This would have been Raheem Morris' homecoming, too.
While most of the attention is on new Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano's return to the Garden State after a successful tenure with Rutgers, it's easy to forget that the former Bucs coach had just as many ties to the area. Morris, an Irvington, N.J., product, played for Hofstra and was a graduate assistant and defensive backs coach there before jumping to the NFL and being promoted to head coach in 2009.
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Morris now is a defensive backs coach with the Redskins and faces the Rams on Sunday. He was fired at the end of the 2011 season after his team lost 10 straight games and his loose style was blamed for the lack of discipline.
"We were getting fitted for coach of the year rings [in 2010],'' Morris told the Tampa Bay Times. "A year later, we weren't disciplined enough.''
Schiano has instilled a stricter regimen on the Bucs, one that he said he modeled after Tom Coughlin's approach.
"I don't look back and think of what happened in Tampa in negative terms at all," Morris told the Tampa Tribune recently. "I was given a great opportunity there and we put together a good season [in 2010] and then we came back and, for whatever reason, we just didn't do as well last year. There are some things I'm proud to have been a part of. We just didn't finish the deal, and so you have to find a way to get better."
But Morris reportedly also fired some harshly worded texts to Bucs general manager Mark Dominik when the team, which was stingy during his tenure, committed $140.5 million to three high-profile free agents this past spring.
Morris, 36, may have taken two steps back in his career, from head coach to position coach, but he is confident that he will get another opportunity. He also thinks the Bucs, who won their opener, will have a bounce-back season.
"They have a lot of good young football players and they have really good coaches," he said. "I have a lot of respect for the [coaches] they brought in, so it's going to be fun to watch them."