Will previous experience give the Buccaneers an edge over the Bears for their game at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday?
The Bears and Buccaneers are taking different logistical approaches for the NFL’s annual international game in the United Kingdom. The Buccaneers arrived on Monday night and will conduct their entire preparation in England. The Bears are practicing Wednesday and Thursday at Halas Hall and will arrive in London on Friday morning after flying overnight.
The Buccaneers played in the London game in 2009 — and lost to the New England Patriots 35-7. Coach Raheem Morris notes they were not a very good team — the Bucs were 0-6 at the time; the Patriots were the Patriots. But the previous experience did play a part in the decision to arrive earlier this time.
”I just wanted to get these guys acclimated quicker than we did the last time,” Morris said from Penny Hill Park near London, where the Buccaneers are practicing. ”Get these guys in the city, situated in their hotel rooms. Kind of having the ability to be out here on your off day and see the city, get all that stuff out of your system, and get right into your game week and right to your planning and having the guys in a little better situation than the last time.”
Morris said he is hoping it works to his advantage.
”I certainly hope so,” he said. ”The people here at Penny Hill Park Hotel have done a great job of making it like home for us. They’ve done a nice job of getting us all together and keeping us here in the building. It’s kind of like a training-camp atmosphere somewhat. And we kind of like that.”
Morris said he hopes the London trip will be good preparation in case the Buccaneers make the Super Bowl, which also is a departure from the normal routine of a regular-season week in the NFL. He admitted his team struggled with the short week and long-distance travel when the Buccaneers were swamped 48-3 by the 49ers two weeks ago.
”We didn’t play fast. We didn’t play hard. We didn’t play as smart as we usually play,” Morris said. ”We made some simple mistakes that a young team makes. It was a short week, going up to the West Coast, coming off a Monday Night Football game. The schedule makers didn’t like us that much that week and it showed in our play.”