Flynn's Focus

October 9 – The opportunity to improve its record to 5-1 should serve as plenty of motivation for Tampa Bay this Sunday when they host Cleveland But if it's not, Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden certainly will stimulate his troops with some franchise history facts, just as he did last week when he reminded his players that the Bucs had not recorded a win on the road in October since 1995. Find out what Tampa Bay can accomplish with a win against Cleveland in this installment of Flynn's Focus.

Flynn's Focus usually appears weekly on PewterReport.com
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Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden enlightened his team last week about the fact that the Buccaneers had not won a road game in October since 1995 (at Carolina). After the Bucs defeated the Falcons in Atlanta, which ended that dreadful streak, the Tampa Bay players said Gruden's reminder served them well as they prepared for the Falcons.

"We hadn't won a road game in October since Carolina in 1995," Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp said after Tampa Bay defeated Atlanta last Sunday. "That kind of stuck with us on Wednesday when we were talking with (Gruden) and he let us have that. I was on that team when we won that road game and I couldn't believe we hadn't won a road game since then. It was real important for us to come out and get this one"

So, what kind of facts can Gruden use from the Bucs' franchise fact book that will serve as motivation for the team's game against the Cleveland Browns this Sunday?

First of all, a win on Sunday would improve Tampa Bay's record to 5-1 on the season, which would be its best start since 1997 and would tie Tampa Bay's 1979 and '97 teams for best regular season start in franchise history.

Believe it or not, Tampa Bay has never defeated the Cleveland Browns during the regular season. The Bucs are 0-5 against the Browns, but the two teams have not met each other since '95.

"We have never defeated the Cleveland Browns," said Gruden. That's our objective right now."

Not only have the Bucs never beaten the Browns, but with the exception of the expansion Houston Texans, who the Bucs have never faced during the regular season, Cleveland is the only team in the National Football League that Tampa Bay has never beaten during the regular season.

"That's enough motivation," Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks said when asked about the fact that Tampa Bay had never defeated Cleveland during the regular season. "We've never beaten them, so hopefully we'll turn that around this week."

The Buccaneers have actually defeated the Browns, but only in preseason. Tampa Bay has posted a 4-3 record against Cleveland in preseason.

Other players said they don't need to look past the 2-3 Cleveland Browns for their motivation.

"I think (defeating the Browns for the fist time) matters to us," said Tampa Bay left guard Cosey Coleman. "But we want the win. The Cleveland Browns are the next team in front of us. That's the next challenge that the Buccaneers have. It's not really about what records are being broke or what's being made. (The Browns) are our next obstacle in our way."

And last, but not least, a win against Cleveland on Sunday would improve Tampa Bay's record in October to 2-0 under Gruden, which would be a welcomed start since former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy's teams produced a woeful 7-14 record in October.


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Copyright 2002 Pewter Report/PewterReport.com

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