The Buccaneers face a monumental task when they take on the 7-1 Seahawks Sunday on the road.
Some may have questioned the Bucs will to fight with Tampa Bay being 0-7 and virtually eliminated from playoff contention, and after giving up 31 points three games in a row.
But don’t tell that to veteran offensive tackle Donald Penn. Tampa Bay’s starting left tackle was asked on Thursday how much will to fight the Buccaneers still have after a disappointing start to the 2013 season.
“So much, you guys don’t even know, so much,” Penn said. “We have this bad taste in our mouth and we feel like we let a lot of people down. And we are trying to turn that around, because a lot of stuff falls on the coaches. But the coaches put together a good game plan. This game plan we have this week I think is a great game plan. We haven’t done a good job of executing it all the time. We have shown a lot of spurts here and there, but we haven’t done a good of executing it all the whole game. We need to put one of those together very soon. Hopefully this week it will be it.
“But they (fans and media) put it on the coaches a lot, but it’s the players, and we have to play. They (the coaches) aren’t out there. We have to play. I have to block better. Everybody has to block better. Mike (Glennon) is back there doing a great job of picking people apart, picking up blitzes, putting people in the right spot. Even if we are passing 30 or 40 times in the fourth quarter. We have got to do better.”
Penn knows the task of going into one of the most hostile environments in the NFL will be tough, but said he and his teammates believe they can shock the world.
“It is tough, I am not even going to lie to you, it is tough,” Penn said. “That may be one of the toughest places to play, especially with the noise too. The last time we played there it was real good, we got on them early and kind of quieted the crowd down, and we were able to handle them. Because if they get it going, then it is tough to play and come back.
“I definitely don’t want to get into a passing games like it was last week, in that loud stadium. We have to come out and play strong. It is going to be a great test. I don’t think anyone in the world thinks we have chance except for the people in this locker room. So it will be a great test with our backs against the wall.”
Head coach Greg Schiano said not only have the Buccaneers been game planning against the players, but like Penn said, the noise and challenges CenturyLink Field pose.
“Well, it’s certainly a big challenge, right, whether you’re going in short-handed or full-handed, going into that building,” Schiano said. “Their home record is pretty impressive, especially with Russell Wilson as quarterback. We certainly have a big challenge, something we’re excited about. I know that our offensive football team – we feel like we have a great plan. The plan is fitted to the people that we have to go in there with.
“I think it’s going to be critical that we play complementary football – offense and defense and special teams, because they’re a team that plays complementary football. I think it’s going to be a really great opportunity and a fun experience for everybody involved. We’ve got to go out there and play well and win. That’s what makes it fun.
“We’re going out to what I think is the greatest venues in sports and I can wait for them to raise that flag and ‘Here we go.’ It’s going to be nuts [with] the loud crowd, [but quarterback] Mike [Glennon] is ready to handle it. We’ve got that thing [the stereo system] cranking – my ears right now, I still hear humming from the noise we had all practice.”
As the open locker room session was winding down Penn wanted to make one last point.
“I don’t know if you guys watched the end of the Thursday night game, but we fought,” Penn. “As an offensive line, and an offense, we fought the whole game. We knew we were probably out if it for a long time but we fought and we fought. And that is something we are going to keep doing the whole year.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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