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Green also deserves spotlight

By ROGER MILLS

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 10, 2001


IRVING, Texas -- Much of the attention will go to running backs Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott and primary receiver Keyshawn Johnson, but in Sunday's 10-6 win over the Cowboys, fourth-year receiver Jacquez Green proved why he is valuable.

Green led the Bucs with eight catches for 75 yards, which included several critical catches in the second half. He had three catches that led to first downs and his 25-yard reception on third and 13 late in the third was the Bucs longest completion and set up Brad Johnson's 1-yard winning touchdown.

"It feels good to get a chance,' Green said. "I know things start with Warrick and Mike and Keyshawn and everyone else on the offense. Heck, we have all those (Pro Bowl players). So sometimes I think I have been forgotten, but I always feel like I can make plays, and it's important to take advantage of the opportunities to make plays when I have them."

Green said he wasn't doing anything unusual nor was he more inspired because of (Keyshawn) Johnson's injury. He said he was just taking what the defense gave him.

"It's a certain coverage they play and when teams do that, there are some spots on the backsides and the corners play real soft," he said.

ALL THE WAY: With backup James Cannida out for the five weeks with a left knee sprain and Chartric Darby having never played in an NFL game, starting defensive tackles Warren Sapp and Anthony McFarland knew they would have to play virtually the entire game. They did. Every defensive snap.

"We knew it early in the week when we knew there were only six of us," Sapp said. "You don't have to like it, but you have to do it. That's our rule."

dungy

[Times photo: Toni L. Sandys]

Buccaneers
Two in a row
How the Bucs have fared in openers under Tony Dungy

Year

Opponent Score W/L

1996

Green Bay 34-3 L

1997

San Francisco 13-6 W

1998

Minnesota 31-7 L

1999

N.Y. Giants 17-13 L

2000

New England 21-16 W

2001

Dallas 10-6 W

DUNN'S CRAMPS: Dunn left the field with 2:45 left in the third but returned shortly after receiving two bags of IV fluids. Hampered by dehydration problems and cramps in the past, Dunn said he has taken necessary precautions.

"It was cramps," Dunn said. "I don't think it's because I don't drink enough water. I think it's because I get hyper. My emotions get to me.

"The IVs are usually immediate. I feel it instantly, and it helped me finish today."

UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY: Pro Bowl center Jeff Christy missed his first game since breaking his ankle Nov. 23, 1997. Christy sustained an MCL sprain of his left knee in a preseason game at Cleveland. He did not play the final two preseason games. Backup Todd Washington started in his place.

"It was definitely hard," Christy said. "It was one of those things where I wasn't ready to play and hopefully it'll get better next week.

"I think I'll be ready Sunday."

Rookie center Leon Hires was promoted off the practice squad to ensure the Bucs had at least one backup center.

PRESIDENTIAL TOSS: President Bush opened the season with a ceremonial toss from one of the White House gardens. The toss was telecast live across the country and was supposed to be the official toss of each of the 1 p.m. games. Teams were supposed to select "heads" or "tails" and await Bush's toss. His toss landed on tails.

At Texas Stadium, the Bucs called tails but the officials did not appear to hear the national broadcast and conducted their own toss. It was tails.

SAVING TACKLE: In general, it was one of the better days of his NFL career, but fourth-year cornerback Brian Kelly likely won't forget the season opener.

Early in the first, after Reggie Swinton returned a kickoff 77 yards, Dallas looked poised to score the game's first touchdown when Kelly made a critical open-field tackle on running back Emmitt Smith on the Bucs 1-yard line.

Dallas settled for a 22-yard field goal.

"I will keep the film, but hopefully it won't be the biggest play I ever make in my career," Kelly said. "We have a long season to go and a lot of things to come.

"But just the fact that it is Emmitt and you've seen him run 1 yard into the end zone so many times in this stadium, yeah, it was special."

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