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Redskins (0-0) vs. Tampa Bay (0-0)


The Washington Redskins are set to kick off the 2004 campaign and welcome head coach Joe Gibbs back to Washington as they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedExField this week.

After a successful preseason, a hardnosed training camp at Redskins Park, an offseason spent loading talent to the roster and staff and the re-acquisition of the most successful coach in Redskins history, the Redskins organization and their fans are ready to get the regular season started.

The Redskins are coming off a 27-0 victory over Atlanta that served as a closure to the 2004 preseason, with the Redskins finishing 3-2 and confident about the development of the team throughout mini-camps, training camp and the preseason games.

The Redskins offense finished the exhibition campaign allowing the fewest sacks in the NFL and rookie Sean Taylor led the league with three interceptions.

"I was real proud of our guys," said Coach Gibbs following the victory over Atlanta. "We came back this week and I think we were real solid. The offense did some good things and so did the defense as well as special teams.

"Now we start for real and it will take every one of us, every person, every fan from here on out. We know it's going to be hard every single week and we start off [this week] vs. Tampa. We think they have a great team and all of our focus is looking forward to that."

Gibbs rejoined the Redskins in January and returns to the playing field after 12 seasons. The offseason has been a busy one for Coach Gibbs and his staff, spending extensive time getting ready for the 2004 season both on the practice fields at Redskins Park and in the meeting rooms.

Gibbs, who coached the team from 1981 to 1992, turned the Redskins into an NFL dynasty during his first tenure. He led the Redskins to four Super Bowls--winnning three titles--and accumulated a 124-60 record during regular season play and an amazing 16-5 postseason record.

Quarterback Mark Brunell, with a career record of 63-54 as a starter, takes the reins for the Redskins offense after winning the job over Patrick Ramsey during a preseason competition.

The offense is loaded with Pro Bowl tandem Clinton Portis and Laveranues Coles at the ready. Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington is poised for another stellar season and will get help from Redskins first-round draft pick Taylor and new acquisitions Marcus Washington, Cornelius Griffin, Phillip Daniels, Shawn Springs and a solid core of returning Redskins on defense.

But most of the attention will be on Coach Gibbs as he attempts to return the Redskins to prominence.

Asked if he was excited about this Sunday's game, Gibbs said: "Excited is not a good word for it. You are concerned about it, you are worried about it, you realize what is at stake and you want to get off to a good start. All of those things--and you know what you are up against with Tampa Bay and their reputation.

"I think everybody can figure out what you are feeling. There is a lot of apprehension. You just have to live your way through it and we'll see how we pla

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