Morris: Fumble showed Buccaneers' Blount 'not ready to play'

With his team having lost its last eight games prior to Saturday's contest against the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris was in no mood to tolerate mistakes. That attitude extended to star running back LeGarrette Blount.

On the Buccaneers' first offensive play of the game, Blount couldn't control a handoff from quarterback Josh Freeman. Panthers linebacker James Anderson recovered the ball on the Buccaneers' 8-yard line, leading to a field goal and a 10-0 lead for Carolina.

Freeman was credited with the fumble, but Morris held Blount out of the rest of the first half. Blount had only two carries in the 48-16 loss.

"To not get that play executed on the first play of the football game is unacceptable," Morris told the Tampa Tribune. "You're obviously not ready to play. I'm not ready to give up on him (Blount), but you can't let your team down that way."

Blount took his reduced role in stride.

"It happens," Blount said. "Whenever you feel like something is not going your way, you've got to look somewhere else. If a back's been giving up the ball the whole season, you've got to find someone else to do the job. It was a miscommunication. We fumbled the ball."

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