© St. Petersburg Times, published October 8, 2000
Is it me, or do the Bucs seem cocky? Offense still can't move the ball. Shaun King has no rhythm; his passing is not good enough. After four games, I see Keyshawn Johnson catching maybe 40 passes, with an average of 8 yards. Last year, we got rid of Trent Dilfer and Mike Shula. Who will it be this time? At best, the Bucs will go 8-8.
-- Jim Fagan, e-mail
What is going on? We spend all that money for a talented receiver and we are still the conservative (Bucs) offense from a year ago. We should have spent to keep Hardy Nickerson, keeping the defense intact.
Les Steckel seemed to open it up the first three games but now seems content trying to run the ball. Offense, defense and special teams all seem to fall apart when they need to step it up. They can't seem to come together. Offense gets them back in the game, defense holds, then special teams fall apart.
Let's let King practice more downfield passing and throw more. This way, we will never make it back to the playoffs.
-- Gene Haines, e-mail
The Bucs are not going to play at Raymond James on the 28th of January. I cannot see them winning the NFC championship. First reason is special teams. They never set up a (kickoff return) wedge. Blockers are always split up.
They need killer instinct. They do not know how to step on an opponent's neck and put them away. Part of this is conservative play-calling. All in all, the Bucs are a decent team with great personnel.
-- R. Money, Tampa
Your article on the Bucs offense is right on. Warrick Dunn will never be a pro running back. It's time Tony Dungy rethinks his strategy. Give (Aaron) Stecker a chance.
-- Dan Stifflear, Palm Harbor
My worst fears are being answered. I was afraid Shaun King was not ready to shoulder the pressures of a starting quarterback in the NFL. He has shown flashes, but I think we are in trouble. A defense that was the talk of the entire NFL apparently isn't what we thought it was.
-- Clyde Reynolds, e-mail
Natives, in major numbers, are beyond restless. Evidence mounts that offense is clunking, in scheme and/or personnel. Give the defense a fair shot and it will wind up excelling. King's efficiency on first and second are not bad, but there are too many third-down dilemmas. Special teams are ridiculously erratic. Enough talk about having to use too many new guys. Joe Marciano needs a few knockouts.
John Capel, with his dark glasses, gaudy jewelry, trash talk and narcissism, embarrassed those he is privileged and entrusted to represent (in the Olympics).
No wonder the rest of the world considers Americans "ugly." The main purpose of the false-start rule is to preclude an unfair advantage, not to give offenders another chance.
Shame on Gary Shelton. Poor Johnny's parents were stuck up in the cheap seats. Well, most of us are in the very cheap seats.
Didn't the Capels get a free ride (to Sydney) compliments of community generosity? Get off the incessant promotion of entitlement and special privileges for spoiled rotten athletes.
-- Matt Schmidt, e-mail
I don't see the Capel family opportunities with such rancor, but I do quiver at seeing obnoxious, egomaniacal behavior. Worst moment of all were gold-medal idiots wrapping their showoff bods in the American flag to celebrate a relay victory that was all but a gimme for the United States. In far too many sports, premeditated and overcooked celebrations are stuff worthy of being booed off stages.
Retaining Larry Rothschild as D-Rays manager makes little sense, but I'll go along with you, Hubert, if Vince Naimoli will agree to your linkage of Larry with (general manager) Chuck LaMar, giving them extended deals if the 2001 team is a winner but firing both if it's another downer.
I'm disappointed in my community. Our baseball awareness has proven to be embarrassingly shallow. I'm disappointed in Naimoli, who can be such a jerk. I'm disappointed in LaMar, who has paid too much money to too many broken-down has-beens. Give us a little less disappointment and maybe crowds really will increase at the Trop.
-- Marcia Turnbull, e-mail
Understand your pain. Marcia. Unquestionably, 2001 will be a huge season. Upturn is mandatory; otherwise the future of Tampa Bay baseball will be in jeopardy. I want to believe that a winning, entertaining team will draw 30,000 per night. If it doesn't, we don't deserve a franchise.
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