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Phillips: Morris deserves to return next year

Posted Dec 14, 2009 by Ira Kaufman

Updated Dec 14, 2009 at 09:36 PM

By IRA KAUFMAN

For veteran safety Jermaine Phillips, retaining Raheem Morris as coach of the Buccaneers in 2010 is a no-brainer.

Phillips has been out for the season since breaking his left thumb in a Week 2 loss at Buffalo. The Bucs dropped to 1-12 Sunday with a 26-3 loss to the Jets that sent thousands of home fans scrambling for the exits, well before the debacle at Raymond James Stadium had concluded.

“Raheem is going to be just fine … just bear with him,’’ Phillips said Monday. “Before the season starts, we fire our offensive coordinator (Jaff Jagodzinski), so you don’t get a full training camp with the offense you want to run. Then we’re playing a new defense that’s not working. Since Raheem has taken over, you’ve seen the defense is playing better. It’s night and day. We’ve got a rookie quarterback (Josh Freeman), so we know we’re going to have some bumps on the road. You tell me what rookie quarterback hasn’t had growing pains? You can’t judge Raheem off one season. When he got hired, a lot of the good coordinators were already taken. What do you expect him to do? We all make mistakes. Raheem saw his mistakes and tried to correct them.’’

Phillips said he is proud of his teammates for continuing to work hard through a dispiriting start.

“I know what these guys put into it, the love they have for the game,’’ Phillips said. “Nobody around here is quitting. You don’t see our guys jogging around, like some players in the NFL. Right now, we’re not getting the results. Right now, we can’t buy a win. Right now is gut-check time for everybody.’’