Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers try not to be distracted by thoughts of playoffs

TAMPA — As the NFC South-leading Falcons battled the Ravens on Thursday night, many Bucs players were glued to their televisions as much or more than any fan.

That's because they had a vested interest in the game's outcome, with the Bucs chasing the Falcons in the standings.

There will be plenty of scoreboard watching in the weeks to come, but there's a balancing act between wandering eyes and the business at hand, players say.

"We're rooting for our best interest, of course," CB Ronde Barber said. "But it's too early. Too many things can play out still. There's half the season left to go. To start looking at it now would kind of be pointless without trying to predict the future, which nobody can do."

The Falcons won on a Matt Ryan-to-Roddy White touchdown in the final minute, giving the Falcons a 1 1/2-game lead over Tampa Bay with the Bucs looking to close that gap on Sunday against the Panthers.

As players try to focus on each given week, the subject of the postseason naturally will come up. The key, they say, is not to let it preoccupy their thinking.

"It's only human nature to kind of think about those things," RB Cadillac Williams said.

"But at the same time, you have to keep things in perspective and look at the bigger picture."

OL SHUFFLING: A day after suggesting it might not be a foregone conclusion that Jeff Faine resumed his role as starting center, coach Raheem Morris told Faine on Friday to expect to retake his spot in the starting lineup after missing a month with a quadriceps injury.

"I talked to Coach and he said it's all a go," Faine said. "He basically said, 'You're my starting center.' "

Faine was being monitored by coaches to see whether his injury would cause soreness now that he has resumed practice. They also wanted to check his conditioning level after his long absence. Morris seemed satisfied.

"He practiced this week, and he went through it," Morris said. "The whole thing I was worried about was his conditioning and where he was going to be. He did a nice job this week. He's locked in."

As for Jeremy Zuttah, who spent four weeks filling in at center for Faine, he hasn't been assured of a return to left guard. That's because rookie Ted Larsen, a waiver pickup from the Patriots, has been excelling there.

"Larsen played well," Morris said. "We rotated (at that position) before, even before Zuttah went to center. So, maybe we can play both. But right now, Larsen really played well, and we have a tough time just taking him out completely. We'll have to either mix those guys in or just play Larsen the whole time."

RT Jeremy Trueblood (knee) will return to the starting lineup as well, sending James Lee back to the bench.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers try not to be distracted by thoughts of playoffs 11/12/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 12, 2010 10:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. SI ranks Quinton Flowers on top 100, above Deondre Francois


    Sports Illustrated's ongoing countdown of the top 100 players in college football includes some high praise for USF quarterback Quinton Flowers.

  2. Kentucky recruit, former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox among top prospects for 2018 NBA Draft


    Less than 24 hours after the NBA Draft, analysts have already begun looking ahead to 2018.

    Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox finishes a layup during the McDonald's All-American game in March at the United Center in Chicago. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Illinois is recruiting a 10-year-old. Where will Lovie Smith be by the time the kid can sign?


    Today in ridiculous recruiting news, Lovie Smith's Illinois football team offered a scholarship to a 10-year-old.

  4. Rays series preview: Who are the Orioles?


    After an off day Thursday, the Rays remain at Tropicana Field for a three-game series against the AL East rival Orioles. Here's the information you need to know about Baltimore before the action kicks off.

    Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman, left, has posted the highest ERA of his career this season, while catcher Welington Castillo, center, has slumped recently.
  5. Harmeling first woman to receive lifetime honor at Sneaker Soiree in Tampa

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the last quarter-century, she has combined passion and meticulousness to keep the Gasparilla Distance Classic humming and evolving. Indefatigable and detailed, Susan Harmeling braces for every race-weekend contingency.

    Susan Harmeling gives a speech after accepting an award  during the annual Sneaker Soiree, at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, Thursday, June 22, 2017.