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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs see 4-8 Eagles as dangerous obstacle

Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 04:58 PM

Where others see a 3-9 Philadelphia club playing out the string, the Buccaneers see danger.

The Eagles take an eight-game losing streak into Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, and speculation is rampant that Andy Reid will soon be replaced as head coach after 14 seasons.

"They're dangerous,'' said Bucs WR Vincent Jackson. "You respect every opponent, and a team like this wants to finish on the right note. We have to expect their best shot.''

One reason not to take Philadelphia lightly is the recent play of rookie RB Bryce Brown, who has gained 347 yards the past two weeks while LeSean McCoy tries to recover from a concussion that will sideline him again Sunday.

A seventh-round draft pick out of Kansas State, Brown is averaging 6.5 yards per carry on the season. He has also lost three fumbles in the past two games, contributing to Philadelphia's minus-18 turnover ratio.

"Brown is good,'' said Bucs LB Adam Hayward. "He's big, fast and shifty and he has really stepped up since McCoy went out.''

The Eagles have allowed an average of 30 points per game since a 3-1 start, but Bucs LT Donald Penn said the game tape shows otherwise.

"On film, they look like a 12-0 team the way their defense plays,'' Penn said. "They're playing hard.''

Injury update

DT Roy Miller, dealing with a head injury suffered in the second quarter of Sunday's game at Denver, fully participated in Friday's practice after he was cleared to return.

Miller is listed as questionable against the Eagles, and Bucs coach Greg Schiano said the club will be "cautious'' before dressing Miller on Sunday.

"I have a responsibility to this team, and I definitely want to go out there,'' Miller said. "We're in the hunt right now, but we'll let (the coaching staff) make the decision.''

CB LeQuan Lewis (knee) didn't practice all week and is out for Sunday.

The Bucs activated CB Anthony Gaitor to the 53-man roster. Gaitor injured his hamstring in the preseason and hasn't played in 2012.

Peer pressure

With Bucs fans bracing for a day of nostalgia and celebration, Penn said the presence of the 2002 NFL champions in the stadium raises the bar for current players.

"We've got to put on a show,'' Penn said. "We can't come out here and look bad in front of those guys. They are our elders. I remember watching that Super Bowl game when I was in college (at Utah State), rooting for the Raiders. I never thought I'd be on a Tampa team. It's going to be a great atmosphere, and my hat's off to those guys.''

Ira Kaufman