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© St. Petersburg Times, published January 1, 2001
Quick exit brings out suggestions
At some point, Tony Dungy and the rest of the Bucs mindtrust has to realize that Shaun King is not the guy to take them to the next level. In their seven losses this year, King was 119-of-223 with three touchdowns and eight interceptions, with 21 sacks, terrible even by Trent Dilfer standards.
With an average NFL quarterback, the Bucs win at least half of the six games they lost during the regular season, have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and have a legitimate shot at playing in the Super Bowl at home. The solution? Trade Keyshawn to the Chargers for the No. 1 pick and take Michael Vick.
-- Pat Speake, via e-mail
Tony Dungy and staff will need to do a lot of soul searching this off-season. They won't have to look far for their mistakes. Just look at the films from the last two games. As a fan from the outside, I'd really like to know why they abandoned (Mike) Alstott and the running game today. Alstott was averaging 6 yards a carry, and they stopped giving him the ball, even before we were behind. So the excuse that we were behind and had to pass won't wash.
Tony, look in the mirror and ask what you can learn from this season. You have talent, and now you can prove that you are a good coach by learning from your mistakes, not repeating them. We fans won't stand behind you if you continue to run this offense the way it has been last few years.
-- Bobby Pratt, Indian Rocks Beach
First of all, fire Tony Dungy. We are tired of his "no offense" skills. He doesn't let people do the jobs they are supposed to do. Alstott had some nice plays, but Dungy didn't use him properly. Dungy prides himself in defense, and the defense we saw (Sunday) night totally blew the last two games for Tampa.
(Warren) Sapp is supposed to be the man. Where was he? (John) Lynch is the man, all over the field, and picking up seven tackles. Derrick Brooks is the man, all over the field. And where was Keyshawn? I realize he was always double covered, but why couldn't he have been involved in other short pass plays?
It's time for this team to step up to the next level. We have the talent. We have a big mouth on the defensive side that needs to shut up and play ball. We need a coach that needs to get in here and take care of business.
-- Jeffrey Richard, via e-mail
This is the most disgusting display of offense I have seen from the Bucs in two seasons. Problem: Shaun King. Solution: Trent Green from the Rams is available.
From the draft there will be Chris Weinke and Drew Brees, and maybe Quincy Carter from Georgia. How do we afford them? We approach Keyshawn Johnson, Dave Moore, Jacquez Green, Reidel Anthony and George Hegamin and inform them they will be taking a substantial reduction in salary or they can go get a real job.
-- Ben Martorella, Spring Hill
After the debacle at the Vet in Philly, one thing has become abundantly clear: It's not the skill positions that the Bucs lack; it's quality players on the sieve we call an offensive line. King was running for his life a majority of the game, a running game could not be established, blitzes were not picked up, and Hugh Douglas was in the backfield on every play (literally putting Hegamin on his rear end a few times).
When something did go right, it typically was nullified by penalty calls on the O-line (i.e., an offside call and a clipping call on successive plays in the fourth quarter effectively quashing a last-ditch effort). That was undoubtedly the most lackluster and uninspired performance I have bore witness to in my 26 years as a Bucs fan. Sometimes it really hurts.
-- Scott Fargher, Tampa
The Bucs were one game away from the Super Bowl last year. This year, not even close. I said at the end of last season that the Bucs should have left things the way they were and just worked on improving their play and they would go to the Super Bowl this year.
Instead, they get rid of their offensive coordinator and two key defensive players and bring in one loudmouthed, overpaid receiver. Now look where they're at. Mike Shula was not a bad coordinator. You have to execute the plays that are called no matter what. But I think Mr. Shula is glad to be where he is now because he is with our state's better team and going farther in the playoffs than the Bucs.
-- Curtis Mitchie, via e-mail