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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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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Award Tour: JP & Tandler select Redskins Offensive Player of the Year

Award Tour: JP & Tandler select Redskins Offensive Player of the Year

With the 2017 offseason about to kick into high gear, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler are going to take one last look at 2016 in the coming days. That’s right, it’s time to hand out awards for Coach of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.

We’ve picked our top coaches and the Special Teams. and defensive POY’s. Today we select the Offensive Player of the Year.

Tandler: I don’t see any need to overthink this. The Redskins set a team record for total offensive yards in a season and it was mostly due to the play of Kirk Cousins. He shattered his own team records in nearly every major passing stat. He was a steady hand as the line underwent some turmoil with the suspension of Trent Williams and injury situations. His primary running backs were a fumble-prone second-year player and an undrafted rookie. The team’s best pass catcher, tight end Jordan Reed, missed four games with injuries and he was obviously hampered by a shoulder injury in a few others. Cousins did slump towards the end of the season and the interception he threw late in the season finale killed off the Redskins’ playoff chances. But he was the one primarily responsible for the team posting winning record in consecutive seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: I kinda wanted to overthink this but Tandler yelled at me. DeSean Jackson was arguably the Redskins best threat, and Pierre Garçon was the most dependable player on the team. Jordan Reed showed how great he can be, but injuries limited his performance. In the end, the award goes to Kirk Cousins. It has to. The guy nearly threw for 5,000 yards and he broke his own passing record that he set last season. What happens before the March 1 franchise deadline not withstanding, Cousins was the 'Skins best offensive player in 2016.

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