Redskins – Buccaneers injury report as of late Saturday evening:
Washington Redskins: CB Cedric Griffin is OUT; WR/PR Brandon Banks, WR Pierre Garçon, T Trent Williams are QUESTIONABLE; WR Leonard Hankerson, S Brandon Meriweather, RB Evan Royster are probable
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Anthony Gaitor is OUT; CB EJ Biggers, CB Leonard Johnson, G Carl Nicks, LB Dekoda Watson are PROBABLE
Hear Redskins Hog Heaven's game commentary during the game thanks to the techno-magic of Let Me hear Ya. Follow the link to my profile page and click your way through the instructions. Those of you who are handy with your DVR can adjust your timer and hear Hog Heaven commentary on your PC in synch with the game. The rest of us will notice a slight lag of my audio to the game action you see on your TV. I'm not attempting to do play-by-play, just my thoughts as the game unfolds. To comment on my comments, use "#HogHeavenTV" on Twitter.
Kick-off for the Redskins at Buccaneers game is 4:25 PM ET. I will start chatting away at 4:20.
4-3 vs. 3-4
The Buccaneers are feeling the loss of DE Adrian Clayborn the way the Redskins feel the loss of Brian Orakpo. Both of these defensive stalwarts are out for the season. Most reports have George Johnson (#97, Rutgers) stepping in for Clayborn. Others show Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (#50, Washington) moving from left defensive end to the right side.
Tampa Bay plays the 4-3 defense. The defensive right opposes the offensive left. Whoever is replacing Clayborn will be opposite LT Trent Williams. We all think, hope and pray Williams will be mobile enough to start. Advantage Washington if that is the case.
The right defensive end is the key pass rusher in the 4-3 alignment. That person is the best defensive lineman on the team – fast, strong and attacking from the edge. Pro teams are shifting away from the 4-3 to counter the rise of spread formations in offensive schemes. But, the 3-4 alignment is vulnerable to a rushing attack since linebackers have more coverage assignments than their 4-3 counterparts do. In the Super Bowl era, the 4-3 has been the better alignment to stop the run.
Alfred Morris could be in for a rough time against Tampa for scheme reasons alone. I hope the Shanahans dial back on Griffin III's designed running plays Sunday. The 4-3 does not offer the rushing lanes you can find in the 3-4.
The cliché run the ball; stop the run, was more meaningful when the 4-3 was more prevalent.
Redskins players of your fantasy dreams
In some fantasy systems, Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III are the top two scorers at their position. When was the last time a pair of Redskins rookies pulled that off?
RGIII's appeal was not strong enough to sell out Raymond James Stadium. The game is blacked out in the Tampa TV market. Fifteen home games have been blacked out in Tampa over the past two years. That's astounding because the Buccaneers won 10 games in 2010. Winning usually sells tickers. Surely, those Buccaneers fans are not drawn away to the Jaguars or Dolphins. Weak 2011 ticket sales probably had as much to do with Raheem Morris' dismissal as the 4-12 finish. The two go hand-in-hand.
No wide receiver has drawn as much interest for 'Skins fans as Vincent Jackson has done since 2008. Stories about Jackson drew more hits to Hog Heaven than any non-Redskins player. And there he is on the other side of the field.
Our defense better pay attention to WR Mike Williams and not over-focus on Jackson.
Greg Schiano, college coach
I love Greg Schiano for his accomplishments at Rutgers. The Buccaneers job fell in his lap. I don't blame him for taking it. I fault Malcolm Glazer for offering it, though.
College football and pro football are the same sport. They are not the same game. Coaching techniques that work in college wears thin in the pros. The Bucs are committed by contract, so Schiano isn't going anywhere soon. He is going to go at some point, back to a successful career at some SEC school no doubt.
Schiano didn't get the memo about honoring the victory formation. What he did in ignorance against the Giants, he did for spite against the Cowboys.
Peers have a way of enforcing unwritten rules. If the Redskins are in a victory formation and the Bucs show signs of aggression, look for the 'Skins to shift to shotgun and try to score on them ... if they lead by more than a touchdown or more.
The Pettibon Rule
I'm following former Redskins DC Richie Pettibon's rule that the only two defensive stats worth looking at are third-down stops and turnovers.
The Redskins and Buccaneers are tied for fifth place in third down stops with 12 allowed. But the Buccaneers are first among equals. They allowed 12 of 39 attempts. It took opponents a mere 32 attempts to convert 12 third downs on the Redskins. It is easier to convert against Washington than it is against Tampa Bay.
Both Washington and Tampa Bay have eight take-aways. The Buccaneers' performance on third down stops gives them the edge over the Redskins.
Bucs QB Josh Freeman has thrown more picks than Robert Griffin III has, so Washington has the edge on net take-aways.
Pettibon didn't say anything about scoring defense. There is only one way to describe Washington's scoring "D." It sucks. The Redskins allowed 101 points so far. Tampa Bay has struggled to score, but could get better today against Washington. Otherwise, the Bucs and the 'Skins have performed equally poorly. Both allow over 400 offensive yards per game most of it through the air.
Run the ball; stop the run
Coach Schiano wants to run more with rookie Doug Martin and veteran LeGarrett Blount. Or rather, he wants to run LeGarrett Blount more than the seven carries he's had so far.
I hope Schiano attacks on the ground, but it isn't likely. Tampa Bay's run to pass ratio is in near perfect balance at 79 to 83. Washington's defense is less vulnerable defending the run, no matter how successful Martin and Blount play. That's the point. No offensive coordinator is going to study video of Washington's secondary and not scheme ways to attack it.
The Buccaneers are three point underdogs at home. That's about right, although I think the Redskins will win it by four.
Hog Heaven expects Washington to finish the season with a .500 record. It makes sense they would finish the first quarter of the season 2-2.
I'm not slashing my wrists over the Redskins.
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Image: September 28, 2008 - Source: None/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.