Analyze This: Bucs vs. Skins

Tampa Bay 35, Washington 13<br> The Redskins started off strong, dominating the first quarter. Unfortunately they had little to show for it, save some nice stats. The Bucs ended the game in dominating fashion. And they had a lot to show for it, sending Washington to its second straight defeat.

What's going on here: With the protection. One Redskin said afterward that it sometimes seems as if Steve Spurrier still thinks he's facing college defensive lines, where maybe one guy poses trouble. Here, everyone does. And that seems to be how Simeon Rice was often not blocked by left tackle Chris Samuels, who in one instance was part of a triple team on Warren Sapp while Rice was left one on one with tight end Robert Royal. Can you say mismatch? Rice did as he sacked quarterback Patrick Ramsey. Royal has been assigned top rushers in the past, such as New York's Michael Strahan. Other times Rice was left facing a back, sometimes two of them. On one instance, rookie Derrick Dockery was supposed to pull and help out the backs. But he forgot to pull and Rice got a sack. The coaches can blame the players all they want, but it's becoming clear that the schemes share a big part of the blame.

Confusion: The Redskins' linebackers are so intent on making plays that they often give up big ones. Which is how Tampa Bay scored on that little bootleg time and time again. Once, linebacker Jessie Armstead blitzed from the left side and the safety on that side, Ifeanyi Ohalete flew madly to his right following the play fake. Then quarterback Brad Johnson rolled back that way and hit tight end Todd Yoder in the right flat. Corner Champ Bailey was the only defender in the area and he was occupied with receiver Keenan McCardell. Yoder had an easy 11-yard touchdown. At some point someone needs to make an adjustment. Again, we question the coaches as much as the players.

Maybe Marvin Lewis had a point: It dawned on some of us after the game why former defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis might have put LaVar Arrington at end in pass-rush situations. Maybe it was to keep him from screwing up coverages, as he routinely does. Arrington makes lots of flashy plays, but it's the little ones he doesn't make that will prevent him from reaching the level of Derrick Brooks. Read between the lines of some of the Bucs' quotes in the quotable section and you'll know who they're mostly talking about.

More than expected: Newly-signed tight end Byron Chamberlain played more than anticipated because of the injury to Robert Royal. Chamberlain caught three passes for 23 yards, but looked slow and out of shape. Once he drops another 10 pounds he could be a big help.

Uh-oh: If corner Fred Smoot misses any time, look out. Second-year corner Rashad Bauman is not the answer. He's shorter than his listed height of 5-foot-8 and is still learning the game. Though he's fast, he doesn't break on the ball as quickly as others. And his presence is why Washington went to zone coverage in the second half, which the Bucs picked apart.

Quitting time: Redskins coach Steve Spurrier surrendered with 6:55 left in the game when he subbed Rob Johnson for Ramsey. Spurrier said Ramsey had taken enough of a pounding. Apparently, Spurrier did not see Indy's comeback against the Bucs. Then again, Ramsey had been hit very hard all day and no one sensed that this was still a game. Not even close.

Getting untracked: Kick returner Chad Morton, who averaged 29.5 yards on two returns while Ladell Betts ran one back 26 yards. It helped on one that Morton started up the middle, got behind his wall, then burst to the outside. He trusted his blockers then found an opening.

Special day: The special teams in general were very good, maybe the best they've been all year. One subtle change helped, albeit just a little: linebacker Lemar Marshall was active for the first time and played on coverage and in the blocking units. The Redskins' coverage and blocking units are smaller than the norm so having another linebacker helped. It helped that Spurrier kept only four wideouts active, making room for Marshall. It's ridiculous that he's kept five active, barely using the fifth (and not playing him on special teams).

Dumb plays: The Redskins again committed a bunch of penalties, this time nine for 72 yards with the obligatory 15-yard killers. One came on end Regan Upshaw for a late hit -- he had time to pull up -- and another came on Arrington for hitting a back too far out of bounds. It also was unnecessary. And costly.

Hurting: Running back Trung Canidate suffered a mild high ankle sprain. Usuallly these injuries are hard to shake and keep a player out for 4-6 weeks. But Canidate's is only a mild sprain, giving him a chance to return sooner. Considering Buffalo's weakness on the edges, he'd be a big help Sunday. Tight end Robert Royal will undergo an MRI today to determine the severity of his hip injury. Meanwhile, guard Dave Fiore hopes to play again this week but that's what he's said the past three weeks and hasn't played. His knee bothers him after practicing for just a few days and he's even considered surgery, which he has ruled out. For now.


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