By Kyra Hallett
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are facing the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Chiefs are 1-4 on the season with their only win coming against the New Orleans Saints in Week Three in overtime.
These two teams have multiple connections, but the biggest are between Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, Bucs kicker Connor Barth and Chiefs running back Dexter McCluster. Freeman grew up a Chiefs fans in Kansas City. Barth originally signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agents out of college. McCluster was born and raised in Largo, Florida. He attended Largo High School with fellow Buccaneer, rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson. McCluster graduated from Largo High in 2006 and Johnson in 2008. Now, these two will take the same field once again but for the first time together as NFL players.
The Bucs and Chiefs have faced each other twice since 2004. In both games, the Bucs won, with each game decided by only three points. The first game, in 2004, was 30-27 and the second, in 2008, was 34-31.
Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said, “Matt [Cassel] is not going to play. The doctor’s have not cleared him,” so that means that Brady Quinn will get his first start since 2009 when he was a member of the Cleveland Browns.
Since Quinn has not been the starter, this brings up questions about the offense. Will he be comfortable with certain plays? Are they only going to use certain plays? Quinn quickly shut those questions down and said, “We need to make sure we try to utilize everything we have in our playbook. We don’t want to cut anything out.”
When approaching the Bucs, coach Crennel said they must adjust their plays accordingly. “We game plan how we think we need to play the game.” When Crennel discussed the Bucs, he recognized their competitiveness. “Defensively they are disruptive on the defensive side of the ball. They got speed, and a strong-armed quarterback on the offensive side of the ball. I expect it to be a competitive football game.”
Kansas City linebacker Derrick Johnson had this to said about the Bucs offense: “They’re a powerhouse-type offense. They like to run the ball. Josh Freeman has a big arm. He’s a young guy but he’s grown into a pretty dang good football player. He’s going to be hyped up and ready to go that day. They need to win just like we need to win so it’s going to be a big game for both of us.”
Quinn said, “Tampa is a good team. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They’re tough upfront, really the front seven. And I know some of those DBs – I played with and was drafted with Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald and they’re both very athletic. Aqib Talib is a very good player. Everybody knows Ronde Barber he’s been around forever. The [Mark] Barron kid has a ton of talent.”
Crennel brought up that each team is different when coming off the bye but the only thing you can count on is, “they’re going to have fresh legs.”
“We have a tough challenge ahead of us,” said Quinn.
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Kyra Hallett is a freelance writer and a Multimedia Sports Journalist. She has experience covering Tampa Bay sports in many outlets including Examiner.com. Her dream job would be to work with the athletes and their fans. You can view some of her work at KyraHallett.com or here at Examiner.com.