The Big Question: Can Morris coach?

March, 30, 2010
3/30/10
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Can Raheem Morris be a better coach than he was last year?

Let’s be honest, it probably would be impossible for Morris to look more overwhelmed than he was the first half of last season.

[+] EnlargeRaheem Morris
Scott A. Miller/US PresswireThings were anything but easy for Raheem Morris during his first season as the Bucs' head coach.
The rookie Tampa Bay coach seemed to be desperately grasping for any sort of hope as he changed offensive and defensive coordinators, quarterbacks, kickers and punters. It took the Bucs a long time to win or even look like an NFL team.

But if you look closely at the chaos that was Tampa Bay’s season last year, you can spot some progress, particularly from the head coach. The guy showed an ability to admit his mistakes and move on from them. That’s a unique quality and that’s why there’s a chance Morris might have grown quite a bit last season.

We’ll have to wait to see how this season plays out, but Morris is in a much better spot than he was a year ago. Morris realized Jim Bates’ defensive scheme wasn’t working out and fired the veteran coordinator. Morris took the reins of the defense, went back to the Tampa 2 and the Bucs actually played decent defense at the end of the season.

They now will spend an entire offseason working on the defense they’ll actually play all season. Same for the offense, where coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski was fired just prior to the start of last season. There were a lot of issues (more than we’ll ever know) going on with Jagodzinski, but the bottom line was the offense wasn’t getting any real coaching. Quarterbacks coach Greg Olson suddenly had the offense dumped on him at the same time he was trying to get rookie quarterback Josh Freeman ready to step on the field and the early results weren’t pretty.

But the Bucs, most importantly Freeman, will have an entire offseason in the Olson offense. That alone should help Morris look a lot better. He’s not suddenly going to turn into the league’s most brilliant coach.

But Morris’ willingness to admit his mistakes and fix them should make him a better coach in his second season.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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