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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Enemy Turf

Warrick Dunn answers questions about the artificial surface in Philly and other current issues


RB Warrick Dunn said the Bucs performed well in the no-huddle offense in Green Bay because players were able to 'just react'

You would think Warrick Dunn might be weary of answering questions about his pitch-back play with Shaun King against the St. Louis Rams, but he isn't. Even on Tuesday, while speaking mostly about the Green Bay game and the upcoming trip to Philadelphia, Dunn took the question in stride, including a clearly sarcastic follow-up.

"That play there…we were desperate and trying to make a play, trying to keep a drive alive," said Dunn. "Shaun actually made the play, because he had to scramble for his life in a sense, right up the sideline. That play helped gain a lot of momentum for us on offense, to keep our drive alive."

Shot back one of the tape-recording listeners surrounding him: "When you say 'life', do you mean literally, as in 'life or death'?"

Dunn just laughed.

The questioner, you see, was none other than Shaun King.

Reflecting a loose and jovial mood at One Buccaneer Place on Tuesday, King had borrowed a reporter's recorder and waded into the crowd encircling Dunn. A round of good-natured ribbing between the two followed.

Eventually, King had to attend to his own group of questioners, and Dunn was left to some more focused reporters, though the running back's mood remained light.

Most of the ensuing conversation centered around weather and field conditions, both in Green Bay and Philadelphia. Here were Dunn's thoughts on this issues:

Why did the running game, after excelling for weeks, suddenly have difficulty in Green Bay?

"Those guys blitzed us, and we couldn't get going early in the running game. We got behind early, and we had to throw the ball a little bit more. They just took advantage of it. Those guys were just making plays…what did we have, nine punts in a row?

"It was just hard to get at that team early. In the second half, once we went to the two-minute offense, we looked much more efficient. We were able to do some things we wanted to do. You look back on it and you say, 'Those guys should have just gone with the no-huddle throughout the game.'"

What about the no-huddle offered that spark?

"Guys don't have to think, they just react. In a sense, you back those guys up, because you put pressure on those guys to stop you in the two-minute mode. Offensively, I think we gained a lot of confidence when we started moving the ball up and down the field on them. When we scored the touchdown, we figured, okay, now we're into it, now we're able to do what we want to do. It was just a matter of getting the ball back."

So should the Bucs use the no-huddle for most of the game?

"I wouldn't say that. I think what we do offensively, the tempo we go at, is fine. We just put ourselves in a situation where we had to. When you're down 14-0 in the fourth quarter, you have to do that. At that time, it just helped the offense move the ball up and down the field."

Was there an adjustment period to get used to the cold in Green Bay?

"It was actually colder in the second half than the first half. You can never make an adjustment to that weather. I think you just have to go out and play. Those guys had an opportunity to score early on us, and they did, so it took the pressure off those guys. Now they can just play, because they have the lead. We had to play catch up, and it put a lot of pressure on us in that weather.

Are you now more prepared for the cold weather you may face in Philadelphia?

"Anything is better than what we just went through. Anything is better. It was cold, but once you were playing, you were fine. But when you were standing on the sideline, you could really feel everything. I don't Philly could get that bad, but we're still going to have to go out and execute and play in abnormal conditions."

Philadelphia may not be as cold, but the stadium has an artificial surface often described as hard. Is that going to be a different kind of challenge?

"Probably, because the turf is going to be a little bit harder. It's going to be tough. The game isn't going to be a cakewalk, the conditions are going to be tough, but I think we just have to play better than we did last week.

"We played on it last year. Actually, we went up early in the year and it was getting cold then, and the turf was hard. You play in it, you deal with it."

So, really, will the elements play a role in this Sunday's outcome?

"Been there, played there before. Okay, now it's just going to be cold. It's going to be a little bit cooler, but it isn't going to be as bad as what we went through. So I don't think that's going to have an affect on us."

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