WHERE: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
SPREAD: Bucs by 3
WHERE THE REDSKINS STAND: The Washington Redskins are 3-0 and in first place of the NFC East Division in terms of preseason standings.
REDSKINS HEAD COACH: Steve Spurrier (0-0 all-time vs. Bucs head coach Jon Gruden).
REDSKINS OFFENSIVE COORINATOR: Steve Spurrier
REDSKINS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Marvin Lewis
REDSKINS SPECIAL TEAMS COACH: Mike Stock
MATCHUP TO WATCH Redskins RB Stephen Davis vs. Buccaneers weakside linebacker Derrick Brooks : Davis has had three-consecutive record-breaking seasons with the Skins. He rushed for a team-record 1,432 yards in 2001, which eclipsed his personal best of 1,405 yards in '99. The 6-foot-0, 235-pound power-type back has rushed for 4,100 yards in the last three seasons. Davis is also a capable pass-catching back in the flat. He hauled in 28 passes last season for 205 yards. Davis is the type of back that needs 20-25 touches a game to get revved up, but he may not get that in Spurrier's pass-happy offense. Davis has rushed 11 times for 31 yards (2.8 avg.) in preseason.
Brooks is the best tackler on Tampa Bay's defense, hands down. But he's coming off of a shaky performance against Jacksonville. Brooks was, however, playing with a bruised shoulder. Although Davis will run primarily to the strongside of the defense, where LB Al Singleton will be waiting, Brooks is one of the players the Bucs will depend on to hit the holes and gaps Davis is so well-known for breaking through. Brooks will not be alone in terms of stopping Davis. Both Brooks and his supporting cast have only allowed 83.5 rushing yards per game in the preseason.
DID YOU KNOW…
..The Redskins have scored an average of 36.6 points per game this preseason?
BRAD JOHNSON TRADE RUMOR PUT TO REST?:
Remember that rumor that surfaced during the Bucs-Dolphins scrimmages? You know, the one that suggested Bucs quarterback Brad Johnson could be traded to the Dolphins within a few weeks. Well, that rumor likely was put to rest when the Redskins traded QB Sage Rosenfels to Miami for an undisclosed draft pick. Rosenfels had completed 59 percent of his passes and thrown for 476 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Washington will start QB Danny Wuerffel on Saturday night. He has completed nearly 64 percent of his pass attempts and thrown for 395 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception.
SKINS' SILENT WEAPON:
Washington's receiving corps have been considered one of the team's weaknesses, but third-year WR Derrius Thompson has enjoyed his best preseason as a pro. The 6-foot-2, 216-pound Thompson has hauled in a team-and-league-high 16 passes for 307 yards. He's also caught four touchdowns. Thompson has played so well that he's replaced WR Jacquez Green in the Skins' starting lineup.
Marvin Lewis. Doesn't that name sound familiar? It should. During Tampa Bay's desperate search for a head coach, Bucs general manager Rich McKay came oh-so-close to hiring Lewis as Tony Dungy's replacement. But that move was spurned by Tampa Bay's owners at the last minute, which led to the trade for Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. During the offseason, Lewis publicly bashed the entire Tampa Bay franchise for his dismissal as a head-coaching candidate. Lewis' derogatory comments alone should provide the Bucs with all of the incentive they need on Saturday night.
"You know, he wanted that job [Tampa Bay] but it just didn't work out," said Washington head coach Steve Spurrier. "But it is all history now. You don't look back, you just move ahead. Marvin hasn't been really happy with how our defense played last week or even the week before. We got a lot of publicity during the offseason, about how great our defense was going to be. Even though the first guys have played fairly well, we certainly haven't been dominating. Hopefully, as a team we can play a little bit better defensively and play better offensively, too."
It's only preseason, but one might find these numbers interesting. The Bucs' defense has allowed just 10 points in two preseason games. Washington's defense has surrendered an average of 23.6 points per game in preseason. Don't think there's not bad blood that still exists between Lewis and the Bucs. There definitely is.
Do you remember wide receivers Jacquez Green and Reidel Anthony? How could anyone forget their production, or lack thereof in Tampa Bay? Well, both Green and Anthony were reunited with their former Florida Gator coach (Spurrier) during the offseason. Neither player has come close to playing as they did with Spurrier at Florida. Green has caught just two passes for 8 yards. Anthony has fared better than Green by hauling in six passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Green is also serving as Washington's primary punt returner.
