TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers home field is being transformed to the site for Super Bowl LV. Banners and signs are going up all around Raymond James Stadium. In the stadium’s shadow is the Bucs’ practice facility offering a constant reminder of where they want to be playing on February 7.
“We don’t play that game this week – that’s the message to everybody,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said. “We play the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. If you start thinking about the Super Bowl, you get beat and [will] be packing your bags on Monday.
Linebacker Lavonte David has spent his entire career with the Buccaneers organization and he’s not taking for granted a chance to play in his first NFC Championship Game.
“It’s just an honor to still be here, to still be able to live out my dream as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and to be at this point right here,” David said. “Through the first eight years of my career, I’ve never been in a situation like this. There have been some rough years I’ve been through, but for me to just still be here after all that – it’s just me having a strong mind and a great support system.”
The Bucs and Packers met back in Week Six with Tampa Bay handing quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay a 38-10 loss. It was the only time all season Rodgers had not looked like the MVP front-runner.
“They still have a great offense,” Bucs rookie safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. said. “It’s the same offense, offensively. It is difficult to beat the same team twice, so we know going in that we really have to prepare well, practice well [and] make sure we’re still studying these guys extremely well because they have a great offense.”
“The Packers were in the NFC Championship game last year – lost a tough one to San Francisco – and I know the type of team they are and what they’re capable of,” Bucs quarterback Tom Brady said. “They’ve got a great offense – one of the best in the league – really talented defense, really well-coached. That’s how it should be – the two best teams in the conference should be getting together and seeing how it all goes down. I’m excited for it – we’ve still got a lot of preparation.”
Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea returned to the practice field for the first time since suffering an ankle fracture in Week Five.
“He walked really [well], because that’s all we did today,” Arians said. “We had a walkthrough. That was a really physical game last week and it’s that time of year where we don’t need to be beating on each other. We’ll see him move around more tomorrow. I watched him run for the last few weeks to get in shape and he looks good.”
Vea could be activated in time for Sunday’s game, however, wide receiver Antonio Brown (knee) is still day-to-day.