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Buccaneer Fooball 2002   Buccaneers Fooball 2002
Jon Gruden, aka Chucky, returned to town for one reason -- to bury Tampa Bay's morbid offensive past.

Light up the cannons and hold your ears
TAMPA -- There's never been a more talented Bucs team than the one that will run out of the tunnel at Raymond James Stadium with Jon Gruden. Or one that's more balanced.

Gruden's path littered with historic hurdles
And so we rejoin the Bucs' climb up the mountain, already in progress.

Dilger site knocked off-line by Sept. 11
As far as personal losses go, Ken Dilger understands he has nothing to complain about.

Kiffin's in charge of the defense, as always
LAKE BUENA VISTA -- The Bucs turnaround as a franchise can be traced to the owner's decision in 1996 to hire Vikings defensive coordinator Tony Dungy to become the team's sixth coach.

The Florida Keys
Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell figure to be the focal points of Jon Gruden's Gulf Shore offense.

'I am making a guarantee'
The newest Bucs running back, a powerful bruiser from the Cardinals, promises that Tampa Bay's rushing game will improve. Considering last season's statistics, it shouldn't be too hard for Pittman to deliver.

Bucs: High Hopes
In the past, the Bucs offense was supposed to get out of the way while to get out of the way while the defense won the game. Under Jon Gruden, the offense is being ordered to carry its own way.

Bucs Q&A
Bucs coaches
Buccaneers defensive capsules
Buccaneers offensive capsules
Buccaneers at a glance
Bucs by the numbers
On the road with the Bucs
What they're saying about the Bucs

The League
League site gives fans what they want
The official site of the NFL, as one of the top sports destinations in all the Internet, has the annual challenge of taking the same basic components -- teams to watch, exciting players, the intrigue of postseason hopes -- and crafting a compelling reason for fans to log on all season.

New rules
Staff predictions
Coaching changes
Team by team breakdown
New NFL stadiums
NFL: By the numbers
Gimme Five

The Stadium
What to bring and what to leave home
Because of increased security, fans are encouraged to arrive at Raymond James Stadium earlier than usual. Some items will be prohibited, and they will not be stored at the gates. They must be returned to your vehicle or thrown away.

NFC South
Confidence still strong despite loss of talent
Several stars leaves Saints, but their remaining players aren't sweating it.

So fast, they're scary
The Falcons' believe their speed will take the rest of the league by storm.

What's past is past for Panthers, unless you hang on for motivation
Most of Carolina wants to forget last season, but the QB won't let go just yet.

NFC South capsules
Saints notebook
Falcons Notebook
Panthers notebook

Around the state
No more excuses for Miami
If Ricky Williams can anchor the offense, the Dolphins might avoid sinking early this season.

What they're saying about the Dolphins

Dolphins: For the fans

Jacksonville looking dim without its stars
Most of the players who steered the Jags to glory in the late '90s are gone and the replacements are untried.

Jaguars: For the fans
What they're saying about the Jaguars

About the cover
A little dirt, a little smoke, a Chucky doll and some help from a local granite engraver resulted in this graveyard scene representing new coach Jon Gruden’s intentions to bury the dismal Bucs offense of the past. Special thanks to Richard Alford and his colleagues at Sumner Marble & Granite Works, (727) 321-5498, for their work on the Buccaneers headstone, which they created at their shop in St. Petersburg.

Staff photographer James Borchuck and senior newsartist Don Morris created the photo illustration, using a Chucky doll (purchased at BUCSstuff & More in St. Petersburg 727-209-3474), dirt, a shovel, lots of lights (the photograph was taken at night) and smoke from a rented theatrical fog machine.

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