- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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After one more season and another loss to the Cowboys in the playoffs, Williams and the Bucs split over money. McKay told Williams that Tampa Bay's offer of $400,000 a year plus a reported 5% interest in Buccaneer owner Hugh F. Culverhouse's proposed TampaSphere development was fair. And at the time it probably was. It was said Williams would have accepted $600,000, and he finally did, but from the Outlaws.
"I feel good about our quarterbacking now," McKay said Friday, "better than I ever have." But the trade that brought Thompson from Cincinnati cost the Bucs their No. 1 pick in 1984. Tampa could have used that choice to draft ex-BYU quarterback Steve Young. As it turned out, Cincinnati couldn't sign Young, who went to the USFL; curiously, the Bucs now own the NFL rights to Young, having selected him in a supplemental draft of USFL players.
The Bucs have signed all their key players for at least two years. House got a $300,000-a-year, three-year contract extension, a $100,000 bonus and a $100,000 loan. Linebacker Green signed a four-year, $3 million extension. Unfortunately, this was a case of closing the barn door after the stud horse had left. The Bucs lost nine games last year by seven points or less. Williams was usually worth seven points.
Culverhouse insists McKay is the master of his own fate. "I won't have to fire John," Culverhouse says. "Because of his integrity, he'll let me know when the time is right." McKay, when asked if he will coach beyond this year and next, the run of his contract, says, "I have no idea."
McCormack tried head coaching with the Philadelphia Eagles ('73-75) and Baltimore Colts ('80-81) with no success but now he has found his element at the top of the Seahawks' chain of command. McCormack came to Seattle after the '81 season as director of football operations, became interim head coach after Jack Patera was fired in '82 and then, in January '83 succeeded general manager John Thompson when he, too, got the ax.
"Mike's made the difference," says one Seahawk. "The atmosphere around here before him was surly." McCormack's first priority was to acquire Knox, who is a longtime golfing buddy of McKay's and had used McKay's I formation to great advantage in Buffalo with Joe Cribbs. Knox repeated that success formula in Seattle, setting rookie Curt Warner loose for 1,449 yards last year.
Now Seattle is a more cohesive and far deeper team than Tampa Bay. Warner and two other All-Pros, wide receiver Steve Largent and safety Kenny Easley, didn't even play in Saturday's blowout. Krieg, from a tiny, defunct college called Milton, in Wisconsin, took over last year and went from $70,000 to $250,000 per; he sent Jim Zorn to the bench with his $600,000 salary. Krieg also went from a Pinto to a BMW 325e and from bachelorhood to wedded bliss in the offseason. "A lot of coaches know X's and O's," Krieg says, "but Chuck knows how to get you to play it his way. We believe in him."
John McKay remains an optimist.