Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs' Morris goes old school to correct penalty problem
TAMPA - Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris is the youngest head coach in the NFL, but has a little old-school in him, as well. Take his decision this week to have his players wind sprints known as gassers for drawing penalties during practice. That's as old-school as Vince Lombardi, but it quickly made a point with some of the team's youngest players. "When you've just gone through a whole practice and now you have to run a gasser, you think twice about jumping offsides,'' receiver Mike Williams said. "I think he got our attention with it.'' There was a need for Morris to get players' attentions. Tampa Bay enters Sunday's game against the Saints in New Orleans the fifth-most penalized team in the NFL. That despite having played only seven games, one fewer than two of the teams ahead of it on the list.And the penalties are costing the Bucs not just important yards. They're also costing them points, if not games, as they have readily derailed potential scoring drives and extended opponents' possessions. "He's letting us know that we can't have penalties,'' Williams said of the gassers, a series of sprints usually run across the width of the field with little or no time between to rest. "We can't go out there and get stupid penalties and have first-and-15 or first-and-20 and things like that. It sets the offense back. And it's the same thing on defense. They can't go out there and jump offsides when it's third-and-5 and things like that.'' The punishment had an immediate impact, Morris said. After first calling for gassers in Tampa Bay's only practice last week, the players went un-penalized and, therefore, unpunished in its first practice this week. The plan remains in place, though. "We'll get the guys that jump offside and things like that to (run them)," Morris said. "We're going to make them accountable.''