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Bold Predictions Redskins vs. Bucs

Bold Predictions Redskins vs. Bucs

Bold Predictions Redskins vs Bucs

There just isn’t much sizzle here.

The first time these two teams met on October 9, 1977, the two teams combined for nine fumbles, eight turnovers and 14 penalties. The Redskins won this excruciatingly boring affair 10-0 and even Billy Kilmer, the winning quarterback complained afterward that the game was dull and that his team made too many mistakes.

That set the tone for the series. They have played 13 times and none of the games are memorable. There was that game in 1982 right before the strike that the Redskins won on a Curtis Jordan punt block, but had it not been pouring rain to the point that water was cascading down the stairs at the Big Sombrero, a scene that NFL Films captured masterfully, that game would never get a second thought. I suppose you could call the Redskins’ 14-13 playoff loss following the 1999 season somewhat noteworthy, but it’s most memorable for a botched play, a bad snap on a potential game-winning field goal attempt (Brian Mitchell’s playoff-record 100-yard kickoff return notwithstanding). The next year the teams went into overtime at FedEx Field, but the Skins won that game when Deion Sanders set up a field goal with a 57-yard punt return and most of us would rather forget he ever played in the Burgundy and Gold.

With no real rivalry, with no particular reason to dislike the Bucs based on any historical events, we are forced to deal with the here and now. And there is plenty there.

Both teams are 5-3, which right now is if-the-season-ended-today Wild Card position. The first tiebreaker, of course, is head to head so the winner of this game essentially gains two games’ worth of advantage over the loser. Making up those two games over the course of the seven remaining contests is a pretty tall order. It’s not a must-win for both teams, but it’s as close as you get to one at the start of the second half of the season.

Tampa Bay has a balanced offense; the Bucs can’t run or pass very well. They’re 21st in the NFL in total yards gained, 16th rushing and 21st passing. Their rankings have plunged due to two key injuries. The one to running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams slowed down the rookie, who had the best start of any NFL running back ever with 434 yards in his first three games. He has gained just 162 yards in the ensuing five games, two of which he missed with a foot injury. Still, he’s better off than starting QB Brian Griese who went out for the season in Week Six with a knee injury.

Williams is now fairly healthy but he’s coming off of consecutive games in which he has gained combined 49 yards on 24 carries. It’s not all his fault. Griese’s replacement, second-year player Chris Simms, has been less than stellar and if you can’t pass you get the eight in the box that the Redskins saw so much of last year and it’s hard to run.

On the other side of the ball, it’s hard to do anything against the Tampa defense. That unit has been that team’s bell cow for the last decade or so and this year is no exception as they are ranked #1 in the NFL. Former stalwarts like John Lynch and Warren Sapp have moved on, but there’s still linebacker Derrick Brooks, cornerback Ronde Barber, and defensive end Simeon Rice to contend with.

Despite that great D, the Bucs have lost three out of four since a 4-0 start. Included in that skid are losses to a couple of certified dogs, the 49ers and the Jets. Saying that there in a bit of a slump is like saying that Terrell Owens has a bit of a mouth.

For their part, the Redskins are playing better, but they’re not exactly tearing it up either. They’ve lost three out of five. One of the wins was over one of those mutts, San Francisco, and they had a real dog of a game in New York.

Still, you get the sense that these are two teams headed in opposite directions. The Redskins aren’t world-beaters but, as noted above, you don’t have to be to get a W over Tampa Bay. Washington has a pretty decent defense itself and the Buccaneer offense will struggle to get over 13 points or so. On offense, Clinton Portis won’t rack up much yardage barring a big run like he got against Tampa Bay in last year’s opener. I get a feeling that David Patten will play a key role as the Bucs aren’t going to let Santana Moss beat them. Regardless, the Redskins won’t score much, but they will score enough. They’ll claim their fourth win of the season in games that they score fewer than 20 points:

Redskins 17, Bucs 10.

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 17, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The best Redskins players 25 or younger

Here is a look at the best Redskins players who have played at least one season and will be 25 or younger as of Week 1 this year. 

WR Jamison Crowder, 25 as of Week 1—Crowder hit the ground running in his first year, with 59 receptions, a team rookie record, and gaining 604 yards. He has been very dependable in his three years, averaging 64 catches, 747 yards, and four receiving touchdowns per year. 

OLB Preston Smith, 25—Since he came into the league, no player but Smith has at least 20.5 sacks, three or more interceptions, and four or more forced fumbles. His sack numbers tend to be up and down from week to week, but Jay Gruden has said more than once that Smith is very consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback even if he doesn’t always get home for the sack. 

DL Matt Ioannidis, 24—A year ago it was thought that he would face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Now goes into the season as a starter and key contributor. The 2016 fifth-round pick got much stronger between his first and second seasons and he took well to the coaching of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Only a broken hand that cost him two games and had him playing with an awkward cast for a few more kept him from threatening to make double-digit sacks. 

DL Jonathan Allen, 23—The Redskins were just starting to get a hint of what Allen could do early in the season. Pro Football Focus credited him with a total of three sacks in the Redskins third and fourth games. But in their fifth game, he suffered a foot injury that ended his season. Allen was a full go for the offseason program and there is no reason to think that he won’t pick back up right where he left off. 

S Montae Nicholson, 22—Like Allen, Nicholson’s rookie season was shortened due to injuries. He took advantage of the absence of anticipated starter Su’a Cravens and made an impact from the beginning. While the 2017 fourth-round pick and free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger were in the lineup the decade-long struggles the Redskins have had at the safety position were suddenly gone. 

Best of the rest: WR Josh Doctson (25), C Chase Roullier (25)

It should be noted that DL Daron Payne turned 21 in May and RB Derrius Guice will the 21 later this month so they could be joining this list soon. Assuming those two start, the Redskins will have nine quality starters aged 25 or younger this year. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 39
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 53
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 76

The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 84 days. 

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