Head coach Raheem Morris does not agree with the characterization that the team lacks leadership, however.
After watching the tape of the Bucs’ 37-9 loss to the Texans, NFL.com’s Michael Lombardi wrote Wednesday that Tampa Bay needs stronger leadership to mold the young team into one of the best, as Morris and his players claim to want to be.
“But can you be the best leading the league in penalties? Can you be the best when you’re outscored in the first quarter 53-21?” Lombardi wrote. “Can you be the best when you can’t tackle a checkdown route that turns into a 78-yard touchdown? Can you be the best without preparing to be the best?”
Morris’ response harkened back to his childhood and what he learned about taking criticism.
“Here’s the deal,” Morris told the St. Petersburg Times. “When we were young kids, right? I went to school. I was 6 years old, 7 years old. And this guy saw my grandmother and said my grandmother ran like a bulldog. And I beat the heck out of him.
“I went home and my mom was so disappointed that I beat the heck out of him. She said, ‘Don’t worry. It doesn’t matter what people say about you. It doesn’t matter what people say about your family.’ So I learned that lesson a long time ago not to get upset with clowns that don’t really know what they’re talking about that have something to say.
“So we’ve moved on. I learned that lesson. I don’t have to react to that kind of stuff.”
Lombardi predicted in August that the Bucs’ lackluster preseason effort was a poor reflection on Morris’ leadership and could come back to bite them in the regular season.