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Getting To Know The Enemy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Redskins play the Buccaneers for the 2nd time this year, and we asked Bucs Nation 5 questions about the state of the 2014 Bucs.

Justin K. Aller

The Redskins played the Buccaneers in Week 4 of the preseason this year in the Future Grocery Baggers of America(FGBA) Super Bowl.  We didn't get a chance to talk to BucsNation before that game, but now we've go our chance before this week's game.  The Buccaneers travels north to Maryland to face Tampa Bay North the Redskins on Sunday.  The Redskins have a lot of former players, coaches, and executives from the Bucs on their team, and the two teams play each other almost every year.  I talked to Sander Philipse from BucsNation to get an update on this year's version of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Thanks to Sander and look for my answers to his questions later today.

1) The Bucs, like the Redskins, have a new head coach this year. Lovie's not a first year HC like Gruden, did that make the expectations for a quick turnaround higher?

Sander: The expectations were certainly a lot higher, but not just because of his experience. The Bucs played up the roster's potential in the offseason, they spent big in free agency, they talked about winning immediately and repeatedly said that fans shouldn't have to be patient. That has turned out to be a huge disappointment, obviously.

2) Lovie's known for having a strong defense, and the Bucs made some key FA signings on that side of the ball this offseason.  What have been some of the issues with the defense this year?

Sander: Mostly the players have not been comfortable in the scheme. The adjustment period was much longer than anyone expected, as defenders kept making and continue to make incredibly basic mistakes. It's not that they don't have talent, it's that that talent is completely useless when it decides to jump short routes on third-and-15. We have seen minor game-to-game improvement in those areas in recent weeks.

But talent is also a bit of a problem. The Bucs have struggled to get any kind of edge rush to help Gerald McCoy, in part because free agent DE Michael Johnson has been disappointing -- injuries play a role there, too. Both safeties have been poor, which is why Mark Barron was traded.

3) How does the fan base feel about QB next year: McCown, Glennon, first-round pick, or FA? If they go QB with a top 5 pick who is on your radar, Winston, Mariota, someone else?

Sander: I think most fans are ready to move on from both Josh McCown and Mike Glennon, neither of whom has looked very good this year. Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston will both be on the team's radar, and on mine as well, obviously. Beyond that we can't really say much about what the Bucs will or won't do, except to note that Lovie Smith has repeatedly emphasized that athleticism and the ability to pick up yards on the ground is important in any quarterback.

4) The Bucs signed several players that Redskins fans were interested in this year.  How have Anthony Collins and Evan Dietrich-Smith been playing so far on the offensive line?

Sander: Anthony Collins has been nothing short of a total disaster. He's just been bad, and didn't carry over his solid play from last season into this year. The fact that he missed the past two games and there wasn't a huge drop-off in protection is also a bad sign.

Aside from a few knuckle-head moments, Dietrich-Smith has been okay. Nothing special, really, but not a liability either. Someone you just don't notice on film and who just does what he's asked to do, which is more than we can say for most Bucs linemen.

5) The Redskins showed a lot of interest in RB Charles Sims pre-draft.  What do you expect from him this week coming back from ankle surgery.  With Doug Martin's injury history, is Sims the RB of the future or will he be just another piece in the backfield?

Sander: Everything points toward Sims being the Bucs' running back of the future. He'll be part of a rotation over the coming weeks, but I expect his role to steadily expand and he'll probably be the starter come 2015. Doug Martin has been a shadow of his former self, and not just because of his injuries. A shoulder injury shouldn't cause him to lose any agility or shiftiness, but that's exactly what happened. It doesn't help that he's a better fit for a power scheme while the Bucs moved to zone blocking, but there really  is no reason to give him a lot of playing time at this point. Both Charles Sims, who the coaching staff is very excited about, and Bobby Rainey look like better running backs.