Tag:Raheem Morris
Posted on: September 23, 2011 9:37 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 10:00 pm

Report: Three teams fined for illegal contact

MorrisPosted by Josh Katzowitz

During the lockout, there were plenty of whispers that teams were contacting their players, even though the NFL’s rules strictly prohibited that kind of behavior. Kenny Britt admitted to talking to his receiver coach, and Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris, as recounted by CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco, called seven players during the work stoppage.

Now, the commissioner is apparently ready to dole out the punishments.

Pro Football Talk
is reporting that three teams, including the Titans and Tampa Bay, have been fined a six-figure penalty for illegally contacting players during the lockout. The Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt, though, writes that an NFL official told him the Titans have not been fined for illegal contact.

The fines wouldn't be a surprise. CBS’s Charlie Casserly said on The NFL Today on Sept. 11 that fines would be levied. Which Prisco believes is silly. “Do you really think the Bucs were the only team? Think again,” he wrote. “It's like speeding or tampering at the NFL Scouting Combine: Everybody does it. … The NFL is off base here.”

Maybe so, but it sounds like the league will end up lifting at least $300,000 from those teams anyway.

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 1:09 pm

Bucs season opener could be blacked out

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Buccaneers won 10 games last season, have a young coach in Raheem Morris, a franchise quarterback in Josh Freeman, and have earned the right to be talked about as a possible playoff team. And come Sunday, September 11, when they host the Lions (this year's dark-horse candidate to make the postseason) in the 2011 regular-season opener they will almost certainly play before a less-than-capacity crowd. Which for Tampa-area residents means that unless you're at Raymond James Stadium you won't see the game because it will be blacked out.

Details via Scott Reynolds of PewterReport.com "The number of tickets sold for the Bucs vs. Lions game … is close to 50,000 and it is nearly impossible to expect that the team will sell 15,000 more seats by Thursday to meet the NFL-mandated 72 hours prior to kickoff time frame to lift blackouts in the local television market of home teams."

It gets worse. Reynolds reports that the team hasn't yet announced any of the 2011 home games as sold out.

"The best chances of any home sellouts," Reynolds continued, "would occur for the Indianapolis Colts game on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on October 3 and the December 17 game against Dallas on NFL Network’s Saturday Night Football. Ticket sales for those games are outpacing the sales for the season opener, and there is a chance those contests may sell out and have the local TV blackout lifted if the team has a hot start because those contests are later in the season."

So there's that.

The bigger issue, of course, is that despite the NFL being more popular than ever, and the increased demand for the sport created by the lockout, the Bucs aren't close to filling seats for the first game of the season.

Attendance problems are nothing new for the Bucs, however. As PFT.com's Michael David Smith notes "If the Buccaneers wanted to, they could buy back all the unsold tickets at 34 percent of face value to get the blackout lifted. By a back-of-the-envelope estimate of 10,000 tickets at $100 each, it would cost the Buccaneers $340,000 to lift the blackout. That’s not much money to the billionaire Glazer family, owners of the Buccaneers — especially considering how much money the Bucs are saving this season by having a payroll that’s nearly $30 million under the salary cap."

Short of that, the team has reduced ticket prices and given stadium concession discounts in an effort to drum up demand. So far, it's not working.

There is a silver lining, though; unlike last year, when every Bucs home game was blacked out, fans can be assured that at least one home game will be televised locally this season. Tampa Bay will face the Bears in London, and even though the Bucs are considered the home team, because it will be played some 4,400 miles from Raymond James Stadium, it will be shown in the Tampa area.

Now if the NFL could just get all of the Bucs' games moved to Europe blackouts wouldn't be a problem.

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Posted on: August 26, 2011 12:39 am

Bucs transition playbooks onto iPads

Posted by Will Brinson

Back in June, we wrote about teams like the Ravens and Falcons utilizing iPads in order to streamline information to players. Well, count the Buccaneers among the technology-savvy teams in the NFL as well.

That's because Tampa Bay, according to Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times, has turned Apple's iPad 2 into a full-blown playbook and video-study tool. That means that players no longer have to be on location in order to study film, and sifting through the insanely thick playbooks that NFL teams utilize just became a little more enjoyable.

