Redskins can’t overlook the Buccaneers

Redskins Personnel Washington Commanders

It’s easy to see why some in the media and much of the Redskins fanbase is already chalking this game on Sunday up as a win. The Redskins have played better over the last three games, beating the Titans and Cowboys and playing the Vikings close. The Redskins are also coming off a bye, playing at home where they’ve been much better this season (with the exception of the Giants game). Tampa Bay on the other hand has lost 5 straight games and are struggling both on offense and defense. It is easy to think that this game is “in the bag” and the Redskins will improve to 4-6 after Sunday, but the Redskins can’t afford to get ahead of themselves and count this as a win just yet.

The Buccaneers may be 1-8 and rank in the 20’s in just about every major offensive and defensive category, but they’ve been fairly competitive this season. With the exception of two blowout losses to the Falcons and Ravens, they have had a chance in every other game. even this past week versus the Falcons the Buccaneers took a 17-16 lead in the 4th quarter, but they weren’t able to hang on. This is not a team that will just give up if they get down early or have some struggles. There are two areas on the Buccaneers where they could really give the Redskins trouble on Sunday, and if the Redskins allow those areas to be an issue this game could go poorly for the Redskins.

The first area of concern is the Buccaneers defensive front, most notably star DT Gerald McCoy. McCoy is one of the best interior pass rushers in the league and an absolute dominant force in the middle of that Buccaneers defense. He has lived in opposing backfields this year and will disrupt a number of plays each game. He’ll be facing G Shawn Lauvao who has struggled mightily in his first year in Washington. McCoy is a tough match-up for All-pro guards, so a weaker guard like Lauvao represents a massive mismatch. Even if the Redskins commit to double-teaming McCoy there is no guarantee that will stop him. Robert Griffin III has struggled the most throughout his career when he faces interior pressure on a consistent level. If McCoy can’t be contained it could cause major headaches for the Redskins. McCoy is listed as questionable for this game, but he’s fully expected to play.

Another key player on the Buccaneers defensive front that could cause the Redskins issues is DE Michael Johnson. Johnson was a major free agent signing from the Bengals this past offseason, and has been a disappointment so far for Tampa. He’s missed some time due to injury and is listed as questionable this week. If he does play though he’s someone the Redskins have to be aware of. Johnson is a talented pass rusher, and when he was on the Bengals in 2012 he had a monster game with 4 sacks. Now Trent Williams missed most of that game due to injury, but he’s less than 100% right now so he could be exploitable. Johnson (and the Bengals in general) played the read option perfectly that game and ground the Redskins offense to a halt. If Johnson can go and is relatively healthy he could pose a significant problem if the Redskins are hoping to use more read option.

The other issue that the Redskins need to concern themselves with is how to match-up with the Buccaneers talented pass catchers. Rookie Mike Evans has really started to break out these past few weeks and he has teamed up with Vincent Jackson to give the Buccaneers a pair of big, physical, fast receivers that are match-up nightmares. Going against the Redskins secondary they have the potential to have a massive impact. Though rookie corner Bashaud Breeland has played much better over the past couple of weeks, he’s still made some mistakes and if you make mistakes versus this pair of receivers they will make you pay. On the other side David Amerson has had an up and down season and has struggled to play consistently. He has the length to match-up with these receivers, but he hasn’t shown he can be physical enough to slow them down. If Evans and Jackson weren’t bad enough a third match-up nightmare is emerging in the Buccaneers passing game. Rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins has started to become more involved in the Buccaneers passing offense, and at 6’6″, 260 lbs, he’s a mismatch regardless of who the Redskins try to cover him with.

The key to stopping the Buccaneers weapons is going to be the pass rush. If Josh McNown has time in the pocket those receivers/tight ends will get open and beat the Redskins weak secondary. The only hope for the Redskins is to try to get enough pressure on McNown that he will make some mistakes and not be able to connect with his receivers.

Related Articles

Who will Washington draft in the First Round? The tea leaves say it’s Ohio State WR Chris Olave

For now, assume Washington will at least kick the tires on whichever top quarterback prospect is available. Keep…

Read More about Who will Washington draft in the First Round? The tea leaves say it’s Ohio State WR Chris Olave

The Commanders have few options for a veteran QB trade

Ron Rivera has made it abundantly clear that his number 1 priority this offseason is to upgrade the…

Read More about The Commanders have few options for a veteran QB trade