With the Washington Redskins game behind them, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made it clear Monday that they are not looking back and are now focused on finding a way to defeat the 1-0 Seattle Seahawks.
“They’re a good team, they are very explosive offensively,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. “(Defensive coordinator) Ray Rhodes is a great defensive coach. They have elements of just about everything you want to see on defense. They’re talented and they’re fast. So, they’ll be a real handful for us but we’re looking forward to it.”
Seattle’s West Coast offense is led by tailback Shaun Alexander, who rushed 28 times for 135 yards (4.8 avg.) and scored three touchdowns vs. New Orleans on Sunday. Given the fact that Tampa Bay’s defense allowed Washington to rush for 166 yards, the Bucs know they’ll have to improve their run defense while concerning themselves with a potent Seahawks passing attack.
“When you see Shaun Alexander you have to be concerned with stopping him,” said Gruden. “And at the same time with (head coach) Mike Holmgren and this attack that’s been in place for some time. (Wide receiver Koren) Robinson has been in town. These wide receivers have been together. Bobby Engram has been together with Darrell Jackson for some time. Tight ends have been around. They will be able to throw the football. So you have to defend a two-headed monster this week offensively and defensively we have to prepare for a lot of things as well.”
The good news for the Bucs is Alexander suffered a sprained knee during Sunday’s game and is listed as day to day. The bad news is Alexander’s backup, Maurice Morris, has posted some impressive numbers. Last year, Morris rushed 38 times for 239 yards (6.3 avg.) and one touchdown as a reserve.
Tampa Bay was a dreadful 3-5 at Raymond James Stadium in 2003. Needless to say, the Bucs need to improve their home record in order to have any chance of securing a spot in the playoffs. It all starts this Sunday when Seattle visits Tampa Bay.
“It’s been a primary emphasis of our team to play much better at home,” said Gruden. “For our fans. Take advantage of our stadium, our setting here and put our best foot forward. We’ve got to do that. We need the help, there’s no question, from our fans. We know they’re going to be there for us. We have to give them a reason to get involved in this game. That involves offense, defense and special teams for 60 minutes. We have to play very, very well this week because Seattle is the playoff team that’s coming off a very convincing win.”
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