invisible."

Dominik has done his homework on Haynesworth, watching multiple times all 134 of the plays involving Haynesworth this season.

"I saw disruption," Dominik said. "I saw strength, a finisher, a guy with the ability to put a lot of pressure on an offense. He's still able to be a penetrating force. He can hit it and go. I didn't see as much dogging it, but I did see the last play, where he played a 1-gap technique, and I can see why it got them frustrated. He opened up the run lane, and (Brandon) Jacobs walked in the end zone. That said, I didn't see a guy that didn't care. He battled and competed. I think he's worthy of an opportunity."

Apparently, he’s off to a good start. Coach Raheem Morris told reporters that Haynesworth picked up the defensive system quickly. He’s not sure if Haynesworth will play this Sunday, but Morris said Haynesworth could go about 35 plays if need be.

But there’s no doubt Dominik will be watching Haynesworth closely. Because, as we all know, Haynesworth’s previous two places of employment probably wouldn’t give much of a recommendation.

He did have one other interesting comment when speaking to reporters today. He said he didn’t sign with Tampa Bay in 2009 because there was too much water and too much son and he worried he couldn’t focus solely on football after he bought a big boat.
 
It’s a good thing he’s gotten past all those focus issues, eh?



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Posted on: November 9, 2011 4:27 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Buccaneers claim Albert Haynesworth off waivers

Posted by Will Brinson

On Tuesday, the Patriots made the somewhat surprising decision to release defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. And on Wednesday, Haynesworth was claimed by the Buccaneers off of waivers.

To make room for Haynesworth, the Bucs released the recently-signed John McCargo.

This is shocking because, as we noted recently, there weren't many teams that were a fit for Big Al's style of not trying hard. But it does make sense because the Bucs recently lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy for the season due to a torn biceps muscle.

This isn't even the first time Tampa Bay's been interested in Haynesworth -- they flirted with the defensive tackle in free agency before Haynesworth decided to sign with the Redskins. (Presumably the whole "more guaranteed money with less guaranteed effort" thing was too valuable to pass up.)

Bucs GM Mark Dominik says he watched "all 134 of Haynesworth's plays with NE twice before putting in a claim" and that he planned on having Haynesworth in for practice as early as Thursday.

"I have had a chance to talk to him already and he was – as you would hope – excited and fired up," Dominik said, via Buccaneers.com. "He asked how soon we could get him a flight because he wants to be in tonight and go to practice tomorrow.  That was very encouraging."

Now Haynesworth joins a defensive line rotation that features young players like Brian Price, and will hope to shore up the Tampa rush defense.

There's upside to be had here, because a big close to the season for Haynesworth could net him another contract with a team. But given that he couldn't even get things going in New England, football's version of the Betty Ford Clinic, it's hard to imagine him playing hard for Tampa now.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 5:33 pm
 

Saints turn in Bucs for misleading injury report

We'll have to see if Raheem Morris is as happy with Sean Payton as he appears in this picture (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you expected many NFL teams to play nice and be completely honest with their weekly practice reports and their Friday injury reports, you’re probably a little naïve. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been accused in the past of not listing those players who actually should be on the injury list or vice versa, and the Colts weren’t exactly forthcoming about Peyton Manning’s neck problems from last year (he wasn’t listed on the injury report at all).

Call it gamesmanship or, you know, cheating but if there was a league-wide investigation into how many teams misused their injury reports for their own gain, there’s a pretty good chance plenty of franchises would be found guilty.

And if another team thinks it can get ahead by turning in a future opponent to the NFL, it’s not out of the question that it will do exactly that.

Which brings us to Saints coach Sean Payton admitting Friday that he turned in the Buccaneers for their failure to make any mention of the sprained thumb suffered by quarterback Josh Freeman in the Bears game.

"Listen, I think when your quarterback's on NFL Network with a splint on his thumb, normally he's on the injury report," Payton said, via WWL TV. "At least take the splint off before you go on NFL Network, right?"

Funny about that: Freeman magically appeared on Tampa Bay’s injury list soon after, though Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris said the team had no worries about Freeman’s health and whether he could play this weekend.

"That's why we reported it, because the league asked us to,” Morris said, according to the St. Petersburg Times. “(Freeman) sprained it in the Chicago game, came in and practiced during the bye week, and didn't miss anything this week."

Considering the Saints and Buccaneers face each other this Sunday, we can’t wait to see the postgame handshake/fireworks show. Or the two could just laugh about it and chalk it up to the old, “Ah, whatcha gonna do?”

“It was probably a little gamesmanship,” Payton said. “But you gotta list those guys, the same way we do.”

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 9:08 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Bucs should have advantage with early trip

SmithPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Last year when the 49ers met the Broncos in London, it was clear to then-San Francisco linebacker Takeo Spikes that arriving in England a few days before Denver made a big difference.

“I think it helped (to leave early),” he told me in a Five Questions (or more) interview. “To be honest, we got there Monday morning, and we didn’t recover until that Thursday. That’s when everybody’s bodies were back on schedule. I can’t even imagine doing what Denver wanted to do and expect them to feel well-rested and alert. I know for us, even on Wednesday, I still couldn’t go to sleep on time. … I talked to them when they got off the plane on Thursday, and they said they felt fine. But damn, it must have been tough.”