"It's crazy how much technology has changed the game," safety Cody Grimm said, via Stroud. "Back in the day, I think probably the whole team had to sit down with a projector and a reel, and watch the film together. They'd have the whole offense in the same meeting room. Now we all have our own iPad. Stuff that we used to come in here to see, we can sit on our couch at home and have access to it 24-7. It's awesome.

"It's convenient. It's fast. I was snacking out on the couch and watching some film, and realized I was, like, two quarters through (a) game already."

And, of course, it doesn't require hacking up an acre of the Everglades in order to provide a playbook for someone who'll be washing dishes by September anyway.

Plus, it just makes way more sense for teams. Players get video and playbooks all in one compressed, electronic form. They're a hell of a lot less likely to lose them because, well, it's an iPad.

And as we noted a few months ago, recovering a playbook is much more difficult than simply deleting all the data on an iPad.

"You've got a way to wipe [everything] off with the push of a button," Morris said.

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 11:05 am
Edited on: August 9, 2011 5:03 pm

Talib ready to move on with season

TalibPosted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s been quite an interesting offseason for Buccaneers CB Aqib Talib (all of which you can read in our handy related box in the middle of this post). But to sum up, Talib was arrested and faces charges of attempted assault with a deadly weapon, and though many of us assumed Tampa Bay would release Talib the first chance it got, that obviously hasn’t happened.

Since he’s still in a Bucs uniform, Talib says he will focus only on his on-field performance.

"Straight football,'' Talib told the Tampa Tribune. "I'm focused only on the stuff I can control. If I can't control it, I'm not going to focus on it. It's about setting that alarm, waking up, making it to meetings, coming out here on the practice field and making (wide receiver) Mike Williams better. It's about seeing Calvin Johnson early, Sept. 11th, when it all starts.''

Talib's Timeline
That last sentence, of course, assumes that commissioner Roger Goodell won’t suspend Talib for his supposed actions. And as we’re all aware, Goodell isn’t shy about pressing the “suspension” button whether a player has been found guilty or not (ask Ben Roethlisberger if you even need to be INDICTED in order for Goodell to make his decision).

Talib won’t go to trial until next spring, so he won’t miss any football this fall because of the legal system.

He also can count on coach Raheem Morris for support apparently.

"That's my dog,'' said Talib. "If anybody's got the real true story of what happened, Rah does.''

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 11:47 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 12:02 am

Josh Freeman talks Bucs, lockout, FA's, Tiki

Posted by Will Brinson

Josh Freeman had a hell of a season in 2010, nearly leading the Buccaneers to the playoffs as Tampa Bay posted a surprising 10-win season.

We had a chance to catch up with the Bucs quarterback over the weekend at Nike's 7-on-7 tournament, "The Opening," and we asked him about the Bucs' future, how they're building long-term, whether he thinks Tiki Barber would be a good fit with the team, how he'd feel if the Bucs were spenders when it came to free agents and how he manages to keep cranking out fourth-quarter comebacks.

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 12:01 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 1:23 pm

Ronde isn't sure Tiki fits in with Buccaneers

R. Barber (left) says he's not sure his brother, Tiki, playing for Tampa Bay is a great idea (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Buccaneers CB Ronde Barber, who has been largely silent whenever anybody brings up the name of his twin brother Tiki, doesn’t necessarily think the possibility of “Tiki to Tampa Bay” makes a whole lot of sense.

Not now anyway.

"It was an entertaining thought four or five years ago," Ronde told the St. Petersburg Times. "I don't know how realistic it is now. I've not had a chance to talk to (GM) Mark (Dominik) or Raheem (Morris) about it. Maybe the situation would be a little different under different circumstances. But I know he wants to go somewhere where feels like he's wanted."

Where would he be wanted? Um, not sure. Probably the UFL, right Jim Fassel? But if Barber thinks he can catch on with the Steelers or the Buccaneers -- his two stated preferences -- he’s probably very wrong about either spot (even though it sounds like Cadillac Williams isn’t long for Tampa Bay).

"We're not looking to turn this into an auction," Tiki's agent Mark Lepselter said last week. "There are only a handful of coaches he would want to play for."

Tiki Time
As of now, any kind of auction for Barber probably would be welcome. I mean, if your own brother has doubts about whether you’d fit into his team, that’s not a strong endorsement of your return from retirement. That’s not to say, though, that Ronde is totally crapping on his brother’s comeback attempt.

