Bucs News and Notes

November 28 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a short week to prepare for their next opponent-the 4-6 Cincinnati Bengals. Buccaneer Magazine has the latest news on Tampa Bay's injury front, the player's thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals and some other topics of interest that came out of locker room at One Buc Place on Wednesday.

INJURY REPORT: Tampa Bay has five players listed on their injury report, but with the exception of WR Karl Williams, they are all minor.

Probable: RB Warrick Dunn (Toe), K Martin Gramatica (Intestinal Virus), WR Keyshawn Johnson (Ankle) and SS John Lynch (Back).

Questionable: WR Karl Williams (Hip).

BucMag.com will have the final injury report for both Tampa Bay and Cincinnati posted on Saturday, Dec. 1.

TAMPA BAY'S DEFENSE KEYING IN ON CINCINATTI RB COREY DILLON: The Buccaneers defense is ranked 15th against the rush this season, and they will be facing one of the best running back in football this Sunday in Pro Bowl RB Corey Dillon. Tampa Bay's defense knows that in order to stop Cincinnati's offense, it will all start with Dillon, who is averaging 3.8 yards per carry and has rushed for 784 yards and five touchdowns this season.

"First and foremost, you have to start with Corey Dillon," said Bucs SS John Lynch. "He's a big time runner. He's one of the best guys in the league.

"He's obviously a big guy. But he's got great speed. The first thing Monte (Kiffin) showed us this morning was his 96-yard run against Detroit. He's running away from Terry Fair, who I know can run extremely well. So, he's a big, powerful back, but he can also go get it. It's a tough challenge."

Bucs ROLB Derrick Brooks concurred with Lynch on the importance of stopping Dillon.

"Their offense starts with Corey Dillon," said Brooks. "If you can stop Corey, it doesn't matter who they put at quarterback. I think if we make them one dimensional, then it's to our advantage."

Tampa Bay's defense has played better against the run as of late, and a lot of their success has to do with having a healthy LB Derrick Brooks in the lineup.

"I think we're playing better as a whole unit," said Bucs DT Warren Sapp. "Brooks is getting a little more healthier and we had to get on them last week because they're special. And this week, we have a special back in Corey Dillon and a special O-line that will block you if you're not onto details. This is another week we have to be on our game."

Head coach Tony Dungy thinks Cincinnati will present some of the same problems for them as Pittsburgh did when the Steelers defeated the Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium, 17-10.

"It will be very similar (to Pittsburgh)," said Dungy. "They'll try to attack us with blitzes like Pittsburgh did and I think they'll try to pound us with Corey Dillon. They've got some big-time wide receivers, where as Pittsburgh didn't throw the ball as much against us. But I think we'll see a lot of Corey Dillon running it inside."

BUCS SHORT ON TIME: Because Tampa Bay had a Monday night game against St. Louis, the Bucs will have less time to prepare for the Bengals.

"We have 36 hours less recovery time, but we still have to get the same job done," said Dungy. "We'll go out and practice today and I think we'll get into it. We've got to rest. We're going to take the pads off and take some of the physical contact off of them, but we've got to get it done."

But SS John Lynch thinks having a shorter amount of time to prepare for a team can have both pros and cons.

"I think the pros are we can hopefully ride this momentum we've established into this weekend. The cons are obviously physically. This is the time of the year where guys start getting banged and bruised, but you just have to fight through that. Tony (Dungy) will adjust to that accordingly. We'll take the pads off some this week. It's like of like telling your kids-rest is going to be very important this week. We didn't get back (from St. Louis) until 5:30 in the morning, so guys have to catch up on their rest and make it a positive."

While Tampa Bay doesn't have as much time to prepare for their opponent this Sunday as they normally do, the Bucs know they have to just deal with the cards they've been dealt if they are to make the playoffs.

"The biggest difference is we're going to take the pads off today," said Bucs QB Brad Johnson. "We'll heal up some of the bruises, aches and soreness some of the guys have. As far as preparation, the game plan is already in. Cincinnati is at the point where they have to have a win. We've been in the same position ourselves. It's a game we have to win if we want to get to the playoffs."

LOOKING FOR TWO IN A ROW: Tampa Bay has not won two games in a row yet this season, but they are going to have to in order to have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs.

"We haven't won back-to-back this season yet," said Dungy. "So, that's the first thing on our mind. We've got to put a streak together."

In fact, Tampa Bay has not won two road games in a row since the 1997 season, when the Bucs won games at Detroit and Minnesota in consecutive weeks. The Bengals are 3-2 at home this season.

"It's huge," said Lynch. "We talked a lot about that in preseason and throughout the offseason. That's what championship teams do is win consecutive games and they don't lose consecutive games. But that's something we haven't been able to accomplish. We've got a great opportunity to do that this week if we're on top of our game."

But right now, Tampa Bay can only focus on the opponent at hand, which is the 4-6 Cincinnati Bengals.

"We're just taking care of our business one game at a time," said Brooks. "It's starts now with Cincinnati. We're just taking care of our own business."


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