Both Tampa Bay and Washington will be without one of its starting offensive linemen on Saturday night. The Bucs lost right guard Cosey Coleman (knee) just before the Miami game. He may or may not be ready to start when the Bucs open the regular season at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 8. Bucs C/G Todd Washington, who has been suffering through knee swelling of his own, will start in place of Coleman.
Washington will play without starting left tackle Chris Samuels. He is out 2-3 weeks with an ankle injury. Rod Jones has replaced Samuels.
NEW LOOK FOR SKINS:
The Redskins will sport their 70th Anniversary Season "retro" uniforms against Tampa Bay on Saturday night. Washington will wear the uniforms throughout the preseason and home regular season game this year. The uniforms feature the spear-and-feather helmet logo as well as jersey and pants colors that harken to the 1960s midpoint of Redskins history.
DON"T FORGET ABOUT THE DEFENSE:
So much has been made of Washington's explosive offense, but its defense has some players to beware of. Redskins defensive end Ladairis Jackson leads the team and is tied for the league-lead in sacks with four.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Visit the Washington Redskins' site and TheInsiders' Washington Redskin web site for more information on Tampa Bay's next opponent – the Washington Redskins.
BUCS HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN AND SKINS HEAD COACH STEVE SPURRIER SOUND OFF:
GRUDEN ON REDSKINS HEAD COACH STEVE SPURRIER:
"He's a great coach, as far as I'm concerned. He's won a lot more games in Florida than I have. The guy's won-loss record speaks for itself. I expect a lot of people to be excited to see him, and they should be. The guy laid it on the line and got a lot done at Florida. It will be an exciting time for me, but I look forward to competing with anybody. I don't care who's over there."
GRUDEN ON WASHINTON'S EXPLOSIVE OFFENSE:
"We've looked at them, and we're going to play defense like we always do. We're going to defend what we see on film and we're going to try to be ready for some of the unexpected things that a guy like Coach Spurrier prepares his team for. We feel like we're pretty good on defense, too."
GRUDEN ON SPURRIER COMING BACK TO TAMPA:
"This is not Super Bowl XXXVIII. He (Spurrier) is coming back and he is a legend here as far as I'm concerned. I expect everybody in Tampa and the Gator fans to be excited to see him here. At the same time, this is our third preseason game. That's all we're looking at."
SPURRIER ON COMING BACK TO TAMPA:
"We're 3-0, so the pressure is off as far as exhibition games [goes]. We're just trying to play well and trying to win, obviously. We're going to try and play well and try to play better, and I'm sure the Bucs have the same attitude. There are a lot of guys trying to make the team, and certainly for me, I hope we play well. Tampa [Raymond James Stadium] seems like Tampa Stadium, because it's still right next to the old Tampa Stadium and Hillsborough Community College is right across the street. I was reminiscing yesterday about walking across Dale Mabry to the ballgames when we coached the [Tampa Bay] Bandits and seeing the fans in the parking lot, and sometimes they would give us a cold drink after the game on the way across the street at night. It's a little different setting than that. I'm looking forward to the game and seeing a lot of old pals down there."
SPURRIER ON COACHING HIS LAST GAME WITH USFL'S TAMPA BAY BANDITS:
"It was certainly my first head coaching job with the Tampa Bay Bandits and I will forever be grateful to John Bassett for hiring an assistant coach at Duke University to be his head coach. It surprised a lot of people and certainly a lot of people did not give us much of a chance. I think we had the lowest paid players and the lowest paid coaches. We weren't considered to be much of a threat, but we had a good team. We had a lot of players that were just waiting for opportunities to play. [WR] Eric Truvillion, for an example, [WR] Willie Gillespie, [LB] Kelly Kirchbaum and [NT] Fred Nordgren, it was some good fun times there. I think our record at home was very good. I think we were 8-1 one year, 7-2 or 6-3 the other year. So playing in Tampa Stadium for the Bandits crowd was a lot of fun and we were successful doing that."
SPURRIER ON THE PLAY OF HIS WIDE RECEIVERS:
"At some point I have to stick up for my players here, my receivers and quarterbacks and the offensive linemen and that they are no good and the offense isn't worth a crap. At some point, it wears on you and you have to bark back a little bit, but that's history, that's history. These guys have done pretty damn well – Derrius Thompson, Chris Doering, Darnerien McCants and I'm sort of proud of how these guys have played. So, I am going take up for them and I know the critics are always going to be there, which is a part of the game and I probably should not respond to them, but it just got to the point the other day where I felt like if somebody is going to criticize us, it is not going to be after we scored 35 points and thrown for 400 yards and had 30 first downs. I mean, if you really clobber us, which is going to happen. I know we are going to get clobbered and I know we are not going to drive 80 and 90 yards to score often. So anyway, I will try and not respond to all the critics. I usually don't, but at some point you have to stick up for your players."
