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Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
September 9, 2004
Season Ticket
Thu 9 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
Sun 1 PM SD at HOU OAK at PIT NYG at PHI Mon 9 PM
JAX at BUF TEN at MIA TB at WAS Saturday no byes
  Tampa Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson 0 0 230,1
RB Charlie Garner 70 30 0
RB Mike Alstott 20,1 0 0
TE Ken Dilger 0 20 0
WR Michael Clayton 0 50 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 70,1 0
WR Tim Brown 0 30 0
PK Martin Gramatica 1 FG 2 XP -
  Washington Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Brunell 0 0 200,1
RB Clinton Portis 110,1 20 0
TE Rasby/Cooley 0 10 0
WR Lavernues Coles 0 70,1 0
WR Rod Gardner 0 60 0
WR Darnerian McCants 0 30 0
PK Jeff Hall 2 FG 2 XP -

TB (0-0) vs WAS (0-0)

Game Prediction: TB 17, WAS 20

Here's an interesting match-up. The team that achieved critical speed downward from their 2002 Super Bowl last year against a team that knows how to spend money and yet not get much in return. Things are so new in Washington that they're old and the Bucs rebuild from a catastrophic 2003 by collecting players in the final years of their career.

Pre-Game Notes - TB

Nothing like a dose of reality to tumble the 2002 Super Bowl winners into the quagmire of inter-team bickering, finger-pointing and one very surreal case of "Oh just shut up and go away" for Keyshawn Johnson. This season starts with more squabbles already with Keenan "Young at heart" McCardell figuring that his career year when all the other receivers were hurt (or watching TV at home) supercedes the fact he is 34-years old and will never have another season like that. Ah, who says false pride is only for the young?

On offense - this is one veteran team. But not necessarily in a good way.

Quarterback: Brad Johnson continues to hold the reins here though Chris Simms certainly made some progress towards the #2 spot.

Running Backs: The Bucs allowed Thomas Jones to leave via free agency even though it was the only place that Jones had ever really looked good. Instead, Gruden reaches back into the past and brings aboard under-sized, 32-year old Charlie Garner. Then there's still Michael Pittman who'll miss the first three games of the season with an NFL suspension for playing automotive chicken with his wife without her permission. Mike Alstott is back after suffering a herniated disc in his neck last October and vows he is back but the 31-year old is only less durable every season.

One interesting acquisition in the offseason was Jamel White who could fill in well for Garner when he is injured. This looks like a roster bound to change by 2005.

Wide Receivers: It didn't take Keenan McCardell too long to say "show me the money" and evidently sitting at home with his arms crossed has not been working. He vows to not play for the Buccaneers again since they do not want to throw Top 5 receiver money at a 34-year old (go figure). With him sitting out and Keyshawn long gone, perhaps he did not notice that the Bucs have all new receivers anyway.

Joey Galloway (33 years old) brings in some speed that was missing last year and Tim Brown (38 years old) now mans the flanker. Michael Clayton ('gasp' - 21 years old) infuses some youth into the team and a hope that next year we may still recognize any offensive player. All this time we figured it was the weather in Oakland attracting the old guys. It was just Jon Gruden.

Galloway missed the last two preseason games with a groin injury but is expected to play this week.

Tight Ends: Ken Dilger remains the primary but Gruden's style has never made consistent use of the position. If you see one suddenly catch two touchdowns, you can be sure it will never happen again.

Match Against the Defense: The positive here is that Champ Bailey is gone and neither Fred Smoot or Shawn Springs play the corner nearly as well. Garner gets to face a defense that is still developing but there's no reason to believe that any runner will post big numbers in this offense. What should happen is for Johnson to test those corners primarily with Galloway on a deep route or Clayton as the #3. The Redskins look like they hit the jackpot with drafting safety Sean Taylor, so the middle of the field may not be that safe. LB Lavarr Arrington should be able to keep the rushing numbers reasonable.

Pre-Game Notes - WAS

There is no way to really know what to expect from Washington this season because new/old HC Joe Gibbs has made the entire offense a secret down to monitoring what gets thrown out in the trash. Literally. Remember how way back when getting information on NFL teams was very hard? Gibbs never left the era. He did however bring in Clinton Portis for a certain good ground game and yet his staff is not even organized traditionally into OC and DC. There's a committee at work now and while OC Joe Bugel and DC Gregg Williams have titles, this weekend will truly be the first time anyone gets to see what the Redskins are really going to be like this year.

Quarterback: Mark Brunell came over to the Redskins and 'win' won the starting spot from Patrick Ramsey. All the money had nothing to do with it. Then again, money didn't do much in Washington up to this point anyway.

Running Backs: The only question here is how long can Clinton Portis go before blowing a tire? There is every intention to run him like it was 1985 again but his durability will always be an issue until he can survive 16 consecutive games. He'll be backed up by LaDell Betts and Rock Cartwright but don't expect any RBBC this year. This will be all Portis, all the time. Until he gets injured.

Wide Receivers: The only given so far with Gibbs new offense is the rushing game. Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner continue to man the starting roles and this week will give a better indication of how they will be used.

Tight Ends: Walter Rasby is the depth chart starter, but he's there to block for Portis. In fantasy terms, the relevant player is rookie Chris Cooley who has been consistently getting better every week and is already being considered for an H-back role. Cooley is no blocker really, he comes from Utah State where he was just a very big receiver who played on the line. While Cooley may not get much play early in the season, he's worth watching since Gibbs has made good use of the tight end spot back during the Reagan era.

Match Against the Defense: Without knowing what the offense will look like, it is hard to match it up. The given of Portis running will be aided by the departure of both Warren Sapp and John Lynch and the Bucs have looked much more vulnerable to the run this summer. Brian Kelly and Ronde Barber are above average cornerbacks but the Bucs will be going with young safeties this year so the middle of the field may be better than the sidelines. That will favor the tight end (if used) and likely more Coles in a possession role. All we know for sure - Portis power is going to be flipped on.






Statistical Comparisons begin after Week 1

Colts (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 @NE
Week 2 @TEN
Week 3 GB
Week 4 @JAX
Week 5 OAK
Week 6 bye
Week 7 JAX
Week 8 @KC
Week 9 MIN
Week 10 HOU
Week 11 @CHI
Week 12 @DET
Week 13 TEN
Week 14 @HOU
Week 15 BAL
Week 16 SD
Week 17 @DEN
Redskins (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 TB
Week 2 @NYG
Week 3 DAL
Week 4 @CLE
Week 5 BAL
Week 6 @CHI
Week 7 bye
Week 8 GB
Week 9 @DET
Week 10 CIN
Week 11 @PHI
Week 12 @PIT
Week 13 NYG
Week 14 PHI
Week 15 @SF
Week 16 @DAL
Week 17 MIN

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points