Column: Dungy’s job on line?

Tony Dungy’s predecessor, Sam Wyche, once said something to the effect of, “When you’re winning, you’re the smartest man in the world, but when you’re losing, you’re dumber than dirt.”

During his tenure as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dungy has both won and lost. Fortunately for him, he has had more wins than any other coach in this franchise. Then again, considering the franchise, that might not be something to brag about.

Dungy’s team defeated the 3-0 division leader and longtime rival Green Bay Packers Sunday. However, the week before the Bucs lost to the 0-2 Minnesota Vikings.

However, Dungy’s inconsistency may not be the biggest concern. The Bucs faced the Dallas Cowboys, one of the worst teams in football, on opening week and barely won 10-6. In fact, each of the team’s first three games has had a four-point difference in the outcome.

Having an opening record of 2-1 may sound promising to some, but it shouldn’t to Buccaneer fans.

All three games could have gone either way. The Bucs could just as easily be 3-0 right now as they could be 0-3.

It’s no secret Dungy subscribes to the philosophy that defense wins games. And the Baltimore Ravens didn’t help sway his opinion after winning the Super Bowl last year with a defense-minded game plan.

Dungy thinks he is right. Fans just hope he won’t let another season go without noticing the talent he has to play with.Newly acquired quarterback Brad Johnson has one of the highest accuracy ratings in the history of the game.

High-profile receiver Keyshawn Johnson went in the first round of the draft a few years ago.

Sunday’s touchdown total for Johnson and Johnson: zero. Brad Johnson didn’t even throw into the endzone. Yes, the Bucs won Sunday by a score of 14-10. A fluke 96-yard interception return and a return to form by Mike Alstott with a power run, dragging defenders at his ankles, were nice to see. But Dungy needs to realize that won’t always work.

People have said for two seasons Dungy’s job is on the line. Warren Sapp echoed that very sentiment before this year’s season began.

Well, it’s looking more and more as if they may be on to something.

But the solution to this problem may not be as simple as it sounds.

Sure, throwing the ball downfield, for a distance of more than 15 yards, and a few more aggressive plays on offense per game will make fans happy. Even if the Bucs lose, at least they would have tried something.

But the question remains, what is Dungy afraid of?

Granted, he doesn’t like mistakes. But what Dungy needs to realize is perfection is unattainable and mistakes will be made.Arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, St. Louis’ Kurt Warner has said, “I may throw an interception, but I know I will come back and throw three touchdowns.”

While Johnson didn’t throw an interception Sunday, he didn’t throw a touchdown either.

Johnson completed an impressive 23 of 29 Sunday, but couldn’t convert on third down. He threw it to just about every eligible receiver and their mother, but not one of them was worth six points.

However, even if Johnson does open up and start to feel comfortable enough to throw the long ball, Dungy will still be there. In the last three seasons, the Bucs have gone through three quarterbacks and three offensive coordinators, yet the offense looks the same as it did with Trent Dilfer – minus a few interceptions.

But the problem comes from somewhere. And if it isn’t solved soon, Dungy may be referred to as someone else’s predecessor.

  • Contact William Albritton at