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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.