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While injuries did contribute to the season-ending slide, so did inconsistent play -- starting with Freeman. He threw for 16 touchdowns vs. 22 interceptions after tossing 25 TD passes and being intercepted just six times in 2010. The Bucs turned the ball over a league-leading 40 times compared to 19 last season.
The defense, which has a proud tradition, sank to unheard of lows in Tampa Bay. In addition to surrendering a franchise-record and league-high 494 points, the Bucs lost eight games by double-digit margins and allowed 31 points or more seven times during the season-ending skid.
With Morris serving as his own defensive coordinator, he shouldered much of the blame for the steady decline.
Still, last week the coach laid out his argument for keeping the job.
The Bucs had the youngest team in the NFL this season, with 30 players on the 53-man roster in their first, second or third years in the league.
In addition, there are 21 players on the roster, including leading rusher LeGarrette Blount and third-leading receiver Preston Parker, who entered the NFL as undrafted free agents.
Among the veterans who didn't return in 2011 were middle linebacker Barrett Ruud and running back Cadillac Williams, who left via free agency. Rookie Mason Foster stepped into Ruud's spot and took on play-calling responsibilities, and the loss of Williams left Freeman without a proven third-down back once veteran Earnest Graham was lost for the season to injury.
"We made a collective agreement to go young when we took over this program. That's something we wanted to do," Morris said at the time. "I believe in my guys. I believe in the system. I believe in the program. I believe in what we do. We want to build this thing young, and want to develop a team that goes out and wins, and wins consistently."
Glazer said there's no timetable for naming a successor.
"We just want to find the right person," he said, adding that his family also remains committed to building a roster primarily through the draft.
"We will be happy to spend in free agency, but we have got to build a team," Glazer said. "We have to draft well and build a foundation for this team. But we're open-minded; whatever we have to do to win."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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