© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000
Love reading you, but this time I am in full disagreement. To compare Moss, Rice and Bruce with Keyshawn Johnson is comparing apples to oranges. Let's start with an important ingredient called quarterback.
Moss has Cunningham, George and now Daunte (Culpepper). Rice had Montana and Young. You know who Bruce has (Kurt Warner). You get my point. All three played for coaches who believed in the pass in opening up offenses.
(Tony) Dungy is a run-oriented coach. I like Shaun (King), and I think he'll get better with experience and more help on the right side of the line, but when he throws with 5-foot-8 Jacquez Green and hits him between the 8 and the 1, but yet overthrows 6-4 Keyshawn, I look at the QB.
Keyshawn is a player. A big-time player. I am probably the only Trojan die-hard in Florida, so I've watched Keyshawn religiously since he was at USC. He was a player then and is a star now. He is frustrated the offense hasn't been clicking, but he will not give up. Pride is too important.
-- Derek Wood, via e-mail
Media criticism is wonderful to read, when it's accurate. You nailed the Keyshawn Johnson situation. I'm sure he is a talented athlete with enormous pride. But with so much talk before he produces anything of significance for the Bucs, that is dangerous. He deserves to have his fingers burned.
Like you, I think it's unfair to group Johnson with those Bucs wide receiver failures of high-priced note, Alvin Harper and Bert Emanuel. But wouldn't it be nice to see Keyshawn's performance surpass his self-analysis?
-- Carney Latford, Palm Harbor
Keyshawn may be out on U.S. 19, but your article is way out on I-95. Offense doesn't get him the ball like the Rams do with receivers. Direct the article to (Tony) Dungy, because he decides where the football goes.
It's grind out the yards until you lead by two or three points, then let the defense play 50 minutes trying to win the game.
-- Robert Mannino, via e-mail
You suggest Keyshawn Johnson is smart. So let him look up the word "humility." He reminds me of a professional wrestler, who crows about being the world's best, without having delivered the proof. We all want Keyshawn to do well with the Bucs, but he should zip it until everybody can see he truly is a big star.
-- Jose Santiago, Tampa
Yeah, Key has a big head and a big mouth. He's not alone in pro sports or any endeavor where the spotlight shines.
Looking at Bucs tapes, you can see Keyshawn downfield, waving frantically, wide open. Against the Vikings, this happened in the end zone.
Key's big head, big mouth and lack of numbers aggravate Bucs fans, but that nice, soft-spoken quarterback, Mr. King, is a far more serious problem. If you want to slam someone, try King. Try the give-it-up defense. Try (Warrick) Dunn. Try (Les) Steckel's running game scheme.
-- Bill Scott, Pinellas Park
Mizell replies: Keyshawn does not have the Bucs quarterback help that has been accorded Moss, Rice and Bruce. But even in a restricted offense, he can be dynamic. Fumbles in back-to-back losses fueled negative thoughts. Johnson has big talent, but I still think his Jets accomplishments were New York-exaggerated.
Through the Internet, I try to read Florida's top newspapers every day, checking on my Gators. I wish the Times would do even more midweek analysis. My reason for messaging is your column on Steve Spurrier, which has had obvious effect.
We had just been blown away at Mississippi State. It was wonderful to beat Tennessee, but the Vols frankly outplayed the Gators. You were right about my coach. He had become too glum. His negative vibes were dragging down the team.
Bingo, after your article, we see Spurrier smiling. He says it's become fun again. We murder LSU and Auburn. It's so obvious, sitting in the stands, that the enjoyment factor has returned. Thanks for the criticism.
-- Bruce Jordan, Jacksonville
Mizell replies: Hey, Bruce, it is a game.
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