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ESPN Insider:Scouts Inc: Take 2: Buccaneers vs. Redskins


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Scouts Inc.

Take 2: Buccaneers vs. Redskins

Buccaneers at Redskins

ESPN.com Game Preview

Our scouts take a second look at this week's matchup between the Buccaneers and Redskins. For their complete scouting report, check out the initial breakdown.

With Washington defensive coordinator Gregg Williams frequently bringing OLBs LaVar Arrington and Marcus Washington off the edge, Tampa Bay's backs will play a big role in pass protection. It's critical they attack the line of scrimmage when they read the blitz because they must give QB Brad Johnson enough room to step into his throws. Otherwise, Johnson won't get great velocity on his passes and the Redskins could come up with some critical turnovers. The backs must be aware of corners coming off the edge. The ability of Arrington and Washington to drop into coverage allows Williams to blitz his corners at times.

Washington feels it could have an uncommon advantage in this game. While all NFL coaches are careful not to reveal their entire playbook during the preseason, opponents are still fairly aware of what that team is going to do when the regular season starts. Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden, for example, is going to run a heavy version of the West Coast offense predicated on a short passing game. Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, however, has been out of coaching for so long that teams will have to watch film from 10-15 years ago to get an idea of Gibbs' tendencies on offense and defense. Gibbs has never been afraid to adjust his schemes in the past, and he is certain to have thrown in his fair share of wrinkles since retuning to coaching.

Washington assistant head coach Joe Bugel is an outstanding offensive line coach. The Redskins gave up just three sacks during the preseason, the fewest in the league. Washington lost one of the best run blockers in the league and a consistent pass protector when ROT Jon Jansen sustained a season-ending Achilles injury. While Jansen's replacement Kenyatta Jones isn't on the same level as Jansen talent-wise, Bugel will have this unit working well together and that hides a lot of individual weaknesses.

One of the aspects of Tampa Bay's defense that concerns Bugel is its speed at linebacker and the ability of his line to reach blocks at the second level. Washington's front five will have to take excellent angles to blocks this week or the Buccaneers' rangy linebackers will consistently beat them to the spot. The line will benefit from having RB Clinton Portis in the backfield, as he excels at setting up his blocks.

The Buccaneers were the eighth-most penalized team in the league last year, and they were nailed for 129 yards in their first preseason game. As a result, Tampa Bay now practices with officials present; the approach should help limit the mistakes it makes this week.

The Buccaneers are expected to start Tim Brown opposite Joey Galloway, making rookie Michael Clayton the No. 3. Look for Washington to cover Clayton with either DC Fred Smoot or Shawn Springs, with Springs the more likely of the two, when he comes into the game. Brown no longer has the speed to make the big-play downfield, so the Redskins should feel comfortable with nickel back Ralph Brown covering him.

Special Teams

Tampa Bay PK Martin Gramatica connected on just 6 of 10 field-goal attempts during the preseason. While all four misses came from beyond 40 yards, Gramatica is coming off a terrible 2003 and the Bucs had hoped he'd bounce back with a strong preseason. Washington PK John Hall has looked strong, connecting on all four of his field-goal attempts in the preseason.

Redskins RS Chad Morton has retuned three kickoffs for touchdowns over the past two years and will be working against a Tampa Bay kickoff cover unit that finished in the bottom half of the league last year. Although the Buccaneers believe they have improved in this area, Morton will put them to the test and he is capable of exploiting any weaknesses or breakdowns.


1. Washington RB Clinton Portis vs. Tampa Bay WLB Derrick Brooks

2. Washington LOT Chris Samuels vs. Tampa Bay RDE Simeon Rice

3. Tampa Bay QB Brad Johnson vs. Washington FS Sean Taylor

4. Tampa Bay RB Charlie Garner vs. Washington WLB LaVar

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