[2014] Week 11 [preview] Bucs @ Redskins

It seems the Redskins have been the Buccaneers football doppelganger the last few years. Both are like that ex that used to love to bring you up just to let you down… repeatedly. It was fun for them. This season has not been any different. Both teams brought in guru head coaches to turn things around, have been playing quarterback carousel and are below .500. Because of both teams’ bad records for the last ten years and the way the NFL schedules games, we have matched up against each other 10 times in the last 14 seasons (including this year). At present, the Buccaneers are on top with five wins to the Redskins’ four. Matchup #10 could even it up. Despite the Redskins quarterback issues, they are much improved from the 2013 team.

Buccaneers Offense against Redskins Defense

The Redskins defense is not the wet paper towel it was in 2013, despite retaining the same defensive coaching staff even after ousting Head Coach Mike Shanahan. Former Bucs Head Coach Raheem Morris is still there as Defensive Backs Coach. Unfortunately for us, The Raheem Morris School of Tackling is not. Arm tackles and launches that sail two feet to either side of a runner are a thing of the past for the Redskins. Defenders fly through the air on this defense – and they connect. And you can almost always count on more than one defender being in on the tackle. In general, this defense has a keen ball awareness.

As painful as this may be to hear, the secondary, coached by Morris, is this team’s strength. CB Bashaud Breeland (#26), who won the starting job by default due to CB DeAngelo Hall (#23) tearing his Achilles, is a large reason for that. I do not want to go into too much detail here because he is the focus of this article’s Spotlight, but count on him being all over the field.

Its defensive line is competent, but not extremely intimidating. A sack or two is not out of the question for this line going up against the Bucs improving offensive line.

This defense’s weakness is its run stopping, where they are particularly vulnerable on the ends of the line. Minnesota had success against them with their short passes behind the line of scrimmage. The linebackers are to blame for this. However, they are by no means bad and are strong in other areas like ball awareness and tackling.

Buccaneers Defense against Redskins Offense

Despite losing last week to the Falcons, our defense is much improved. As a unit they are playing much better and are much more cohesive than they were earlier in the season. Even still, this Redskins offense will keep them on their toes.

After playing quarterback roulette for the last few weeks, starting QB Robert Griffin III (#10) is back. Griffin is known to be a running threat but is only two weeks removed from injury. The team was cautious with him last week against the Vikings, limiting the number of trick plays the offense ran. Backup QB Colt McCoy (#16) ran more trick plays in his absence than RGIII did upon his return. Given RGIII’s injury problems, the team may continue to reign in his legs. That is not to say the run threat he presents has been eliminated. While the coaching staff may want to limit RGIII’s running, that is not to say once the play is in motion his instincts won’t kick in. Our linebackers have to be wary of this ability. Hopefully ballhawk LB Lavonte David (#54) will be in top form as he would be perfect at containing Griffin.

However, the linebackers may be too busy trying to wrangle RB Alfred Morris (#46) in to account for Griffin. Morris is easily a top ten running back. Not only is he shifty and capable of juking out defenders, but he is not afraid of contact and adept at running through tacklers. Gang tackling him is surely going to be the best way to manage him. Backup RB Roy Helu, Jr. (#29) is also a threat. We will surely have our hands full.

Washington is absolutely a run-first team. They use their deep threat sparingly, chunking 20+ yard passes down field into double coverage to WRs DeSean Jackson (#11) and Pierre Garcon (#88)¬†several times per game. Both stud receivers are dangerous in that situation and I would not be surprised if we got burned for two or more touchdowns in that fashion. Our only hope in those situations is that RGIII’s throw is inaccurate (which does happen quite frequently).

Spotlight: CB Bashaud Breeland versus the Tampa Towers

Look for #26 today during the game. He will not be hard to find. He reminds me of Lavonte David–he is in almost every play and making plans that make you go “Daaamn.” He flies around the field, bats down passes, makes interceptions. Really, he does it all. And he is a rookie.

Upon drafting WR Mike Evans (#13) in the first round this year, Tampa fans were excited about the prospect of two large receivers adept at catching the jump ball. Thus far this season, they had been absent. Until last game. Upon analyzing last week’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, this organization’s Ralph Cummings tells me all of our good plays on offense came at the hands of Evans and WR Vincent Jackson (#83). The Tampa Towers have arrived. Maybe.

So when I began watching game film on the Redskins for this week’s preview, I was excited about the matchup between this rookie cornerback and our new found spark on offense. Veteran VJax will probably be able to handle Breeland as this isn’t his first rodeo up against a stud defensive back. Evans might not be so lucky. Either way, it should be a good show. After all, Breeland can only cover one of them at once.

Conclusion

This next game is our last winnable game in a season that has already been chalked up as a wash. We could go 2-14. Here’s how:

  • Run the ball to the outside of the defensive line.
  • Pay close attention to RB Alfred Morris (#46) without also losing sight of QB Robert Griffin III (#10). Our linebackers will have their work cut out for them.
  • Double covering stud receivers DeSean Jackson (#11) and Pierre ¬†Garcon (#88) is almost surely futile, but should not be neglected.
  • CB Bashaud Breeland (#26) may shut down some of our passing game. We do have two stud receivers and there is only one of him, so we have that going for us.

Go Bucs!

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