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December 16, 2009 @ 11:31 am
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Bucs Aim To Overcome West Coast Woes

Written by Jim
Jim Flynn


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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't historically fared well out West. In fact, the Bucs haven't won a game on the west coast since Super Bowl XXXVII. Tampa Bay will depart for Seattle a day early in an effort to over come its west coast woes.
The 1-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers still are looking for their first road win over the year. History suggests it won't come in Seattle on Sunday, but the Bucs are hoping to defy the odds against them.

"It's just something we'll have to overcome," Bucs center Jeff Faine said. "I know history is against us with the way we travel out there, but we need to overcome that."

By now, everyone knows the history regarding Tampa Bay's west coast woes. The Bucs have not historically fared well out West.

To date, the Bucs are 5-28 all-time in the regular season and post-season on games played on the west coast (Arizona, California and Seattle).

The visit to Seattle will be Tampa Bay's second-longest trip of the season next to the Bucs' game in London, which ended in a 35-7 loss to the New England Patriots on Oct. 25.

"It's hard to travel that far, but we're approaching it just like any other game," said Bucs strong safety Sabby Piscitelli. "We want to go over there and get a win. We just need to not think about it too much. Just get on the plane, get off the plane and go play football."

But Tampa Bay has put a lot of thought into its trip to Seattle. The Bucs will leave one day earlier than normal road trips in order to get any kind of jetlag that might impact players out of the way.

"Yeah, I've made trips like this. We went to London obviously," Freeman said. "We're leaving on Friday so it won't be an issue with jetlag or anything. We'll touch down and have an entire day to be acclimated with the time and be ready to go."

The Bucs are attempting to focus on the 5-8 Seahawks, who are 4-2 at home and play at Qwest Field, which is considered one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, holding 67,000 people.

"It was loud from what I remember," Bucs left tackle Donald Penn recalled from Tampa Bay's 20-6 loss in Seattle in 2007.

Tampa Bay's most recent loss in Seattle was one of seven the Bucs have suffered on the west coast since winning Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego in 2003. In fact, the Bucs are 0-7 in games played out West since hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

Penn even acknowledged that there might be something to the fact that different teams from different coasts don't typically fare well on opposite sides of the country, especially when reminded how the Bucs' last regular season win on the west coast came in Seattle back in 1999.

"It's a stereotype, but it really comes true half the time, or so it seems," said Penn. "I feel the same. I'm kind of glad we go out there a day early to get adjusted. That should help us tremendously. I don't understand it because I don't feel any different. I kind of like it."

One thing some of the Bucs players won't like about traveling to Seattle is the weather forecast, which calls for a 50 percent chance of rain with temperatures in the mid-40s.

"The weather might be a little different now," said Bucs defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson. "Weather can play a big factor because we're on the east coast and it's not cold here. For a lot of people it could be a big adjustment, but for me, I like playing in the cold. It will be a big adjustment for some guys."

While the weather and west coast are two obstacles Tampa Bay must overcome, the Buccaneers' maintain that their biggest opponent on Sunday will be the Seattle Seahawks' offense and defense, which rank 23rd and 22nd, respectively, in the NFL.

"They're real gap-oriented and real physical up front," Penn said of Seattle's defense, which has notched 27 sacks this season. "They're going to line up and say, ‘Hey, you have to beat me.' They're not going to do a lot of moving along the D-line or things like that. They move the linebackers a bit, it's nothing you won't be able to see. It's nothing like we saw against the Jets last week."

Added Wilkerson: "I think we're going to prepare the same way. The only thing we're going to do different is leave a day early. Everything else is going to be the same. As a defense, we're going to try to stop the run and put pressure on [three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Matt] Hasselbeck. As with any quarterback, if you put pressure in his face he's going to throw interceptions or fumble the ball."


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