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GameBlog vs. Bucs--Pregame

GameBlog vs. Bucs--Pregame

You can reach me by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

Like many NFL teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put out a large book of information for use by the media in preparation for their coverage of each game. The one for this week’s game against the Redskins is about 200 pages of 8.5 X 11 paper, spiral bound and packed with data—stats, player and coach profiles and the like.

Some of the stats are interesting, some not so much. Under “Team Notes” you can find out, for example, that Joey Galloway is tied for the lead among NFL receivers for the most touchdown receptions since December 5, 2004. He and Marvin Harrison each have 11 TD catches in that time span. Drew Bennett and Chad Johnson are right on their heels for this coveted record with 10 each. I can just seen it now—Galloway catches a touchdown pass, the game stops, fireworks go off and the scoreboard flashes the word that Galloway is now in sole possession of first place for touchdown catches since 12/5/04. The ball immediately is shipped off to Canton, Ohio.

Right below that, you discover that Jon Gruden has coached 10 receivers who have amassed 500 or more career catches. You might think, wow, ol’ Chucky has a way with wideouts. That’s until you read on and find out that the list of 10 includes the likes of Art Monk, who (much to the chagrin of many) played his last games in an Eagle uniform in 1995, when Gruden was the offensive coordinator. Monk got the last six of his 940 career catches in three games under Gruden’s watch so that “counts” as one of his 10. So does Jerry Rice, who at least had the whole 2001 season with Gruden.

Back to Galloway--who just joined Gruden’s 500 club—he’s the one Buc who scares you offensively. With their unproductive running game and an inexperienced Chris Simms at quarterback, Tampa Bay is unlikely to be able to crank out many long drives. However, the bugaboo of the Washington defense is giving up the long play (recall Philly’s lone TD last week) and that’s Galloway’s specialty. He has TD catches of 78 and 50 yards in the past two weeks. The big fear is that the Redskins will play exactly the kind of game they want for 55 minutes, lead by six and then see Simms and Galloway catch lighting in a bottle for the third week in a row and the Bucs will steal a win.

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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