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Redskins vs Buccaneers: Five Questions with Bucs Nation

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An in-depth look at Washington's week seven opponent.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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We spoke to Sander Philipse of Bucs Nation in preparation for the game this weekend between the Washington Redskins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and here is what he had to say:

1.  So... Jameis Winston. #1 overall pick. Starting right away as a rookie on what most considered to be a pretty bad team. He's been... unspectacular. How are the fans feeling with regards to the team's starting QB?

Winston has been up and down, but he's shown enough to give those who like him hope, and made enough mistakes to not make those who didn't like him change his mind. Overall, Bucs fans seem to like what they've seen. Personally, I'm not too worried. He's mostly looked comfortable in the NFL, and seems to be learning from his mistakes. He needs to find a balance between making tough throws down the field and being overly risky, but that's a process for any rookie quarterback. It's just hard to say what you're going to get week to week right now.

2.  Last year, Mike Evans looked to be a stud of a rookie and a steal of a draft pick. This year so far it seems he's been underutilized (when healthy). Is this a Winston issue? An Evans issue? An offense issue? What gives (he's killing my fantasy team)?

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It's more that he really hasn't made the plays he was making last year. He's had plenty of opportunities, but he's not making tough contested catches right now. Jameis Winston isn't giving him the best deep balls, to be fair, and he's not making it terribly easy on Evans -- but the second-year player has simply not been the player he was last year. He still has the speed, he's still getting behind defensive backs, he's just struggingl with his hands. Why that is is not something I can easily answer -- I'd expect that to change as we go forward, and it may just be a familarity issue with Winston.

3.  The Redskins roster is crazy beat-up right now, but the Bucs have a couple injuries of their own going on. What's the latest on Mankins, McCoy, and ASJ? Who's going to play and who's not? And with regards to whoever isn't going to play, how do you think the other players in that unit will cope?

Logan Mankins returned to work today and should be good to go on Sunday, although there won't necessarily be a large dropoff if he can't go. Kevin Pamphile held his own last week, and Mankins isn't the Pro Bowler of years past. Gerald McCoy has been playing and balling out with that injured shoulder for weeks and while you can tell it's bothering him a little, it really shouldn't be an issue. Seferian-Jenkins is the biggest problem here: the Bucs haven't been able to replace him so far, and they have really struggled to attack the middle of the field. And given that he hasn't practiced so far this week, I don't expect him to be ready for Sunday's game either.

4.  The Bucs have a very impressive trio of RBs. What do the 'Skins need to be aware of with regards to each? How's the Buccaneer OL looking this year in the run game?

The Bucs have three good running backs, but they really only play Doug Martin and Charles Sims. The former is mostly their early-down back, and he's looked like his rookie self surprisingly: good patience and vision, the ability to make players miss in space, and consistently redirecting to find openings in the blocking -- even when that hasn't been optimal. The Bucs' linemen haven't been terrific at the point of attack, but they're very good once they get to the second level and that's really helped Martin. Last game, the Bucs brought in an extra lineman on nearly half the plays to get the running game going, and they're really committing to Martin as the motor of their offense. They're basically daring defenses to stack the box -- and Martin is still making things work.

Sims is more of a receiving back than a true inside back -- the Bucs have mostly tried to manufacture ways to get him to the edge on running plays, where his speed gives him a real advantage. That's worked reasonably well, but he's mostly stood out as a receiver -- especially on screen passes. Look for those when he's in the game.

5.  What's your score prediction for the game and why?

The Bucs are coming off a bye, which gives them a minor advantage, and they're looking to build off of last game's offensive success. Their defense has struggled especially in pass coverage, but I have a hard time seeing Kirk Cousins take advantage of that, especially without a decent running game. All of those defensive injuries really don't help, either. I think the Buccaneers manage to get away with a low-scoring, 19-17 win.