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- In the Dawg Pound: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kevin Figgers October 7, 2004
Kevin Figgers
NFL Columnist

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For years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been known for their defensive dominance. This year has not been much different as the Bucs are within the top 6 of NFL defenses. However their “bend just a little, but never break” philosophy has eluded them the first 4 weeks of this young NFL season. In week 1 they gave up a 64-yard touchdown run to Clinton Portis and the Washington Redskins, that one play essentially lost the game for the Bucs. Numerous big passing plays kept them on the field against the Seahawks in week 2. A 60-yard run from Tyronne Wheatley that set-up a Raiders score in week 3. And in week 4 the defense kept killing themselves with penalties that would eventually cost them the game. While the Bucs are still one of the top defenses in the National Football League, they cannot continue to give up the big play or it will be a long season for Monte’s (Kiffin) boys.

Of course you cannot talk about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers without mentioning bad offense. Jon Gruden was brought to Tampa Bay to shore up the offense and turn the Bucs from a just a playoff contender, into a Superbowl dynasty. Granted, the Bucs did win the Superbowl in Grudens' fist season with the team, but since that season the Bucs are 7-13 and have yet to win a game in 2004. Gruden is considered one of the ‘masters’ of the west coast offense. So why is his offense ranked dead last in the NFL is total offense as well as scoring offense? If you ask the Bucs, all they do is shrug collectively. Many Bucs fans WANT to blame Brad Johnson, the same guy whose feet they were worshiping after the 2002 season. Gruden has always been known as a run-first and pass-second type of coach, and apparently neither is working. And losing Charlie Garner doesn’t help, although they did get Michael Pittman back last week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded numerous draft picks and over $8 million for Gruden, and until this team (particularly the offense), start showing signs of improvement, John Gruden and the Bucs will remain “In the Dawg Pound”.

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