Bears approach London Bucs game as just another road trip
Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith wants to treat Sunday's game in London against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers like any other road game. That's why the Bears won't fly to England until Thursday after practice, unlike the Bucs, who arrived at Heathrow airport Monday night. The Bucs wanted players to have plenty of time to get acclimated to the five-hour time difference. Smith, however, is taking a similar approach to what the Bucs did in 2009, when they arrived in London late in the week and lost to the New England Patriots."It's a business trip for us," Smith said during his weekly Monday news conference. "We didn't go over there early because we want to go through our same game-week routine, our practice field, our equipment, our meeting rooms, all that and do what we normally do when we play a road game. Go out at the end of the week and play the game. That's how we are looking at the game." The NFL has played its International Series in London the past five years, and Smith told reporters he had researched what other teams had done to prepare. "We've had a few teams that have gone over," Smith said. "Teams do it differently. Some leave early. Some leave late. This is the route we felt most comfortable doing." The Bears itinerary calls for them to arrive in London early Friday morning local time – it's a six-hour time difference from Chicago. A media session is planned for Friday afternoon with practice to follow. The game was originally a Bucs home game at Raymond James Stadium, where it was likely to draw a large Chicago contingent. Nevertheless, Smith said he expected a pro-Bears crowd in London. "I'm told we have a big following overseas," he said. "I know we normally travel well. So, yes, we are expecting that. We feel like there will be more of a Bears crowd there than it would have been going down to Tampa, so whatever we get over there we're pretty comfortable with. "I know the guys are excited about showing our brand of football over there." The Bears (3-3) are coming of 39-10 rout of the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on Sunday night. The Bucs (4-2) defeated the New Orleans Saints, 26-20, on Sunday in Tampa.