Apparently, Bears coach Lovie Smith still believes the Broncos approach can work for his squad. Although the Buccaneers, who play Chicago this Sunday in London, left for the UK on Monday, Chicago won’t hop on a plane until Thursday, arriving in London on Friday. That means the Bears will have only two days to get their bodies acclimated before playing Sunday.

Smith doesn’t see a potential problem.

“For us, we wanted to keep a regular game-week routine in place and that's what we're doing,” he said, via the Tampa Tribune. “As far as getting acclimated, you can bog your mind down with all of that talk. We're going to go there. We'll be there Friday. We're leaving Thursday from here. That's plenty of time."

Tampa Bay has tried to have a normal work week as well. The Buccaneers took Tuesday off, like they normally would, to sight-see around London and then got ready to have normal practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

"Getting our players here early and getting them acclimated to the city, letting them have the day off here (on Tuesday) to do whatever they want kind of takes the angst away from coming in at the end of the week,'' Bucs coach Raheem Morris said from England.

Another key reason for the early travel schedule. Getting the team acclimated to the Wembley Stadium turf.

"That's why we came here on Monday,” Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said. “Because the Wembley field is just like that. It's slipperier than what you expect, so it's important for our guys to be able to practice on it and with the right cleats on.''

The Buccaneers tried the Smith approach two years ago, and they were easily beaten by the Patriots 35-7. New England had arrived 17 hours before Tampa Bay -- which, granted, isn’t a big difference, but it is something. And with the 49ers easily beating the Broncos last season -- when San Francisco got to town three days earlier -- you’d think the Bears would be paying attention to the mini-trend.

But you’d be wrong.

"You can get as much rest as you need," Smith said. "We're going to end up playing the game at 12 o'clock, Chicago time. I don't think that's an issue at all. I think normally when you go overseas, I think the best football team normally wins. It's as simple as that. That's what will happen this time around."

Maybe, or perhaps jet lag will play a big part in a Tampa Bay win.



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Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:31 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 6

Posted by Will Brinson



Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 3 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman  Rodgers  Revis  Hester Schwartz
Prisco   Gore Coleman  Hester  Morris
Brinson Bradshaw  Revis  Hester Schwartz
Katzowitz Bradhsaw Coleman  Hester  Zimmer
Wilson  Cutler Coleman  Hester Harbaugh

Week 6 was -- quite obviously -- all about the handshake. But there are other awards to get to as well. And the Eye on Offense Award was a hotly contested little battle here, but Ahmad Bradshaw, with 104 yards and three teeters in a Giants win, takes home the hardware.

On defense, things were a bit of a toss-up too, as Darrelle Revis' pick six garnered him plenty of support. But Kurt Coleman's three-pick game won the day. Although, yes, we are checking with the judges on whether or not Rex Grossman was eligible.

We're just going to go ahead and rename the Eye on Special Teams Award the Weekly Contest to Be Better Than Devin Hester.

And, as mentioned, coaching was a toss-up too, but Jim Harbaugh gets the Eye on Coaching Award ... simply for entertainment purposes?

