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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Holes few, far between on both sides of the ball

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Latest: Thursday July 27, 2000 12:24 AM

  Keyshawn Johnson The addition of Keyshawn Johnson gives the Bucs one of the league's premiere receivers. William Garrow II/Allsport

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers open their training camp at the University of Tampa in Tampa, Fla., on July 22. Here are a few questions from Sports Illustrated's Dr. Z, followed by's perspective on some of the issues facing the Buccaneers this season. SI's season preview will post Aug. 23.

Dr. Z wants to know:

1.) Carolina's defense, a highly functional outfit, collapsed when the brains of the outfit, Sam Mills, left a couple of years ago. Could the departure of MLB Hardy Nickerson be more significant than we think or is this Bucs' unit so strong that it can ride right over it?

2.) Everybody's expecting new offensive coach Les Steckel to work wonders and revive a moribund attack, but would you have called Steckel's Tennessee offense dynamic last year?

Fast Facts
1999 record: 12-6 (first in NFC Central, lost to St. Louis in NFC Championship)

Coach: Tony Dungy (36-30 in four seasons with Buccaneers)

Stadium: Raymond James Stadium (65,000, natural grass)

1999 rankings: Offense -- 15th run, 30th pass, 28th overall. Defense -- 5th run, 2nd pass, 3rd overall.

Depth chart

1999 results

1999 player stats

2000 schedule Projection: 11-5 


3.) Do you agree with me that the addition of Keyshawn Johnson not only will give Shaun King a nice target to throw to, but also will supply some terrific perimeter blocking for Warrick Dunn?

4.) And isn't it about time they start running Dunn outside instead of wearing out his 175-pound body between the tackles?

5.) Has the NFC Championship Game loss put them in an even nastier frame of mind for 2000?

The Buccaneers can make the playoffs if ... the wheels don't fall off the Pewter Power bandwagon. Acquiring Keyshawn Johnson was a deft move for a franchise in need of a bona fide playmaker on offense. With Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott chewing up the clock, the Bucs can assume -- and keep -- control of any game. Second-year QB Shaun King will not be put into situation where he has to win the game; he's there not to lose the game.

Pivotal games: Would it be premature to suggest Jan. 28, 2001? After all, Super Bowl XXXV is at Raymond James Stadium. OK, we'll settle for Oct. 1 at Washington, a matchup of teams expected to vie for NFC supremacy. Looking for the obscure: Two of the Bucs' final six games will be played in cold-weather venues (at Chicago, at Green Bay), where Tampa Bay traditionally has struggled when the temperature dips below 40 degrees.

NFC Central Previews
Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers  


On the hot seat: Running the football, Warrick Dunn was a non-issue last season: 195 carries, 616 yards and zero touchdowns. However, he did haul in a team-leading 64 passes for 589 yards and two TDs. The addition of Johnson should stretch opponents' defenses, allowing rushing lanes to open up for Warrick.

Up-and-comers: Middle linebacker Jamie Duncan steps into the starting lineup after playing in just five games last season. Duncan, who is agile and athletic, replaces the departed Hardy Nickerson. Two seasons ago, Duncan recorded 30 tackles and six assists as a rookie.

Player Movement
Unrestricted Free Agents  Restricted Free Agents  Released 
 Don Davis, LB, re-signed   Ronde Barber, CB, re-signed   Jorge Diaz, G, signed Dal. 
 John Davis, TE, signed Min.   Kevin Dogins, G, re-signed   Bert Emanuel, WR, signed Mia. 
 Trent Dilfer, QB, signed Bal.   Patrick Hape, TE    
 Paul Gruber, T   Frank Middleton, G, re-signed    
 Tony Mayberry, C   Damien Robinson, S, re-signed    
 Fred McAfee, RB   Alshermond Singleton, LB, re-signed    
 Scott Milanovich, QB, re-signed   Floyd Young, CB, re-signed    
 Dave Moore, TE, re-signed       
 Hardy Nickerson, LB, signed Jac.       
 Jason Odom, T, re-signed       
 Mark Royals, P, re-signed       
 Eric Zeier, QB, re-signed       
2000 Draft Picks
Round  Overall  Player  Pos  School 
51   Cosey Coleman  OG   Tennessee 
90   Nate Webster  ILB   Miami (FL) 
157   James Whalen  TE   Kentucky 
193   David Gibson   USC 
234   Joe Hamilton  QB   Georgia Tech 

Related information
Keyshawn Johnson feels adjusting to the Bucs' offensive strategy won't be a problem. (124 K)
Tony Dungy feels the Bucs' expectations are going to be pretty high this season. (80 K)
John Lynch feels Johnson will fit in nicely with his new team. (137 K)
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