Posted December 07, 2011 on AP on Fox
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had plenty of trouble keeping opponents off the scoreboard this season and especially during their current six-game losing streak. Their struggling defense, however, might finally catch a break with Sunday's matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tampa Bay (4-8) has allowed 20 or more points in eight consecutive games and an average of 30.7 during its six-game skid. The Buccaneers let another struggling NFC South team, Carolina, post its highest point total of the season in a 38-19 loss last Sunday. They allowed 24 points in the first half, including the first of Cam Newton's three touchdown runs, and scored their only TD with 6:35 remaining. The effort left beleaguered coach Raheem Morris so frustrated that he used an expletive during a postgame press conference when asked why he removed a player from the field following a penalty. Morris apologized for that slip-up when he met the media again the next day. "We've got to go out and play better. We've got to figure out a way to be smarter. We have to figure out a way to be more consistent," Morris said. Tampa Bay, 30th in the league with 27.4 points allowed per game, may have a good chance to turn things around against Jacksonville (3-9). The Jaguars have the lowest-rated offense in the league, averaging 254.7 total yards despite having NFL rushing leader Maurice Jones-Drew (1,137 yards). They rank 31st in scoring with 12.7 points a contest and have topped 17 only once, a 30-20 loss to Cincinnati on Oct. 9. Jacksonville led late in the second quarter Monday night against San Diego, but its injury-plagued defense gave up two touchdowns in the final 1:26 of the first half and 28 unanswered points in a 38-14 defeat. The Jaguars have 22 players on injured reserve, including four who had made at least two starts in the secondary. San Diego took advantage of those absences to compile 433 yards Monday, the second-most the Jaguars have given up this season. It remains to be seen if Josh Freeman will get his chance to face that short-handed secondary as he's dealing with a right shoulder injury that kept him sidelined last Sunday. Josh Johnson completed 16 of 27 passes for 229 yards with one touchdown and one interception, falling to 0-5 as an NFL starter. "I'm hoping (Freeman can return Sunday)," Morris said. "We've got to get him out there and let him move his arm around and see the pain tolerance. You don't want to hurt your quarterback any further. You want to be smart with him and see what he can do and how fast you can let him do it." The Jaguars, meanwhile, are hoping to see some continued improvement from rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The No. 10 overall pick has completed 54.8 percent of his passes over the past four games after connecting on 44.3 percent in his previous six. Gabbert had two touchdown passes in a game for the first time in his career Monday and finished six yards shy of topping 200 for the third time. "I'm not at all disappointed in where he's going and the progress he's making," interim coach Mel Tucker told the team's website. "He's showing the willingness to put the work in and I think he has tremendous support from his teammates. He needs to get better, and we need to get better around him." This will be Tucker's second game in his audition for the permanent head coaching job after Jack Del Rio was fired. The Jaguars have won the last three meetings with Tampa Bay after losing the first one but haven't faced their in-state foe since a 24-23 win in 2007. Tampa Bay is mired in its longest skid since dropping 11 in a row bridging the 2008 and '09 seasons.

Morris to simplify playbook for struggling Bucs

TAMPA You could see the frustration and pain etched in Raheem Morris face Monday. The smile he often flashes from the podium at One Buc Place was nowhere to be seen, and the frequent sparkle in his eyes instead conveyed an air of dejection. Such is life these days for the third-year Tampa Bay head coach as he searches for answers to the confounding questions besetting his young...

DT Price on ejection from game by coach Morris: 'like getting a whuppin' from your dad.'

Bucs defensive tackle Brian Price said he believed a Carolina Panthers' player was attempting to re-injure his ankle, sparking his outburst, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and ejection from the game by coach Raheem Morris last Sunday. After watching tape of the Bucs 38-19 loss to the Panthers, Price said he overreacted and apologized to Morris, his teammates and the organization...

What should the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do with head coach Raheem Morris?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been one of this season’s biggest disappointments and with the team on a six-game skid, one has to wonder what the franchise will do with head coach Raheem Morris at the end of the 2011 season. Long0time Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans are used to the constant uncertainty at the head coaching position, it took decades until the Buccaneers finally...

Scaling It Back

Raheem Morris has the answer for why the defense is allowing several thousand rushing yards per game: The defense is too complicated for the players they have. So Morris will scale everything back and hope that stops the bleeding. “In order to get it better, you make it smaller and you get these guys more consistent in what they’re doing and let them just go out there and play...

REAR ENTRIES: That’s A Paddlin’

BRIAN PRICE GOT A WHUPPIN: Brian Price is known as a stand-up guy and no one really expected him to get all rebellious at Raheem Morris‘s decision to eject him from the game last week. But it’s still nice to see it in print. “It’s kind of like getting a whuppin’ by your dad,” Price said of being told Sunday by Morris to leave the field immediately after his third-quarter...

Frustration growing for struggling Buccaneers

The offense is sputtering, the defense is reeling, and the losses are mounting for the last-place Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sunday's 38-19 loss to Cam Newton and Carolina Panthers was the sixth straight for the Bucs (4-8), and coach Raheem Morris is getting increasingly more frustrated. Morris began his weekly news conference Monday by apologizing for an expletive he used Sunday...

Bucs hope to change the topic with a win

TAMPA, Fla. -- It was something of a three-ring circus Wednesday morning at One Buc Place, with a trio of Tampa Bay players dealing with issues theyd just as soon not have to talk about any more. In the center ring, quarterback Josh Freeman held his weekly press conference to answer on-going questions about his injured shoulder. The gist: Hes making some progress after sitting...

The Reality of a Lost Season

Raheem Morris and the Buccaneers sold boat loads of hope last season and never delivered.TAMPA — It’s official. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not have a winning season in 2011, a year after so much promise was built and hope was sold.We were buying hope stock in the Buccaneers like the internet guy in the Simpsons was offering it to Bart; we were rolling shares off like toilet...

Correction: Buccaneers story

In a Dec. 4 hometown lead on the NFL game between Carolina and Tampa Bay, The Associated Press erroneously quoted Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris following a 38-19 loss. The coach, referring to what Morris described as poor play by his team, said: "I can take getting beat by a better football team, which they were." Morris did not say, "I wish they were."

Bucs safety Sean Jones' hit draws $20K fine

Bucs safety Sean Jones was fined $20,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Panthers receiver Legedu Naanee last Sunday. The NFL issued the fine earlier this week and confirmed it today. Jones was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play, though players don't necessarily have to be flagged to draw a fine. Defensive tackle Brian Price, who was involved in a skirmish that drew...
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