Keim's Game Preview: Redskins vs. Bucs

John Keim scouts the Bucs and gives you the keys to the game.

Beware: Receiver Joey Galloway. He's healthy and it shows in the number of big plays he's made this season. Galloway is fast and strong. He'd developed a reputation the past few years of not wanting to go over the middle, but he's doing something right this season. And he owes his healthier season to improved training. Galloway cut down on the amount of running he did this summer and in practice, reducing the chance of hamstring injuries.

Also beware: End Greg Spires. He's opposite Simeon Rice and, though he's not a big sack guy, he's a more than effective player. Spires can play the run and the pass well and is a hard worker.

Take advantage of: Right tackle Kenyatta Walker. He's coming off a week in which he had three false start penalties -- at home! That's horrendous. And he's never lived up to his billing. End Renaldo Wynn only needs to collapse the pocket against him. If they can pressure Chris Simms, it doesn't matter whether or not he gets sacked. In some ways it's better if he doesn't because then he could make an errant throw.

And also: the entire Bucs' line. Heck, their offense. Carolina abused them in one-on-one situations last week. The Redskins do not have a similar pass rush, but they do have players capable of winning individual battles. If Todd Steussie has to play left tackle, the Redskins should take advantage. But the Bucs also had problems up the middle. Washington likely will use a variety of blitzes to confuse Simms, which shouldn't be too hard based on his inexperience.

Bad sign: Both DT Cornelius Griffin and FS Sean Taylor are listed as questionable and did not practice Friday. Griffin has been questionable all week and, in all honesty, is not expected to play. But Taylor was listed as probable until Friday. But the Redskins have experienced safeties and it's not as if Taylor has been changing games and making huge plays.

Good sign: When the T.O. stuff came up, some players were adamant they wouldn't want him on this roster. Why? Because the chemistry is exceptional. That doesn't mean all the players love each other. But it does mean they respect one another and enjoy playing together. Good teams have that attitude.

Changed approach: The Bucs have small, fast linebackers. That usually means trouble for teams that like to run stretch plays like the Redskins do with Portis. Of course, that's not all they like to run and prefer the power attack. This is a week for such a tactic. Or the Redskins could run over the tackles, who have distinct size advantages.

And another thing: Quit turning the ball over on the road. The Redskins have turned it over 10 times on the road for a minus-9 differential. You can't keep winning that way. If that doesn't change, a potentially good season will soon slide backwards. I think it will change.

Matchup to watch: RE Simeon Rice vs. LT Chris Samuels. They've battled often to mixed results. But Samuels has had problems against Rice, who is fast and has long arms, a huge advantage when it comes to gaining leverage. Rice has five sacks this season.

Another matchup: CB Ronde Barber vs. Santana Moss. The two have never faced each other as Moss has never played the Bucs. Barber is an all-around talent; he covers well and he's physical. He's been a perfect fit in the Bucs' cover-2 approach.

Renewed emphasis: On tackling, at least for corner Walt Harris. Don't worry, the coaches saw how many tackles he missed last week. And even though they didn't wear pads most of the week, they still worked on this area. Harris is better than what he showed last week, though he is inconsistent. He'll play well some games, then the next he's backing off receivers or missing tackles.

Added incentive: RT Jon Jansen soon will have an extra mouth to feed. His wife is pregnant with their first child (a girl due Feb. 5th). No word yet if he'll make the same mistake as his parents and let her go to Michigan, too.

Prediction: Tampa Bay is a desperate team playing at home. That oftentimes equates to success. But there's a reason the Bucs have lost two straight, to San Francisco and at home to Carolina. They have a terrific defense, yes, but their offense stinks with Simms. He's young and poses little threat to defenses. The Redskins need to pressure him so he doesn't get comfortable. And without a healthy Cadillac Williams, the Bucs lack a consistent ground game. The Redskins are a more balanced team. They'll cut down on their silly road mistakes and will prove themselves a legit contender with a good road win. Redskins 17, Bucs 10.


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