Need to get ready for the game? Look no further than Bucsblitz.com's "Bucs Primer." Along with a game capsule, the Primer also provides links to all of Bucsblitz.com's coverage leading up to the game. So before the capsule, here's a look at our complete package of stories this week:
And don't forget to check out Matthew Postins' podcast with Seahawks.net's Doug Farrar in the Scout Audio area, which is reserved for premium subscribers to Bucsblitz.com.
Postins will be blogging during Sunday's game, followed by a postgame chat at 9 p.m. in the Bucsblitz.com chat room.
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET
TV: FOX, Dick Stockton, Brian Baldinger
SERIES: 8th meeting. Seahawks lead the series, 6-1. The Bucs lost 23-7 to Seattle at Raymond James Stadium on the final game of the 2006 season. The Bucs and Seahawks were expansion teams that began play in 1976 and Seattle won the first four meetings.
PREDICTION: Seahawks 30-20
KEYS TO THE GAME: Qwest Field is one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, so the Bucs must get off to a strong start. That means RB Cadillac Williams being productive against a smallish Seahawks front seven, and QB Jeff Garcia getting rid of the ball quickly in three- and four-receiver sets. With the Seahawks more confident in their deep coverage with FS Deon Grant, coordinator John Marshall is expected to be far more aggressive blitzing the linebackers. ... The Seahawks have always liked running behind the left side of their offensive line led by LT Walter Jones. The Bucs will need strong play from their linebackers against RB Shaun Alexander with Jones expected to be working against Bucs rookie DE Gaines Adams. Adams has plenty of talent, but it's very raw. The Bucs will blitz often, knowing that was an area of weakness for Seattle during the preseason.
KEY INJURIES: Bucs: RT Jeremy Trueblood (Achilles) returned to practice this week; DE Patrick Chukwurah (knee) will miss 3-4 weeks. Seahawks: WR Ben Obomanu (hamstring), the fifth receiver, doesn't appear likely to play.
FAST FACTS: Garcia seeks to become the 11th different quarterback to win a game under coach Jon Gruden. ... The Seahawks are an NFL-worst 10-21 (.323) in season openers.
TE Jerramy Stevens was found guilty of three counts of DUI on Friday in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Bucs raised a 4000 square foot flag outside the training facility as practice concluded Thursday.
That's the biggest flag I've ever seen and it just goes with the facility," coach Jon Gruden said. "Everything that the Glazers do is going to be the best n the world. They're going to be on the cutting edge. When it comes to facilities, when it comes to flags, it's going to be first class. That's an awesome sight there.
WR David Boston could be headed for trouble. The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's office said Thursday they will proceed with DUI charges on Boston after receiving results from his urine test.
WR Joey Galloway returned to practice Thursday and said he is ready to go for Sunday's opener at Seattle, where he began his career. Galloway is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
G Arron Sears practiced Thursday despite ankle strain that kept him out of the final two preseason games and will start Sunday at Seattle.
DE Patrick Chukwurah was the only player not to practice Thursday and will not play at Seattle. Chukwurah has an MCL tear and will miss 3-4 weeks.
RB Michael Pittman will serve as the Bucs' kickoff returner at Seattle.
LT Walter Jones, who missed all the preseason games protecting a sore shoulder, looks to have added a few pounds, but his performance in practice has still be exceptional.
DE Darryl Tapp is still working with the first unit and appears to have taken over the spot from incumbent starter Bryce Fisher. Tapp was considered a better rusher while Fisher was stronger against the rush.
DB Jordan Babineaux, although rusty from having missed almost all of the preseason with a bruised knee, has come back strong and says he's back to full speed.
RB Alvin Pearman might be the one player, of the three new additions this week (including DT Ellis Wyms and DE Jason Babin), to see the field on Sunday. Pearman has been working with some special teams.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
The Bucs will have two rookies in their starting lineup on defense -- defensive end Gaines Adams and safety Tanard Jackson.
Jackson is a converted cornerback with speed who isn't afraid to gamble on occasion to create turnovers. He is expected to replace free safety Will Allen.
"I knew I had the opportunity to play, now it's just up to me," Jackson said following practice Thursday. "Obviously, they've seen that I've worked hard and put myself in this position. Now it's about production and making plays. If you're producing and making plays out there, you'll stay in that spot and that's all I'm trying to do right now."
"I love the fact he's out there,'" cornerback Brian Kelly said of Jackson. "I told him the other day, 'It's good to have a guy who has some cornerback skills, a cornerback mentality, a la, Dexter Jackson, some guys that have a history of playing the corner position.' They know what me and Ronde (Barber) and Phillip (Buchanon) are thinking. So that's going to help us out a lot back there being able to make some plays."
Case in point: The Bucs safeties had two interceptions last season, both by Jermaine Phillips in the game against Cleveland. Those are Phillips' only picks in two seasons. During that stretch, the Bucs' safeties have accounted for six interceptions.
"We're taking a calculated risk on having guys back there who have no problems making plays," Kelly said. "They've got the speed to make plays and they can recover if they make a mistake. I think that's what we've got right now."
In fact, the Bucs could have as many as six new starters on defense at Seattle compared with last year's Week 1 depth chart -- Jackson, defensive end Gaines Adams, defensive end Kevin Carter, defensive tackle Jovan Haye and linebackers Cato June and Barrett Ruud.
Yes, the Seahawk offense lost 14 receiving touchdowns with the departures of Darrell Jackson and Jerramy Stevens. But the staff is certain they're not going to be greatly missed. And with the return to health of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and back Shaun Alexander, the offense is expected to be up and running at 2005 levels.
The unknown variable as the Seahawks head into the season opener at home against Tampa Bay on Sunday is the defense. The Hawks will feature six new starters on defense, with both ends being replaced and an entirely new secondary.
The loss of defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs could have an incalculable effect. Tubbs had recovered from microfracture surgery on his right knee only to be lost for the season with an injury to his left knee in the final preseason game. That leaves the Hawks with a group of undersized tackles trying to stop the run ... with the exception of rookie Brandon Mebane. Mebane is a stout 314 and plays with a low center of gravity. Ellis Wyms (free agent cut by Tampa Bay) was a late pick up to add depth to that DT group.
The secondary is the biggest question mark as Marcus Trufant moves from right to left corner and last year's first rounder Kelly Jennings takes over on the right side. Deon Grant and Brian Russell are interchangeable at the two safety spots. And the whole group is coached by another newcomer, coach Jim Mora.
Coach Mike Holmgren specifically pointed to the impact of some of the new additions on defense as having been very positive heading into the season. "Our new guys have added tremendously to that group," Holmgren said. "Deon Grant was named captain. Patrick Kerney goes about his business and Brian Russell will be the quarterback of the defense. I'm energized by that group."