Bucs relieve Jim Bates of coaching duties

Jim Bates

The Buccaneers made national headlines again on Tuesday after Raheem Morris announced that he would be taking control of the defense and change the scheme that the team has been running all season long. Read on to find out more about why Bates was relieved of his duties as the defensive coordinator, what Raheem's plan for the defense is, and who the latest Buccaneer is to land on injured reserve.

Raheem Morris is nothing if not consistent.

Coach Raheem Morris fired his offensive coordinator just before the season began, and now he's relieved his defensive coordinator Jim Bates of his duties. Jim Bates, whose defense was ranked last against the run, next to last in points allowed, and 26th in total yards, was stripped of his play-calling duties. Morris, a defensive coach during his days as an assistant, will orchestrate the defense on game day.

"I feel like it's my responsibility," Morris said. "I feel like I have to do it. I feel like it's what I'm supposed to do as a head coach and a man on this football team."

"It's funny. You were hired to be defensive coordinator two weeks before you were hired to be the head coach, and you have some ideas and you've got your plans out there," Morris said Tuesday. "Why throw (linebackers coach) Joe Barry out there and let him try to fix it the next six weeks when you think you can? I feel like it's my responsibility. I feel like I have to do it. I feel like it's what I'm supposed to do as a head coach and a man on this football team.

Bates, 63, met with Morris on Tuesday morning and is expected to remain with the team as a defensive consultant and help from the coaches' box on game day. But Morris said those details are still being worked out.

"It's what I owe this organization, it's what I owe this town, what I owe this ownership, what I owe (general manager) Mark Dominik, everybody that's involved with me. It's my job to fix it, and that's what I've got to go out there and do."

After speaking with Morris in the morning, Bates didn't stick around to watch the Tuesday afternoon practice. Instead Bates was one block away, eating lunch at Boston Market.

"We're going to make sure first of all that it's best for both of us," Morris said. "We were able to talk this morning, we were able to sit down, and he's definitely helping me right now. Like I said about Jim Bates, you're talking about one of the most well-respected guys in this league and one of the most well-respected minds in this league and my friend. We've done a great job of sitting down and trying to hash it out. It's still in pending mode. He's helping me, I'm helping him and we're getting through it.

"It's still a wait-and-see deal, but we're working together."

Morris said the decision to remove Bates as defensive coordinator was based on the team's poor performance. The Bucs are allowing an NFL-worst 168.9 rushing yards per game.

"It's my call, it's my job to make sure we progress, and that's what I've got to go out there and try to get it done every day," Morris said. "It's within the results. We're judged every day in this business. We have to be judged every day in this business, we all will be. We all are. It's the results. We've got to go out and progress, and we've got to try to get better in these next six weeks, and that's my focus."

Bates wasn't the only one departing the scene in Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers placed quarterback Byron Leftwich on injured reserve with an ailing right elbow.

Leftwich started Tampa Bay's first three games this season -- all losses -- before losing his job to Josh Johnson. Johnson subsequently lost the job to rookie Josh Freeman, with Leftwich getting bumped down to the No. 3 role.

Now he'll have no role at all, possibly putting him in the same boat as Bates.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB Josh Freeman needs to work on his ball security after losing three fumbles in the past two games, offensive coordinator Greg Olson said.

--QB Byron Leftwich was placed on injured reserve with an elbow injury.

--QB Rudy Carpenter, a rookie from Arizona State, was signed off the Cowboys' practice squad.

--RB Earnest Graham will get more touches, but his primary role will be as a fullback this season.

--T Jeremy Trueblood has a knee sprain, and his status is questionable for Sunday's game.

--DT Roy Miller said he's excited to play in the Tampa 2 defense, a system he thrived in at Texas.

--CB Mike Mickens, signed off Dallas' practice squad earlier this month, was released by Tampa Bay.

--WR Terrence Nunn was added to the Bucs' active roster from the Patriots' practice squad.

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