"He's prepared. He looks like [he] did pre-retirement," Ronde said. "He really dedicated himself and has been in there working out for four months. The only thing he doesn't have is the on-field endurance.

"He's very adept at what he used to do. I don't see him having a problem. The one thing he can't fail at is football. He had somewhat mastered it when he retired."

I’m not sure if that last line is Ronde being sarcastic or if it’s some kind of shot at how Tiki did NOT have retirement mastered. Either way, at this point, it sounds like Tiki might be lucky to end up in the NFL again.  

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Posted on: July 4, 2011 11:37 am
Edited on: July 4, 2011 11:48 am

Are NFL coaches communicating with players?

MorrisPosted by Josh Katzowitz

While the NFL coaching staffs and team officials are prohibited from communicating with players during the lockout, it seems rather improbable to believe that there is no absolutely no contact between the two sides while their negotiators try to work out a new CBA.

You’ll recall that Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris let slip that he talks to players “all the time” (to read the partial transcript from that radio interview last month, click this link), and there have been whispers that coordinators and assistants are talking to players under the cover of darkness (not at Woodward and Bernstein levels or anything; just a little more covertly than normal).

So, it’s interesting that Len Pasquarelli of CBSSports.com and Sports Xchange reports that an AFC assistant coach told him the idea of mail fraud has been discussed in an attempt to communicate with players.

Writes Pasquarelli: “An AFC assistant told The Sports Xchange this week he was party to a conversation just after the draft in which it was suggested that the team distribute playbooks, but with the postdate on the office mail machine manipulated to reflect a date during which the lockout was lifted for four days in late April, when it was legal, albeit temporarily, to talk to players.”

That’s … well, that’s kind of unbelievable (but props for thinking outside the box). So, did the team actually go through with it?

Said the assistant to Pasquarelli: "I don't know and I don't want to know. But I wasn't born yesterday, either. I know there's some stuff going on around the league, because (coaching) friends tell me about it."

The NFL claims to have investigated a few of the rumors, and the league, not surprisingly, has not found any violators.

But if we want to get really conspiracy-theory crazy, perhaps the NFL doesn’t mind that the teams could be surreptitiously breaking league-lockout rules. After all, the NFL doesn’t want to end the lockout and then have the players not perform well.

So, maybe if the league looks the other way while the coaching staffs aren’t so obviously communicating with players, the play will be a little stronger once practices and games begin. Knowing this, the NFL would rather hide its head in the sand, in the name of quality play, than actually punish teams during the lockout.

That’s probably not exactly the case, but what could be more American on July 4 than a nice conspiracy theory?

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 30, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: June 30, 2011 12:04 pm

Freeman needs 'like a week' to get Bucs ready

Posted by Will Brinson

There's no common belief about how the lockout is affecting the preparation of NFL players -- some folks think it's going to result in a sloppy season, and others have said it'll end up producing the best football ever.

One thing is certain, though: NFL teams need some time to get ready. Well, everyone but the Buccaneers apparently -- Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman says he needs less than a fortnight to get his offense primed for the year.

“Yeah I mean I just need like a week to get us ready," Freeman said on WDAE in Tampa, via Sports Radio Interviews. It’s just a matter of staying focused cause with this lockout there’s no coach over your shoulder every day at practice coaching you. That’s a big advantage especially for young guys, but I mean you gotta hand it to Mark Dominik the type of guys he brings on this team are good, high character guys.

"They are professionals and their approach and take to the game. It allows us to get through this thing just like any other team and any other veteran team.”

Quick aside: I want some NFL player and/or sports star to start using "fortnight" randomly when doing interviews. (Freeman obviously didn't.) I feel as if that would draw a lot of "viral attention." Or something.

Anyway, so Freeman believes the Bucs can be ready in "like a week" … and I gotta say, I'm not so sure about that.

He's definitely spot-on by giving Mark Dominik praise for building a roster, because the Bucs' GM has done a killer job of flipping this team around in a short amount of time.

But reinventing a roster in a short stretch is vastly different from prepping for an entire NFL season in just a week, and it's hard to fathom that a young team like the Bucs could repeat their success from 2010 without ample preparation.

But then again, not many people saw last year coming in the first place, either.

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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