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Dungy's motto not as rough as Jimmy's

While Jimmy Johnson is doing the tough-guy routine at Dolphins training camp down the road, Tony Dungy is avoiding excessive contact drills with the Buccaneers.

The defense has been instructed to hit backs and receivers during drills, but not bring them down. The ball carriers are expected to continue running after the whistle.

Dungy said this philosophy was used in all of the training camps he's been in, including his days as a player with the famed Pittsburgh Steelers Steel Curtain defense.

"That's the way I learned in Pittsburgh and those guys tackled pretty well," Dungy said.

Dungy said he was not sure whether this idea cut down on training camp injuries, but said it helps down the road.

"It saves on the wear and tear of the running backs if you're throwing them down all of the time and banging them up," he said.

COACH'S PET: Safety John Lynch, who moved into the starting lineup last season, has made a favorable impression on the new coaching staff.

"I think our system is going to help him," Dungy said. "He's a very smart guy, he knows where the ball is and he's tough. We've had success in the system with those type of guys."

Lynch finished second on the team with three interceptions, despite missing seven games with knee and ankle injuries.

NOT HOME ALONE: Dungy said the players showed up Monday with more bounce in their steps after their first day off in training camp.

Some players, however, say days off can be just as taxing.

"Camp is an off-day when you've got three girls at home," said quarterback Casey Weldon, who has three daughters between 6 months and 6 years old. "I think my wife would love to trade places."

IN A HOLDING PATTERN: The Errict Rhett holdout has hit nine days and the running back can almost certainly be ruled out of Tampa Bay's first preseason game Saturday at Miami. Agent Drew Rosenhaus said he expects to talk to general manager Rich McKay when the Bucs go to Miami for practices Thursday.

INJURIES: FB Mike Alstott (ribs), LB Derrick Brooks (ribs), CB Jay Taylor (hamstring), WR Karl Williams (shoulder) and DE Keith Powe (ankle) are day-to-day. OL Stephen Ingram (knee) is out indefinitely. FB Fred Lester returned after missing most of the first week with a hamstring problem.

_ JOHN ROMANO

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