Head Coach Tony Dungy told NFL.com users that he hopes the Bucs win 12-13 regular season games
The National Football League made a comforting return to the field on Sunday, but without the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were enjoying their bye week. After an early afternoon practice last Thursday, Head Coach Tony Dungy let his team scatter for the weekend, and even made some get-away plans of his own.
"I've got my bye week plans made," said Dungy that afternoon. "Just family time. Got a little fishing trip on Friday. I'm looking forward to it."
Dungy didn't completely tear himself away from football, however. On Sunday, he took in some of the action as the rest of the league returned to work. And, on Saturday, Dungy took time out to chat with NFL fans around the country on the league's central web site.
Following is the transcript of that chat on NFL.com, which covered topics ranging from the Ryan Leaf experiment to Jacquez Green's progress to Dungy's expected victory total for the Buccaneers.
Tony Dungy: It's good to be here. I think this is my third [chat]. So, it means that I am still coaching and it's good to be invited back.
Question: How do you think your team will handle the two-week layoff?
Tony Dungy: It's going to be new for us, and we are trying to balance things without over working they guys.
Question: What do you think of the league's plan to play the 16-game schedule?
Tony Dungy: We are trying to treat it like opening day of the season again, and what we may lack in sharpness, we will make up with enthusiasm. I think it's the fairest thing to do. If we didn't play 16, there would be a lot of tiebreakers that would be up in the air. Playing 16 is the best way to determine.
Question: What do you think your record will be at the end of the year, and do you think your team has what it takes to win the Super Bowl?
Tony Dungy: We certainly think we have a chance to get to the Super Bowl. We would like to win 12-13 games.
Question: Do you think your team had a good draft and free agency? Who do you think was the biggest addition?
Tony Dungy: We did! We are very happy. In the long run, Kenyatta Walker was a need at the left tackle that we really needed.
Question: Do you think the addition of Simeon Rice will increase Warren Sapp's sack totals?
Tony Dungy: I think it could have that effect. It will probably mean that one will get less double-teams and that will help in the course of the season.
Question: What were you hoping to see in Ryan Leaf before releasing him?
Tony Dungy: We thought Ryan had a lot of potential and long-range potential for a quarterback prospect. Unfortunately, we won't be able to see the experiment through, and I think he will be a very good quarterback in the NFL when it's all done. He has size and arm strength and he's smart. I think he just needs a chance to play and develop.
Question: Will Mike Alstott take any carries away from Warrick Dunn, or will Dunn be the featured back throughout the season?
Tony Dungy: Dunn is going to get the majority, and we'll feature Mike in the fourth quarter when, hopefully, we are ahead. That will be our plan and it's always good to have two running backs because of the injury factor.
Question: What were your impressions of Cowboys' QB Quincy Carter?
Tony Dungy: I think he is a very good athlete. He's got arm strength and poise, and it's very difficult for any rookie quarterback to start. The biggest thing he lacks is experience. People have to remember that Dallas only won one game with Aikman in his first year, so people have to remember it's difficult no matter who the quarterback is.
Question: Do you think it's better to start a veteran, pocket passer like Brad Johnson, or a young, mobile quarterback like Shaun King?
Tony Dungy: I think veteran QBs in the NFL have an advantage. They have seen a lot, and that makes up for what the young person has, which is mobility.
Question: How has Frank Murphy been progressing in practice since the start of regular season, and are you expecting him to make a big contribution to your offense and special teams?
Tony Dungy: We think Frank will make his first contributions on special teams. There are a few other ahead of him on offense, but we feel he will make a lot of contributions on special teams this year.
Question: Do you think Brad Johnson will be better than when he was on the Redskins?
Tony Dungy: We hope to protect Brad a little better, and we think we have a strong team. I think if he can stay healthy, he will have a great year — similar to the one he had two years ago when he went to the Pro Bowl.
Question: Is Derrick Brooks behind at all after missing early camp?
Tony Dungy: Not really. Derrick did a great job of staying in condition and he knows the defense very well. He was a bit behind in the preseason, but now's he's pretty much up to speed.
Question: Is the "nice guy" coaching approach being used by Herman Edwards with the Jets the same approach he used when he was with Tampa Bay?
Tony Dungy: Ha-ha, I don't know how to interpret that. He was a very personal guy, a likeable guy. I think it's just the way he is. It's been that way his whole life, not just at Tampa Bay or New York.
Question: You lost some defensive coaches during the offseason. Has your defense changed at all because of that?
Tony Dungy: No, we really haven't changed the defense, we just had to get the new coaches up to speed. They have adjusted very well.
Question: How is Jacquez Green doing?
Tony Dungy: He had a great game against Dallas and caught eight balls. He has to have a good year since people concentrate on Keyshawn so much. He is developing and doing well, and we are very happy with him.
Question: What coaches on your staff have the potential to make the leap to head coach like Herman did?
Tony Dungy: We have several guys. [Defensive coordinator Monte] Kiffin and [defensive line coach Rod] Marinelli are excellent coaches and would make great head coaches. An area that gets overlooked is our special teams coach. [Special teams coach Joe Marciano] would do an excellent job. [Rams defensive coordinator] Lovie [Smith] just left us and I predict within two years, he will be a head coach.
Question: Is it a good idea to introduce a gap defense to kids that are just starting football, or should defense be simplified first and introduced after they have a better fundamental understanding of the game?
Tony Dungy: I always thinks it best that you introduce the fundamentals and basics first before getting into how the defense is played in a more technical way.
Tony Dungy: It's been fun, and I always enjoy the variety of questions. We are looking forward to getting back on the football field a week from Sunday.