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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Start of Something Good

As video evidence suggests, Keyshawn Johnson’s first year in Tampa was a great success and a precursor of bigger things to come


WR Keyshawn Johnson had a big day against the Rams (7-116-2) as part of a strong finish to 2000

First, let's take an objective look at the numbers.

Let's say this is what you bargained for: 76-1,027-8.

And this is what you got: 71-874-8.

That's receptions, yards and touchdowns, by the way. Despite a 15% drop in yards, you couldn't be too disappointed in those numbers.

If you're wondering, the first line represents Keyshawn Johnson's season averages over four years with the New York Jets. That's basically what the Buccaneers were counting on when they traded two first-round picks to the Jets last April for the rights to Johnson's services.

The second line is what Johnson produced in his first season as a Buccaneer. Right on target for receptions and touchdowns, a little low in yards, compared to his previous years. That's hardly surprising, given that the Jets had the league's fourth-best passing attack in 1998, Johnson's best year, and the Bucs had the NFL's sixth-worst aerial assault last year.

Perhaps a better measure is this: Johnson had 28.1% of the Jets' receiving yards in 1998; he accounted for 30.9% of the Bucs' total last year. Clearly, the Bucs made Johnson the focal point of their passing attack.

What both New York and Tampa Bay realized is that the 6-4, 212-pound banger is one of the league's toughest receivers, a competitor not afraid to go over the middle for the important yards. However, Johnson's total package may have indeed been used more effectively in New York, and perhaps that is why new Buccaneers' Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen has spent extra time studying Johnson's Jets film this winter.

There is reason to believe that Johnson could put up career numbers in 2001, including the recent signing of veteran hurler Brad Johnson, one of the league's most accurate passers. In fact, Keyshawn's numbers were already on the rise in tandem with Shaun King late last year. Keyshawn caught 27 passes in the Bucs' last five games (including playoffs), had three touchdowns in that span and recorded two of his three 100-yard games as a Buc after December 1.

Clearly, 2000 was not the pinnacle of what Johnson expects to produce as a Buccaneer. Nevertheless, it was a very promising first year in pewter. To recall some of the better moments, please click here for Johnson's Tampa Bay highlight reel in Real Player, 56K. For 100K Real, please click here and for 300K Real, please click here.

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