Raheem Morris Fired

January 2, 2012 by staff 

Raheem Morris FiredRaheem Morris Fired, The Buccaneers fired Raheem Morris on Monday after his three seasons as Tampa Bay’s head coach. The team announced the change one day after a 45-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons extended the franchise’s longest losing streak within the same season since 1977 to 10 games.

Morris went 17-31, including a 10-6 mark in 2010, when the Bucs (4-12) narrowly missed the playoffs. His entire staff of assistants was dismissed, too.

“I have has a lot of respect and appreciation for the passion coach Morris gave to our football team, but this change is one we felt was necessary,” general manager Mark Dominik said in a brief statement released by the team, which is owned by the Glazer family.

“We want to thank coach Morris for all his hard work and dedication as head coach, `’ team co-chairman Joel Glazer said.

The Bucs scheduled a 3 p.m. news conference to discuss the change.

The 35-year-old Morris was hired in January 2009, replacing Jon Gruden after Tampa Bay lost the final four games of 2008 to miss the playoffs following a 9-3 start.

This year’s collapse followed a 4-2 start that included wins over NFC South rivals New Orleans and Atlanta, which are both headed to the playoffs.

Morris began his stint as the NFL’s youngest coach with a seven-game losing streak. It ended with a skid that rivaled some of the worst stretches in franchise history, in part because it came only a year after it looked like the Bucs might be headed in the right direction.

With young quarterback Josh Freeman showing great promise in his first full season as a starter, Tampa Bay won 10 games in 2010 to barely miss the playoffs. Morris entered training camp following the NFL lockout, declaring he had a “youngry” team that was confident it could compete with more experienced NFC South rivals New Orleans and Atlanta for the division crown.

The team’s promising start included wins at home over the Falcons and Saints that lent credence to the coach’s assertion that a 48-3 road loss to San Francisco was simply a bad day at the office, not a sign that the Bucs were not nearly as good as their record suggested.

Injuries contributed to the season-ending slide, but so did inconsistent play starting with Freeman who threw for 16 touchdowns vs. 22 interceptions after tossing 25 TD passes and being intercepted just six times in 2010. The Bucs turned the ball over a league-leading 40 times compared to 19 last season.

The defense, once the proud stable of a perennial playoff contender, sank to unheard of lows in Tampa Bay. In addition to surrendering a franchise-record and league-high 494 points, the Bucs lost eight games by double-digit margins and allowed 31 of more seven times during the season-ending skid.

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