Running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams’ foot injury may be the most significant one listed on Tampa Bay’s injury report, but defensive end Greg Spires will be battling through his own injury for the rest of the season.
Spires, who was not listed on Tampa Bay’s injury report, which was released Wednesday, suffered a torn right biceps on Sunday in the Bucs’ 19-3 win over the Buffalo Bills while attempting to sack quarterback J.P. Losman.
Last year, Spires sustained a similar injury during training camp, except it was his left biceps that tore. He played through the injury and went on to have a career-type year, notching eight sacks and leading all Bucs defensive linemen with 86 tackles.
Spires said Wednesday that he is sore but ready to go against the Green Bay Packers.
“I tore my right biceps,” said Spires. “I don’t need surgery on it. It’s similar to the injury I had last year in training camp, but the other arm. Right now it’s just tender, but I’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”
CADILLAC WILL RIDE SUNDAY Williams sported a walking boot again on Wednesday to help his sprained left foot heal. Although he was limited in practice, Williams will be ready to return to workouts at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday and should be able to play vs. the Packers.
“He was limited,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said of Williams. “He didn’t practice full-speed. He’ll practice tomorrow. We gave him one extra day and he’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
The extra rest has helped to make a big difference in Williams’ ability to recover from the foot injury.
“It’s doing good,” Williams said. “It feels a whole lot better than two days ago. I’m still getting treatment, still resting it, and just getting ready to go this week.”
Williams rushed 24 times for 128 yards and a touchdown despite injuring his foot just before halftime in the game vs. Buffalo. He leads the NFL in rushing with 276 yards (5.4 avg.) and two touchdowns.
According to Gruden, Williams’ competitive spirit won’t allow him to miss what will be a huge game between the Bucs and Packers.
“He’s just a great competitor who wants to play,” Gruden said of Williams. “What can I say? That’s one of the things that makes him unique. That’s a great strength of his, his mental and physical toughness. His want-to, his drive, his motivation is tremendous. I learned that first-hand on Sunday. It was great to be a part of it.”
Williams is listed as probable on Tampa Bay’s injury report. Guard Matt Stinchcomb is questionable with a lower back strain. Green Bay tight end Bubba Franks is also listed as questionable with a knee sprain he sustained last Sunday vs. Cleveland.
BUCS DETERMINED TO END LOSING STREAK IN WINSCONSIN If Tampa Bay’s players weren’t aware of how difficult it has been for the Bucs to win in Wisconsin, they were enlightened Wednesday when they walked into and around the locker room at One Buc Place.
Posted all over Tampa Bay’s locker room were signs that read, “1989,” which indicates the year in which the Bucs last defeated the Packers on the road.
Gruden suggested Wednesday that Tampa Bay’s losing ways (0-13) vs. Green Bay on the road would be tough to turn around against an 0-2 Packers team that has their backs against the wall.
“That’s a reminder that Boy George was at the top of the charts,” Gruden said when asked what the signs were supposed to tell his players. “Jiminy Christmas, 1989 is a long time, and that’s what we’re up against. We haven’t won there in forever. I don’t even know where I was in 1989. I’m tired of breaking these negative trends around here, but that’s what we’re up against. Green Bay’s going to have no mercy. They are 0-2, they’ve got a lot of pride and good players, they’re well-coached. It’s going to be a heck of a game.”
Gruden’s right. To put that date in perspective, Tampa Bay second-year wide receiver Michael Clayton was just seven years old the last time the Bucs defeated the Packers on the road.
“From what I have heard, there is a lot of history in that stadium,” Clayton said of Lambeau Field. “We’re excited to go play a good Green Bay team, in their home stadium. We basically established a mental mindset of domination, so once you get on the field it doesn’t matter where you are, or what the crowd is like, our main focus is to dominate the game, and that’s what we’re looking to do.”
Tampa Bay, on the other hand, is off to a 2-0 start, its best since 2000. But the players know that coming off two straight losing seasons and heading into a tough road game against the Packers gives them little to no room for overconfidence.
“It’s only two games into the season,” said Spires. “I don’t think anybody is thinking right now, ‘Oh, we’ve got it made. Relax.’ No one in this locker room is feeling that way.
“(The Packers) are like a wounded dog. You don’t want to walk lightly by a wounded dog. He might bite you. You never know. Those guys are trying to survive and end their losing streak. They’re going to do whatever they can to win.”
The last time Tampa Bay faced Green Bay, it was in Raymond James Stadium, and the Packers escaped with a 20-13 win. The Packers rushed for over 190 yards in that contest while quarterback Brett Favre picked the Bucs defense apart through the air. The Bucs are well aware of the challenge that awaits them this Sunday.
“Obviously, the Packers are 0-2 but it doesn’t matter,” said Bucs defensive tackle Anthony McFarland. “When you go to Lambeau Field to play Brett Favre and that running game they have, it’s going to be a big challenge.”
DEFENSE EYEING FAVRE Speaking of Favre, Tampa Bay’s defense, which currently ranks No. 1 overall in the NFL, has had some success against the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
In fact, the Bucs defense has intercepted Favre 12 times in the last six games they’ve played against him dating back to 2000. According to Bucs cornerback Brian Kelly, who has a team-leading two INTs this season, the defense must be sound from a technique standpoint in order to pick off Favre a few times on Sunday.
“Just getting your head around and keeping your eyes on the quarterback,” Kelly attributed to Tampa Bay’s ability to intercept Favre. “The thing we always preach with him is ‘ball out, break.’ You get in position, you see the ball out and you break. When you play Brett Favre you know that even if you get in position there’s a good chance the ball is coming to you. He just doesn’t care if a guy is covered, or not covered, if he’s open or if he’s not open. He’ll try to fit it in. You have to be able to break on the ball and catch it.”
Favre has completed 67 percent of his passes and thrown for 543 yards and tossed four touchdowns and five interceptions through two games this season.
RV BROWN, BUCS PARTNER UP FOR BOOK SIGNING The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa RV Brown have teamed up to promote and conduct his book signing on Monday, Sept. 26 at Raymond James Stadium.
Brown will conduct a signing for his newly released book, “Step Up To The Plate, Dad!” from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Press Room (accessible through the media entrance at Lot D) at Ray-Jay.
Several Bucs players will join Brown for the signing, including Derrick Brooks, Dexter Jackson, Michael Pittman, Anthony McFarland, Cadillac Williams, Simeon Rice, Ellis Wyms, Jameel Cook, J.R. Russell, Dave Moore, Mike Alstott, Shelton Quarles, Michael Clayton, Ronde Barber, Brian Kelly and Josh Bidwell.
The price of Brown’s book is $20, and he and the Bucs players attending the event will be available for autographs. Proceeds from sale of the book will go to the continuing work of RV Brown’s ministry, Outreach to America’s Youth (O.T.A.Y).
For more information on Brown’s book signing, call (813) 926-0414 or e-mail www.RVBrown.com.
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