St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

At 4-4, Bucs remain a work in progress


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 5, 2000

ATLANTA -- Halftimes in the NFL are 20 minutes long. Enough time for a Frisbee dog, a midget football scrimmage or (my favorite) exchanging wedding vows.

Tailgate to follow ceremony, Lot 6. Very casual.

So without further ado, or I do's, let's use the break in the action at the midway point in the season to recap the first half of the Buccaneers' season. At 4-4, Tampa Bay is not even in great position to make the playoffs. But the Bucs are the team you'd least like to face in the post-season.

"I think what we've seen is when we play well, we play good football and we can beat anybody in the league," coach Tony Dungy said. "When we're not on top of our game, we're just right in the middle of the pack or below average.

"Our task is to play consistently week in and week out."

BIGGEST STORY OF THE FIRST HALF: Say what you want about Keyshawn Johnson, the dude can play.

The extracurricular stuff is what you have to live with. Johnson and the rest of the Bucs were a little too full of themselves after a 3-0 start and laid an egg against the Jets. But he is tough (most players would have been knocked out by the blow he took against Detroit) and productive (did six catches for 121 yards vs. Minnesota convince?).

And if you think he's about just getting his numbers, think again.

In a 16-game season, Johnson always will finish with his career average of around 80 catches for 1,000 yards, precisely the pace he's on with Tampa Bay.

"When we were 1-8 in New York, I was having a great year with the same deal," Johnson said. "A great year with the same exact numbers.

"So you mean to tell me nine months later I'm having a terrible year with the same numbers in '99 because we're 4-4?"

ROLLER-COASTER MAN: You can't hide inexperience at the quarterback position in the NFL. Like his team, Shaun King has been streaky. No turnovers in four wins. Six INTs in four losses.

"He's going to have a better game this week," Johnson said. "He tends to play better indoors. I could just tell in Minnesota the way he was throwing the football, the way the ball was rotating and coming nice and crisp off his hand."

MOST IMPROVED: Marcus Jones. In eight games, his 10 sacks already have made him at least $5-million a season as a free agent.

MOST DOMINANT: Warren Sapp is the only defensive lineman worth the entire price of a ticket. Will break Lee Roy Selmon's sack record and join him in the Hall of Fame if he plays 8-10 seasons.

MOST UNDERRATED: Jacquez Green has benefited from Johnson's arrival, but he's a star in this league. Could become first Bucs wideout with 1,000 receiving yards since '89.

WORST TURNOVER: Mike Alstott's fourth quarter fumble against the Jets, a play that changed the direction of the season.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: The early struggles by the special teams, including two fumbles at Minnesota. They have improved along with placekicker Martin Gramatica.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE MIDYEAR: Running back Warrick Dunn, who is getting it done as a rusher and a receiver in Les Steckel's offense.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk
  • Taking a gamble on Winston Cup
  • Mizell

  • Columnist Mizell plans retirement
  • Sunshine State basking in BCS possibilities
  • Shelton

  • It's a case of terminal madness
  • Bucs

  • Calm after the storm
  • NFL games today
  • Hastings never lost his cool
  • A charmed childhood
  • At 4-4, Bucs remain a work in progress
  • Bucs chat
  • Buccaneers best and worst: Game 9
  • The young man and the sea
  • Falcons also deal with the drops
  • Analysis: Fox's Tim Green
  • Buccaneers by the numbers
  • Quick hits
  • Lightning

  • A wave of injuries batters defensemen
  • NHL briefs
  • Lightning closer to winning style
  • College football

  • Hurricane Vicktims
  • Grossman settles down, UF cruises after halftime
  • Bulls offense climbs hill, tops Western Kentucky
  • Bulls offense climbs hill, tops Western Kentucky
  • Daddy's boys show who's still the boss
  • Minnis gets milestone and 98-yard reception
  • College football briefs
  • College football this week on TV
  • USF sideliners
  • LB Marc hopes for future in NFL
  • Blackwell heads up homecoming party
  • UM sideliners
  • UM quotebook
  • Virginia Tech quotebook
  • Tech paid back for big mouths
  • Immobile Vick can't save Tech
  • FSU sideliners
  • Tommy to dad: Please go home
  • Louisville usurps power in C-USA
  • Nunnally passes Rice in victory
  • Carroll, UF defense healing at same time
  • Sheppard flashes two-way ability
  • UF sideliners
  • More sports

  • Tempest tossed in home opener
  • Woman supports Carruth's denial
  • Ludzik removal key if Lightning to improve
  • Highs and lows
  • Mizell mailbag
  • Sports briefs
  • The Great Off-season Salary Dump begins
  • Golf briefs
  • Baseball briefs
  • Slap shots
  • Panthers have plunged after breakout season
  • Breeders' Cup notebook
  • Horse racing briefs
  • Auto racing briefs
  • Tiznow's time
  • Help seabirds off the hook
  • Captain's corner
  • McGrady gets suspension
  • Ankle forces out Hill, maybe for two weeks
  • Bucs' rise brings them to state
  • AFA trounces Keswick, stays perfect
  • Bucs squeak by 3A-3 field
  • Hudson, Seven Rivers advance; River Ridge falls
  • Cobras play their best to reach semis at Disney
  • Spongers don't reach regional
  • CCC girls look to finish dream season on a high
  • Durant advances to 6A final four
  • Slow start, poor serves end Bayshore's season
  • Tornadoes have few problems in their victories
  • Cougars, Tornadoes advance
  • Lewis makes his Lambeau return

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts