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SURPRISING NEWS: BUCS WILL PLAY REGULAR SEASON

GS: Give the Bucs credit for bravery, John. Evidently, they are going to proceed with this regular-season portion of the NFL season. Does that surprise you, and do you think they will be able to surprise anyone else?

JR: It's never a good sign when you go through six weeks of training camp and four preseason games and come out feeling less optimistic than before. How does a team lose ground even before you start keeping score?

GS: Let's see. You fumble the offensive coordinator. You throw away the more popular veteran quarterback - although I haven't quite figured out the popularity part. You lose your safety for four games. You turn a cab ride into a headline.

JR: Okay, let's skip ahead to the end of the season. Which of those training camp decisions/incidents will have the most dramatic impact on the season?

GS: As bad as the Jeff Jagodzinski firing was, no one will remember it long. As much as some fans wanted Luke McCown, he was only temporary. Kellen Winslow will catch a lot of balls, and Derrick Ward will gain a lot of yards. But I think when we look back, the Tanard Jackson suspension is going to hurt a lot. Some people don't realize how good a player he is.

JR: Interesting choice. I've been telling people for months that this will be the most unpredictable Bucs season in memory. Now I'm starting to worry that it's looking more and more familiar. Is it a Sam Wyche season? A Ray Perkins season? Best-case scenario: It's like Tony Dungy's debut season. It started horribly but, by midseason, you could at least see some direction.

GS: How about a Richard Williamson season? Poor Richard was so befuddled that at one point, he wondered how to spell "M.R.I." True story. The thing is, I think the Bucs have some interesting pieces. I just don't think they're special enough at quarterback or deep enough on defense. Dungy won six and they poured Gatorade over him. If Raheem Morris wins six, they should make him coach of the year.

JR: Tony did a marvelous job of saving a franchise, but he already had Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch in place. The point is there was some Hall of Fame talent on that roster. I'm not sure about the current roster.

GS: Yes, you are. You just don't like the answer.

JR: Okay, so what are we saying here? Will the Bucs stink or really, really stink? I'm going to say 6-10. That way, if they go 8-8 or 4-12, I can be like the carnival barker guessing people's weight and say I got within 2 pounds. Where do you think the Bucs will finish? Or do you prefer to guess my weight?

GS: I'm thinking 5-11. To both of your questions.

JR: (Reply removed by order of the FCC.)

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