Buccaneers demote Bates
Continuing a tumultuous year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers changed defensive coordinators, demoting Jim Bates and handing over their defense to coach Raheem Morris.
"I feel like it's my responsibility. I feel like I have to do it," said Morris, who at 33 is the league's youngest coach. "I feel like it's what I'm supposed to do as a head coach."
The decision to relieve Bates, first reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, was made late Monday, in the wake of a 38-7 drubbing by the unbeaten New Orleans Saints that dropped the Bucs to 1-9.
In another shakeup, the Bucs then signed offensive coordinator Greg Olson to a contract extension on Tuesday, a team official told Schefter.
Bates succeeded Monte Kiffin as coordinator when Kiffin, widely regarded as one of the NFL's best defensive strategists, joined his son's staff at Tennessee. Bates, who had stints with five NFL teams as a defensive coordinator and assistant, moved the Bucs away from the "Tampa 2" defensive scheme that Kiffin adapted and popularized.
But Bates could not duplicate Kiffin's success. The Bucs are currently ranked 27th in total defense, allowing 378.3 yards per game. Only the Detroit Lions (30.1) are allowing more points per game than the 29.4 ppg given up by Tampa Bay.
"There's nothing wrong with the scheme. There's nothing wrong with the players," Morris said.
"There won't be much of a change. There will be a little more of a Raheem Morris influence. ... We've got some coverage options that we can use. We have some other things that we can do. That's what we'll try to go out and do," he said.
The St. Petersburg Times reported Bates is expected to remain with the team through the end of the season as a defensive consultant to Morris.
Bates was the second coordinator to lose his job in Tampa Bay this season. Before the regular season began, the team fired offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski.
"It's my call. It's my job to make sure we progress," said Morris, who took over for Jon Gruden after Tampa Bay ended last season with a four-game losing streak that cost the team a playoff berth following a 9-3 start.
"We've got to go out, we've got to progress and try to get better these next six weeks. That's my focus," he said.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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