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Ryan Wilson
Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
He's undefeated and doing things at the quarterback position we've seen before but rarely. I know, I know. You're sick of Rodgers. Get used to him, though. He's going to be around these here award neighborhoods for some time as the Packers are likely to enter the nine and 10 win range and start entering the 1972 Miami Dolphins neighborhood.
Jay Cutler Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
He was 21 of 31 for 267 yards and tossed two touchdowns against a very good pass-rushing Vikings defense. Perhaps more amazing: Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz left six, seven and sometimes eight players in to block, and, it turns out, Cutler is a pretty good quarterback when he's not getting blasted for 60 minutes (he was sacked just once).
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Frank Gore Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
He ran for 141 yards and scored a touchdown in the team's upset of the Lions. What's truly impressive is that Gore averaged 9.4 per carry. That is special.
Ahmad BradshawAhmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
The Giants fell apart against the Seahawks at home in Week 5, making Week 6's game against the Bills absolutely critical for them. Bradshaw was most critical to the win, running for 104 yards and three touchdowns in the Giants win.
Josh Katzowitz
Ahmad BradshawAhmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
In a huge game for the Giants, Bradshaw, without Brandon Jacobs in the lineup, had a tremendous performance, rushing for 104 yards and three touchdowns. I imagine Eli Manning appreciated the contribution. 
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Wilson
Darrelle RevisDarrelle Revis, CB, Jets
He did get beat a few times against Miami on Monday night but that 100-yard interception return was spectacular. Sure, he practically knocked Brandon Marshall on his butt in a great display of non-called pass interference, but Revis is getting those non-calls now.
Kurt Coleman Kurt Coleman, S, Eagles
Obviously, Rex Grossman shares this award because without him, Coleman's three interceptions wouldn't have been possible. In related news: nothing like a BAD REX unannounced visit to make Juan Castillo seem like he knows how to coordinate a defense.
Prisco Brinson
Kurt ColemanKurt Coleman, S, Eagles
He was benched a few weeks ago, but when inserted back into the lineup he made the most of it against the Redskins. Coleman had three picks of Rex Grossman in the game and had one of his best cover days. He was benched for his poor tackling.
Darrelle RevisDarrelle Revis, CB, Jets
I'd love to nominate Rex Grossman, but I'm not sure that's in the spirit of the awards. Instead, I'll give it to the guy who took a pick 100 yards to the house, giving the Jets a 7-3 lead when they should have been down 14-0. Revis showed why he's the best CB in the NFL today.
Katzowitz
Kurt Coleman Kurt Coleman, S, Eagles
Vindication for the Eagles safety. A few weeks after Coleman was benched, he reemerged as Rex Grossman’s biggest foil (well, second to Grossman himself), intercepting three passes and helping Philadelphia to perhaps a season-saving win. Chances are Coleman won’t be benched this week.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Wilson
Devin HesterDevin Hester, WR/KR, Bears
Why kick to him? Why, why, why? One more time: WHY? Kick the football out of bounds. Kick it into the stands. Kick it into the dirt. Anywhere except to him. He burned yet another team -- this time the Minnesota Vikings -- that stupidly kicked to him. And he'll keep doing that until teams finally get smart and stop doing it.
Devin Hester Devin Hester, WR/KR, Bears
I'll repeat what I wrote in Week 4, the last time Hester was our Special Teams Player of the Week. "We'll never understand why any team thinks kicking to Hester is a good idea." The Vikings did it, and Hester scored. Weird how that keeps happening.
Prisco Brinson
Devin HesterDevin Hester, WR/KR, Bears
Can it go to anyone but Hester? He ripped off a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Sunday night against the Vikings. He also returned a punt 27 yards and almost broke that one.
Devin HesterDevin Hester, WR/KR/ Bears
As long as teams continue to kick to Hester, he's probably going to keep winning this award. Hester was the difference against the Panthers two weeks ago; against Minnesota he simply squashed any hope they had for their entire season with one magnificent burst of speed.
Katzowitz
Devin Hester Devin Hester, WR/KR, Bears
He’s made strides as a receiver this season, but as the Vikings -- who, for some strange reason, continued kicking to Hester -- can attest, he’s still awfully dangerous as a kick returner. Early in the third quarter, he returned a kick 98 yards for the touchdown nearly took back a punt as well. He is, as the Vikings know now, pretty good on special teams.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Wilson
Bill BelichickJim Schwartz, HC, Lions
We went to the same high school. I think we played on the same football team together though I only sorta remember him. I was concussed a lot so bear with me. He's obviously a fiery guy and though his scamper after Harbaugh was unneeded most people would have wanted to punch Harbaugh in the mouth after that obnoxious post-game reaction.
Hue Jackson Jim Harbaugh, HC, 49ers
I think Harbaugh is a crazy-arms meltdown away from a tenured professorship at clown college, but the guy has the 49ers believing something not even Mike Singletary could convince them of: they're a good football team. Through six weeks, they're 5-1. Last year, they were 6-10.
Prisco Brinson
Raheem MorrisRaheem Morris, HC, Buccaneers
After his team's horrible trip to San Francisco that saw them get blown out 48-3, he got his team ready to play against the Saints and pulled off a 26-20 upset.  The Bucs were without running back LaGarrette Blount, so Morris turned the game over to Josh Freeman, who had a big game.
Mike MunchakJim Schwartz, HC, Lions
People are complaining about Schwartz' roll in Handshake-Gate (ugh), but here's the thing: Schwartz celebrates on his own sideline. Not at midfield. I'll hand him this award just based on the fact that 90 percent of America would have punched Jim Harbaugh Sunday. He didn't.
Katzowitz
Mike Zimmer Mike Zimmer, DC, Bengals
The Bengals DC continues to be one of those long-time assistant coaches who needs to be rewarded with a head coaching job. The Bengals have the No. 2 D in the NFL, and have allowed just one opponent to score more than 20 points. Cincy hasn’t played a Murderer’s Row of quarterbacks, but still, Zimmer’s unit has been impressive.
 

Posted on: October 9, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 11:32 pm
 

Report: NFL fines Buccaneers $250K

MorrisPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Though the league declined to punish Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib for his supposed actions during the lockout, his organization isn’t so lucky.

That’s the word from multiple reports this morning, via the St. Petersburg Times, that the NFL has fined Tampa Bay $250,000 for impermissible contact that occurred during the work stoppage.

Which sounds somewhat surprising if you believe the newspaper’s sources, who revealed the reasons Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris supposedly contacted his players.

The day after CBS’ Charley Casserly reported on The NFL Today that the Buccaneers would be fined a six-figure number, Morris admitted to speaking with Talib (who was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon for an incident that occurred in March) and tight end Kellen Winslow after his wife had a baby.

A Times source said Morris had seven phone conversations with various players during the lockout. Three of those calls took less than a minute. According to the paper, the NFL checked the team’s phone record to determine if violations had occurred.

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