Evan Dietrich-Smith reflects on Packer Nation

TAMPA, Fla. -- One of the NFL's greatest traveling shows is coming to Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.

It's the fans of the Green Bay Packers. In years past, they've been known to outnumber Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans and have taken control of the stadium. Tampa Bay center Evan Dietrich-Smith, who spent the previous five seasons playing for Green Bay, said it's not just like that when the Packers come to Tampa Bay.

"It's pretty much everywhere you go," Dietrich-Smith said. "They're in Europe. Fans are crazy. They're not crazy rowdy like going to fight you. All Packer fans that I know are really cool people that like supporting their team. The fans are always great. I love Packer Nation. They're very supportive of their team and they do a great job of traveling pretty much anywhere they go."

When the schedule first came out, the Green Bay game sold out quickly while the Bucs have struggled to sell out the rest of their games. Dietrich-Smith said it comes with the territory and playing for the Packers is a unique experience.

"You're talking about one of the most storied franchises in the league and then you're talking about an expansion team [Tampa Bay]," Dietrich-Smith said. "For them, the town and the tradition goes very deep. I was never really bothered too much in town. People were always really nice if they recognized me. I was recognized few and far in between because I was just a big, burly guy with a beard walking around. I was never really run down for autographs or anything like that."

Dietrich-Smith said he's not worried about Green Bay fans dominating the crowd noise.

"We've got to do just what we've got to do," Dietrich-Smith said. "You want the fans to show up. But it doesn't really matter where we play. We could play in a parking lot. We're going to play football no matter how you look at it."

In addition to giving scouting reports on Green Bay's fans, Dietrich-Smith also was asked for his take on the Packers' defense.

"They're a lot more athletic than they've been in years past," Dietrich-Smith said. "The identity of the team is the offense puts up a bunch of numbers and the defense kind of gets unleashed on you. They put a lot of speed and athleticism on the field and guys that are able to make plays all over the field. That's kind of how they go about winning football games. If you allow them to do that, then they will do that to you. Obviously, you want to keep the game close. That's more to your advantage instead of getting into a scoring race with them because you're probably going to lose that one."