What's Next?

January 13 – After Tampa Bay's season came to an abrupt end on Saturday, one can only wonder what exactly will happen to Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy and Co. in the next couple of days. Dungy told the media on Sunday afternoon he was already looking ahead to next season in terms of improving his team's chances of winning a Super Bowl, but it appears Dungy's days in Tampa may be numbered.

What does the future hold for Bucs head coach Tony Dungy and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization? Well, only time will tell. It might sound like a cliche, but it's the truth. Needless to say, players, coaches, personnel and fans would like an answer sooner rather than later.

"I think everybody understands all the scenarios that are floating around," said Bucs P Mark Royals. "I don't know if there's a timetable on when we need to know because we are still reeling from that loss yesterday. Certainly, there's a lot of uncertainty, and as soon as there's a decision made, we'll probably be the first to know. It's amazing, the speculation that's going on, and I guess it will be nice when the dust settles."

Dungy addressed the media on Sunday afternoon in his season wrap-up press conference, and quite possibly his last press conference as the head coach of the Buccaneers. While Dungy talked about moving forward and looking ahead to the expansion draft and the rest of the offseason, he did not want discuss the speculation concerning his future in Tampa Bay.

"I don't want to speculate what people think about what should or shouldn't happen," said Dungy. "Obviously when you don't win it's not pretty -- everything is bad. The only way you can bounce back from that is be a man and see how we can improve the team next year."

Speculation surrounding Tampa Bay's head coach losing his job hit an all-time high after the Bucs were thumped by Philadelphia on Saturday, 31-9, and eliminated from the playoffs in the opening round for the second consecutive year, and now the waiting game has begun. Dungy has been rumored to be replaced by Bill Parcells throughout the season, but Parcells denied a St. Petersburg Times report from last Friday that suggested he had a tentative deal in place with the Glazers. But on Sunday afternoon, CBSsportsline.com. reported Parcells was close to finishing a deal that would make him Tampa Bay's new head coach. CNNSI's Peter King has also suggested on several different occasions Parcells would likely become Tampa Bay's next head coach, and ESPN's John Clayton echoed the same thoughts on ESPN Radio on Sunday morning.

The CBSsportsline.com article coincides with what Buccaneer Magazine reported earlier this week. Both reports linked Corwin Brown, a former Jets and Patriots safety for Parcells now coaching for Al Groh at the University of Virginia to Parcells' new coaching staff. Other names mentioned for his new staff include Jets offensive line coach Bill Muir and perhaps line assistant Jumbo Elliott, Jets strength coach John Lott, Bears WR coach Todd Haley, and currently unemployed offensive mind Dan Henning.

Tampa Bay players met with Dungy in a team meeting on Sunday afternoon, and players say Dungy is their coach until they hear differently.

"Some players want that assurance that Coach is going to be around," said Bucs Pro Bowl LB Derrick Brooks. "For me, he's my head coach until I hear otherwise."

The Tampa Bay players are well aware of the fact that they might have played their last game under Dungy, but some players have intentions of letting ownership and general manager Rich McKay know they are lobbying for Dungy to remain their head coach.

"I wouldn't be surprised (if players go to the Glazers and try to save Dungy's job)," said Royals. "I'd like to be in that line. I don't know how much weight that's going to carry. They have reasons for their decision, whatever that's going to be. It's amazing to me how quickly people forget where this franchise was and where it is. That's not to say that losing in the playoffs in the first round a couple of years in a row is not disappointing, because it is. But, whole sale changes and massive personnel changes that people are talking about—is that the answer? Who knows? I don't think so. I've been around coaching changes many times and it seems like before you take a step forward in a coaching change, you take a couple backwards."


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