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Dungy's staff awaits deals

But Bucs coach says contract extensions for assistants should be done this week.

Tony Dungy is considering a new style of offense for the Bucs while coaching the NFC team at the Pro Bowl this week, and changes also could be made to his coaching staff.

Dungy confirmed Tuesday that the team has not signed any assistants to contract extensions, leaving some of them unexpectedly fielding job offers.

The Bucs came within less than five minutes of playing in Super Bowl XXXIV, but they lost the NFC title game to the eventual world champion St. Louis Rams. They failed to score a touchdown for the fifth time in a game this season.

Dungy has said he would like to keep his staff intact, but he continues to discuss how to improve an offense that finished 28th in the NFL under fourth-year offensive coordinator Mike Shula.

"I don't know what to make of it," quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen said. "It's highly unusual, I would think. But it's the Buccaneers."

Christensen said the Bucs originally had planned to re-sign assistants during the bye week after the team received the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.

"I think it's more that everyone's been busy," he said. "They said they were going to get to it in the off-week. Now, I don't know."

General manager Rich McKay did not make the trip to the Pro Bowl, where Dungy's staff is helping him coach the NFC. Dungy said the Bucs' playoff run, coupled with the start of the free-agent signing period Feb. 11, has caused some of the delay in signing extensions.

"Hopefully, it'll be done in the next day or so," he said. "It's just getting to the playoffs. We haven't gotten it tightened up yet. I've been kind of on the phone back and forth, and we're trying to get it straightened around."

However, Dungy said, the delay enhances the chance some assistants might take other jobs. Special teams coach Joe Marciano has received several inquiries, Dungy said.

"What happened is, people call and say "I'm trying to decide. I'm looking for a special teams coach. Tell me about this guy or that guy.' Then they ask, "What's your situation?' " Dungy said.

"I hope we don't lose anyone. It could happen, but hopefully, we'll get it all straightened out in the next day or so."

Under Shula, the offense has never finished higher than 22nd. It was 28th in his first year, '96. The Bucs also ranked next-to-last in passing offense this season.

Though Dungy has shown unwavering loyalty to his coaching staff _ and vice versa _ he might find it hard to ignore the lack of offensive improvement as the defense has steadily improved.

Shula is in charge of coordinating the best offensive players in the NFC at the Pro Bowl. Dungy said the experience could help the Bucs identify the players or free agents who could make their offense more productive under quarterback Shaun King.

"It's an awesome feeling just being around these guys, who are really the best at what they do," Dungy said. "Being with them and how quick they catch on to things, how they do things, and you can just see the skill level at every position. It just lets you know what NFL football is all about. It's been a great experience already, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week."

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