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Bucs Crank the Noise

Posted Nov 1, 2013

Friday Notes: In order to prepare for the infamous crowd noise at Seattle's CenturyLink Field, the Buccaneers spent the week practicing under unusual conditions...Plus injury updates and more

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Buccaneers believe they created a reasonable approximation of the Seattle crowd noise in practice this week
  • S Dashon Goldson remains a question mark due to his knee injury as the Bucs prepare to head to Seattle
  • WR Vincent Jackson thinks the Bucs' offense can thrive even without Doug Martin and Mike Williams
As if channeling Spinal Tap, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cranked the amp on their sound system to 11 this week.

While the fictional band members in that famous mock-umentary just wanted to be more metal, the Buccaneers had a more concrete reason to raise the volume higher than ever before during their week of practice: CenturyLink Field.

That's the Bucs' destination this weekend, as they head to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in the NFL venue most renowned for the sheer decibels its denizens are able to produce on game day.  Officially, the fans at Arrowhead Stadium set the world record for an outdoor sports stadium a few weeks ago when they hit 137.5 decibels, breaking the mark of 136.6 set by Seattle fans earlier in the year, but CenturyLink Field remains the most feared venue by opposing eardrums.

“I think it’s the toughest place to play," said safety Dashon Goldson, who had the pleasure of an annual visit to Seattle during his six seasons with San Francisco. "The fans do a good job of cheering and making it hard for offenses in that stadium. I think the way the stadium is pretty much built is to trap all the noise in there. It is what it is.”

What it is is a real issue that opposing teams have to prepare for.  Using speakers to pipe in crowd noise and/or music on the practice field is a very common practice around the NFL, and the Bucs have been doing it all year before their road trips, but it was a little different this week.  It was a little bit "Heavy Duty," to steal once again from the blokes in Spinal Tap.

Head Coach Greg Schiano joked in Wednesday's post-practice press conference that his ears were still humming from what he had pumping from the speakers minutes before.  The purpose, of course, is to perfect – or come as close as possible to perfecting – a mode of communication that will allow the offense to continue to operate when nobody on the field can hear each other.  The offensive line has to get off the ball in unison and rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has to be able to get any changes in the play call to his pass-catchers.  Because that is such a chore in front of the Seattle crowd, Schiano had the noise cranked up to, well, 11 this week.

“I think what we’ve had cranked up here the last three or four days is probably going to be louder than what it’s going to be like in Seattle," said wide receiver Vincent Jackson.  "We kind of need that; when you go out there on Sunday, it makes it a little bit easier. That’s what the NFL is; every time you go on the road, it’s going to be a difficult environment. I don’t expect it to be a problem for us.”

Added guard Davin Joseph: "They turned the speakers up really, really loud this week.  So we've been preparing in the noise, working on our silent count, just like we prepare for most road games."

Joseph stressed that, in addition to practicing in the midst of a rock concert, the Buccaneers also need to make sure they get off to a fast start on Sunday in order to keep the crowd in check as much as possible.  Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan concurs, noting how the overwhelming noise can add to the snowball effect when a team falls behind.  Sullivan was a coach for the New York Giants during three road trips to CenturyLink Field, and he believed the noise level the Bucs achieved on the practice field this week was at least close to what they'll experience Sunday.

-- The Bucs practiced under deafening crowd noise piped in by speakers this week
"It’s a tremendous crowd," said Sullivan.  "I think the players feed off of it and if it’s a situation that goes bad early, it can get worse. If you’re able to get on top of them early, it quiets down. If it ends up being a dog fight like the third instance I played up there with the [New York] Giants and it’s something that went down to the wire, then it kind of ebbs and flows. It’s an amazing venue and a great environment and we’re really excited to go up there and play.”

Sullivan is right about the Seahawks players feeding off the insane noise level.  The Seahawks actually have the uniform #12 retired in honor of the "12th Man," and while that is a decades-old gimmick in Seattle it is very real for the current team.

“I think it is underrated, to be honest with you," said Wilson of the CenturyLink atmosphere.  "It really is something special. I’ve played in a lot of big stadiums and a lot of big games and I’m not just saying this because I play here or anything like that: It really is something really unique. It’s one of those things that in your lifetime, if you love football, you have to go to a game in CenturyLink. Just to witness it, it’s really something special. That energy, we feed off of it as a team. It’s a beautiful atmosphere and the stadium is great. The fans are one of a kind and that 12th Man, we really feed off of that. They bring great energy to the game.”

* Goldson will get that CenturyLink experience one more time this weekend.  Whether he's soaking it in from the field or from the sideline remains to be seen.

Goldson is one of five players listed as questionable on the Buccaneers' Friday injury report, the first one of the week that includes game-status designations.  He and fellow starting safety Mark Barron share that designation, but Schiano seemed more concerned about the former than the latter after practice on Friday.

