Buccaneer Report Card
The Tampa Tribune, published 9 September 2002

Quarterbacks: Brad Johnson played well, completing 28 of 52 for 278 yards. It was those around him who struggled. Johnson had little time to throw early on and when he did have time, too many passes were dropped. Grade: B-.

Running backs: Michael Pittman displayed his big-play ability as a runner and pass catcher, accounting for 4.5 yards per touch. Mike Alstott struggled in the running game but made some big plays as a receiver. Overall, the effort and execution were there. Grade: B-

Receivers: The Florida Kees - Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell were more like the Killer Kees. Of their 11 combined catches, some were big. But there were far too many drops. Grade: C

Offensive line: In the first half, the run blocking was inconsistent and the pass protection was atrocious. The unit improved in the second half but not significantly enough to help pull out a victory. Grade: D-

Defensive line: Led by Greg Spires (nine tackles), the unit was at the heart of the team's second-half resurgence. Early on, there was not enough pressure to rattle Saints QB Aaron Brooks. Grade: C

Linebackers: The group was solid in coverage and did an equally good job against the run. Derrick Brooks had 10 tackles and an interception and Shelton Quarles had eight tackles. Grade: B

Secondary: Brooks was effective, picking on Brian Kelly and Dwight Smith early on. The corners played soft early, allowing the Saints to go downfield, but tightened up as the game went on. Grade: C-

Special teams: The return game was good, but the kick unit was inconsistent. A blocked field goal attempt, a penalty on a kickoff and the game-deciding botched punt will be among the season's lowlights. Grade: D.

Coaching: Jon Gruden rallied his team after an abysmal first half and got a much-improved effort. Still, the team remains undisciplined at times in many areas and that must be corrected. Grade: C-.