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Friday, Dec 09, 2016
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Morris focused on reducing penalties

TAMPA - When Coach Raheem Morris reflects on Tampa Bay's first seven games, he doesn't see red. He sees all that yellow. "We got a chance to look at our 71 penalties and be accountable for the ones we can affect — the jumping offsides, the holding calls,'' Morris said. The Bucs have been flagged for 493 yards, well above the NFL average (354.5), and Morris said many of those penalties either undermined Tampa Bay drives or sustained possessions by opposing clubs during the club's 4-3 start.
Still, Morris is proud that the Bucs have remained within striking distance through seven weeks, despite the sloppy play. "The best team in the NFL has seven wins,'' he said, referring to the defending-champion Packers. "The next-best teams have five, so we're only one game away from being the second-best team in the NFL.'' London calling The Bucs have switched a home game from Tampa to London twice in the past three seasons, and veteran G Davin Joseph doesn't mind crossing the Atlantic to reach a global audience. Tampa Bay dropped a 24-18 decision to Chicago at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, and the Bucs suffered a 35-7 overseas loss against New England in 2009. "It was a wonderful trip,'' Joseph said after Wednesday's morning workout. "That's something I would love to do every year. We don't have a win out there yet, but it's not the environment, it's our play.'' Sputtering start Tampa Bay's slow getaways have been a prominent story line all season. The Bucs have been outscored 98-61 in the first half, and Tampa Bay's offense has gone 61 consecutive games without scoring more than seven points in an opening quarter. "I'm OK with being 4-3,'' Joseph said. "We've won some important games, especially in our division, and we're proud of that, but we also let some games slip away with some slow starts. We're playing around with some different ways of helping us start faster. It comes down to converting third downs and getting more yards on first down.'' Joseph doesn't appear overly concerned about Tampa Bay's lack of balance. Only Drew Brees of the Saints has attempted more passes than Josh Freeman, and the Bucs are throwing on 63 percent of their snaps. "Our offense is a run-first offense, and we all know that,'' Joseph said, "but when you have guys go down, you do what you've got to do to win the game. If we have to pass 50 times to give us a chance to win, that's what we'll do.'' Extra points The Bucs promoted rookie RB Mossis Madu to the 53-man roster and signed FB Matt Clapp to the practice squad. …Bucs first-round draft pick Adrian Clayborn leads rookie defensive linemen with three sacks. …With secondary coach Jimmy Lake sidelined temporarily by a torn patellar tendon, Morris worked extensively with Tampa Bay defensive backs Wednesday. …Despite playing only two games since being reinstated by the league, S Tanard Jackson tops the Bucs with two interceptions. Ira Kaufman