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Letters to the Editors

Dungy has earned benefit of the doubt

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 3, 2000

What is it with all you armchair QBs? Why would Coach Dungy mess with the chemistry of the defense? Because he knows what he's doing.

Face it folks, both McFarland and Cannida outplayed Brad Culpepper in camp and preseason. Don't get me wrong, I liked Brad a lot just like the rest of you. But I would never consider getting mad at Dungy for a decision he makes. All these letters attacking our coach and not one ounce of support for him is just disgusting. For all you people who think you know more than he does about football, remember who he is and where he's been, and who you are and where you are (sitting in an armchair).

What you really need to remember is where we were before Dungy got here. You may be able to find calls that Dungy has made that you don't like, or don't agree with. But I challenge you to find one that has hurt this team. You won't find one.
-- Earl Moore, Holiday

Dungy condemns himself with his own words. On Culpepper, he said, "His play hadn't dropped off at all. We felt he was still playing well, but the other two guys needed to play more." To cut a savvy, veteran team leader for no more compelling reason than the above was reckless folly. To say that Dungy is not the sharpest rock on the island is an understatement.
-- John Stawicki, St. Petersburg

Dungy mediocre? Lacks good judgment? Will be replaced by midseason? Are you kidding? Do you people have your head entrenched firmly in the Florida sand? I am a native of this state and I remember when the Bucs where the laughingstock of the league. The butt of jokes on the Tonight Show. Dungy, Rich McKay and the Glazers (yes, the Glazers) have put a winning product on our beautiful football field. Is this what winning does? Dull the mind and block the memory?

We are fortunate to have Dungy as our coach, and we win because of him, not in spite of him. As for the Culpepper move, I will trust Dungy to know a little more than the rest of us.
-- Oscar Alvarez, Oldsmar

I read with great interest all the truly knowing fans of the area who wrote things like "they better watch their backs" and "what are they thinking" and "Dungy gave the quarterback position to an unproven player." Where have these people been the last year or so?

First off, why do you think they draft players, to sit on the bench? And you're right, every player had better watch his back because someone is looking to take his job. It's the nature of the business.

As for King, the job was shoved in his face last year and he took the team to the NFC Championship Game. I'd say the job was already his unless someone stepped up and took it away, which I just didn't see happen.
-- B. MacIlroy, Largo

The reason Dungy cut Culpepper was that Booger McFarland was playing better. Everybody knew this was going to happen sooner or later, just like someday David Gibson is going to replace John Lynch. You stay competitive for a longer period of time by making moves like this, not just short-term like Washington is doing.

I wonder how many of the fans who are so quick to rush to judgment to criticize Dungy will be willing to write back to admit they were wrong?
-- Michael Duggan, via e-mail

Warrick Dunn needs to be replaced as the starting running back. He still gets too many negative runs and too few 4-5 yard runs. Yeah, its great when he can average 5 yards, but take away one breakaway and he's still down there in the 2-3 yards per carry range. Aaron Stecker deserves the starting role. Maybe Dunn can be traded for a seasoned left tackle.
-- Heinz J. Rauch, Holiday

Raymond James Stadium has the best large-screen video in all of the NFL (if not in all sports), but it's missing one thing: instant replays. If they show a replay at all, it is usually after three or four more plays have been run. Most people missed the replay of Dunn's long run because it was shown during a live play on the field. Mike Alstott breaks five tackles to get in the end zone. Why did it take so long to see a replay of that?

Many of the controversial plays aren't shown. Did the receiver have both feet in bounds when he caught the ball? Was that a good pass interference call? Was that a fumble, or was his knee on the ground?

I'm not saying that we need to see a replay of every down, but I would like to see more than are being shown.
-- Phil Tuzzolino, St. Petersburg

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