SPURRIER ON THE QB ROTATION FOR SATURDAY NIGHT:
"Danny (Wuerffel) and Shane (Matthews) are scheduled to play most of it. Danny, the first half and maybe Shane the second half, and we will see from there."
SPURRIER ON THE ATTENTION HIS 3-0 TEAM HAS RECEIVED THIS PRESEASON:
"Well, obviously we have scored a lot of points and I don't know. If you want to avoid attention, don't score a lot of points, so we try to score a lot of points. We have been fortunate, some of the plays, the jump balls. Shane [Matthews] looked like he was throwing it away the other night and Chris Doering leaped in the back of the end zone and out jumped their little defensive back, but everything has not been the way you draw it up, but we have made some plays, somehow or another. Anyway, if you score a lot of points, they are going to talk about you – good or bad. Some talk good and some talk bad. They think we are just trying to score a whole bunch in exhibition [games], but that is just the way we play. You guys have watched us play, we try and score, and I'm not apologizing for trying to score throughout the game and we don't call timeout at the end and chuck it in the end zone. What was sort of interesting the other night was, we got ahead 35-34 and got the ball back and we are trying to run the clock out. And even one of our own Redskin people thought we may chuck the ball in the back of our end zone with a one point lead. We don't do those kinds of things, and we managed to run out the clock. Anyway, that is just the way we play."
SPURRIER ON TAMPA BAY'S DEFENSE:
"I've been watching those Buc guys for 12 years and I've been watching Warren [Sapp] for seven years. I'm watching a little more closely this week but fortunately, we don't have to play these guys in the regular season. We're hoping to move the ball and score a little bit on them [the Bucs' defense]. They didn't give up any last week and Miami got 10, so there average now is five. We know it's going to be a struggle to get some points against that defense."
SPURRIER ON GRUDEN'S OFFENSE:
"I never really watched his [offense] a whole lot. Obviously, it has been very successful over the years. He probably has more movement, guys going in motion and doing more things than we've done. Although, we're trying to get a little bit more movement and a little more formations, because you have all day to coach them in the NFL. Whereas in college, if we could just get our guys set before the ball was snapped we were pretty happy."
Let's get something straight – this is not going to be "just another preseason game". There is some bad blood between these two teams. Spurrier vs. Gruden -- Lewis vs. Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin -- Gruden vs. Lewis -- Spurrier vs. Kiffin, etc. But in the end, it's the Bucs vs. the Redskins. This should be a great matchup.
Washington has been able to score a lot of points (110) throughout the preseason and Tampa Bay hasn't given up a lot of them (10), so something's got to give, right? Kiffin was as animated as ever at practice this week. He wants his unit to shutdown Spurrier's Fun-n-Gun offense badly.
Gruden probably will play his starters for at least the first half of Saturday night's game. They may go a little longer than that. Tampa Bay's secondary will have its work cut out against Spurrier's pass-happy offense. But stopping the Skins' running game will be a necessity. If the Bucs can make Spurrier's offense one-dimensional, they'll be able to blitz the quarterback more and create some turnovers.
Tampa Bay will have to establish the running game early. Washington has a very solid secondary, but its linebackers corps are even better, which will make it difficult for Bucs RB Michael Pittman and Co. do be productive in the running game and/or the passing game in the flat. Tampa Bay will have to work around Washington's starting linebacker corps -- middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and outside linebackers Jessie Armstead and LaVar Arrington This trio might be the best in the league, on paper.
For as much attention as the offenses and defenses have received, don't forget about the special teams units for both the Bucs and the Skins. Washington PR Jacquez Green is a speedster and can do some major damage if he's able to get into the open field. Washington kick return man Robert Gillespie has stood out on special teams in preseason. He has six returns for 146 yards for a 24.3 average. This might be Tampa Bay PR Aaron Lockett' last chance to show he can return punts in the pros. The Bucs have a kickoff return man, too, in Frank Murphy, who opened the preseason with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Miami.
Spurrier has a bigger ego, but Gruden's offense will have a bigger night against Lewis' defense.
FLYNN'S PICK Buccaneers 30 Redskins 20
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