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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bears confident travel won't be an issue in London game

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 03:35 AM
TAMPA -

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears are taking different approaches to Sunday's contest in London.

Tampa Bay flew to London on Monday. The Bucs wanted to get acclimated to the five-hour time difference. Bucs coach Raheem Morris believed his team could have a normal practice week if they arrived early. Players were also given an off-day on Tuesday to sightsee in England.

The Bears do not leave for London until Thursday night. Chicago will land Friday morning, have two days of preparation, then face Tampa Bay at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Chicago coach Lovie Smith was asked if he thought Tampa Bay had an advantage by leaving for London earlier, but he shot down that notion.

"No, I don't," Smith said. "For us, we wanted to keep a regular game-week routine in place and that's what we're doing. As far as getting acclimated, you can bog your mind down with all of that talk. We're going to go there. We'll be there Friday. We're leaving Thursday from here. That's plenty of time."

Tampa Bay previously attempted a similar strategy, but it did not work.

Two years ago, Tampa Bay flew to London on Friday and arrived Saturday morning. Tampa Bay faced New England, which arrived 17-hours earlier, and was defeated, 35-7.

Smith does not believe arrival time in London has any influence on success.

"You can get as much rest as you need," Smith said. "We're going to end up playing the game at 12 o'clock, Chicago time. I don't think that's an issue at all. I think normally when you go overseas, I think the best football team normally wins. It's as simple as that. That's what will happen this time around."

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler agreed.

"I never traveled over there to play a football game," Cutler said. "We're going to get two good days of work here. We're going to go over Thursday night and get ready to play."

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