“I’m not sure yet," said Schiano of Goldson's game-day status. "I hope, but I can’t [say] yes for sure. I think Mark will. I’m more encouraged there.”

Goldson missed the Bucs' last game against Carolina eight days ago and was limited on the practice field all week.  If he is unable to play for a second straight game, second-year man Keith Tandy will likely start in his place.  The defense could also be without linebacker Dekoda Watson (shoulder) and defensive tackle Derek Landri (back), although Schiano expressed cautious optimism about Watson on Friday and Landri was able to participate fully in practice.

Although there was a (very) slim chance that running back Doug Martin would return this week, the team officially ruled him out on Friday.  Martin is trying to recover from a shoulder injury suffered in Atlanta in Week Seven that will eventually need to be surgically repaired.  Schiano said that it is an injury that some players have played with in the past, but the Buccaneers have to determine if Martin can do so at a high enough level to make it worthwhile delaying his surgery until the end of the season.

“The injury he has, if you can do your job, then you can play," said Schiano. "He’s tough guy and he wants to play. There’s been tons of guys that have done it. Not that it means that he can, and it’s not a slight if he can’t, it’s just physiological. Can you or can’t you? Some can, some can’t.

“We wouldn’t bring him back unless he could be very effective. Like I said, he’s going to need to get it repaired, and it doesn’t make a difference if he does it now or does it at the end of the year. So if he can function, he wants to and we want him too. If he can’t function at a high level, then we’ll shut it down. But it’s not an issue of it’s going to get worse. It’s none of those things.”

The full injury reports for both teams are below.

Buccaneers:

Player

Injury

Game Status

S Mark Barron

Hip

Questionable

RB Jeff Demps

Groin

Out

LB Mason Foster

Hamstring

Probable

S Dashon Goldson

Knee

Questionable

G Davin Joseph

Knee

Probable

DT Derek Landri

Back

Questionable

RB Doug Martin

Shoulder

Out

G Carl Nicks

Foot

Out

WR Chris Owusu

Foot

Questionable

DT Akeem Spence

Wrist

Probable

S Keith Tandy

Ankle

Probable

LB Dekoda Watson

Shoulder

Questionable


Seahawks:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

DE Michael Bennett

Illness

Probable

RB Derrick Coleman

Hamstring

Out

T Breno Giacomini

Knee

Out

S Jeron Johnson

Hamstring

Out

RB Marshawn Lynch

Knee

Probable

DT Brandon Mebane

Not Injured

Probable

G J.R. Sweezy

Elbow

Probable

S Earl Thomas

Illness

Probable


* Vincent Jackson has 331 receiving yards and four touchdowns in the Bucs' last three games, which should make him an obvious target for the Seattle defense.  In the last two weeks, Tampa Bay's offense has lost Martin to his current injury hiatus and starting wide receiver Mike Williams to injured reserve.  That should make Jackson even more of a target for the Seattle defense.

Jackson, however, thinks the cast around him is still strong enough to force the Seahawks to account for everyone.

We’ve put together a great week of work, and I love our game plan. We’re excited to go up there and compete.
-- WR Vincent Jackson

“I feel confident with all the guys we have," he said.  "That’s what an organization is responsible to do, bring in guys that can come in and step in when someone goes down. We have great running backs, great receivers, great tight ends that all can make plays. These guys aren’t in the NFL for no reason. Our coaches are going to put these guys in the best position to be successful, and I’m just going to go out there and do my job and help us be successful. I think everything will work out just fine with the guys we have.”

Regardless of their approach, the Seahawks will be a serious test for Jackson and company, perhaps their toughest one of the year.  Seattle's secondary is loaded with Pro Bowlers and All-Pros, and both of its starting cornerbacks – Richard Marshall and Brandon Browner – are bigger defenders who can match Jackson's size and strength.

“It’s going to be a challenge, for sure," said Jackson.  "This defense, as a whole, is playing really well, at a high level this year. They play well as a unit, and they do have some guys, some good size, that fly around back there in the secondary. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re going to have to execute well, be very disciplined in our routes. These guys are physical. When you have a reputation for being a good defense, you’re going to be doing a lot of touching and stuff up the field, so we’re going to have to fight through that kind of thing and continue to just attack the ball and try to get Mike [Glennon] some separation and some windows.”

Because the Seahawks have also been strong up front, racking up 26 sacks through eight games, the Tampa Bay pass-catchers will need to be precise in their routes in order to give Glennon a chance to get the ball away.

"Sometimes they’re rushing four defensive ends up front, so we know that we’ve got to get the ball out of Mike’s hands and we’ve got to protect him, keep him clean as much as possible," said Jackson.  "As receivers, we know we’ve got to create those windows as quickly as possible. It’s going to definitely be a challenge, but we’re excited. We’ve put together a great week of work, and I love our game plan. We’re excited to go up there and compete.”

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