TAMPA — The Bucs enjoyed the big stage afforded them by Monday Night Football this week, but there's a downside to being featured in the prime-time game.
Now, Tampa Bay has fewer days of preparation and recovery ahead of Sunday's game, a task compounded by the challenge of flying cross-country for a game against the 49ers at Candlestick Park.
"It's difficult because it's a shorter week," LT Donald Penn said. "It's a real short week because we leave on Friday. I think the only good thing is (practice) is a little lighter. It helps your body recover faster. Usually, I would have had two days off before today.
"I'm hurting a lot more. I'm a lot sorer than I would be if we would've played on Sunday. People have to take care of their bodies, and we have to recover faster than we usually would, and we have to put in that extra work with the game plan."
The coaching staff was the first to be impacted. Coaches typically spend Monday mornings reviewing tape of Sunday's game, examining areas in need of fine tuning. Then, Tuesdays are spent working on the next Sunday's game plan, which they present to players and begin practicing on Wednesdays.
This week, coaches couldn't begin reviewing the game until Tuesday morning, with coach Raheem Morris arriving in the wee hours to get that process under way.
Then, game planning for the 49ers also had to be handled. Today's practice will consist of less physical work but a great deal of mental preparation for the game.
One thing working in the Bucs' favor: They've proven they can win on the West Coast after years of futility on western swings. Tampa Bay was 2-0 in trips out west last season, defeating the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals.
"It's going to be tough, but we had success on the West Coast the last two years," Penn said. "Hopefully we can make it three."
SAFETY PLAN: So, how did the Bucs do in their first game without starting FS Cody Grimm?
They ultimately decided to start Corey Lynch, who seemed to have a solid game, playing most of the snaps. He shared a few of his reps with Larry Asante, as expected.
The assessment from coaches was that it was a fairly seamless transition, even if SS Sean Jones did wind up playing near the line of scrimmage more than usual to compensate for Grimm's loss.
The Bucs, liking what they saw Monday, will take a similar approach against San Francisco.
"There were a couple of breakout runs that Corey Lynch made some good tackles on," defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said. "Nobody probably noticed because it didn't break out for a long run, but he made a nice tackle for a 10-yard gain. If he misses that tackle, (Joseph) Addai might go score a touchdown.
"Both those guys did a nice job for us, and we'll do the same thing this week. We'll have a rotation, let Corey go in there and let Larry go in there. I feel real confident about both of those guys."
RUN Stuffers: The Bucs face a significant challenge in attempting to run the ball against the 49ers' stout defensive front.
San Francisco ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 74 yards per game behind the likes of ILB Patrick Willis and DT Justin Smith. The 49ers have not allowed an individual 100-yard rushing performance in 26 games — most in the league.
The Bucs' LeGarrette Blount, coming off a 127-yard game against the Colts, rushed for 82 yards against the 49ers last season.
QUOTABLE: "We just kind of embrace wins. However we get them, we kind of love it." — Morris on whether his team's penalty-filled performance against the Colts was an ugly win.