- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: FedEx Field

TV: Chs. 5, 45

Radio: ESPN 980, AM-730, AM-570, AM-1260

KEY MATCHUP

Redskins WR Santana Moss vs. Bucs CB Ronde Barber

Moss barely registered a blip in Washington’s first two games, but the 30-year-old broke out last week in Detroit with career highs of 10 catches for 178 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown.

But the Lions don’t have a cornerback in the class of five-time Pro Bowl pick Barber, the only player on Tampa Bay’s active roster left from the team that won Super Bowl XXXVII in January 2003. At 34, Barber is a year older than first-year head coach Raheem Morris, but he can still get it done.

Moss has nine catches for 134 yards in three games against the Bucs (including a playoff contest), but that was in the era when they played their famous Cover-2 scheme under defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Barber has an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, 13 passes defensed and 61 tackles in nine games against Washington (including two playoff contests).

Tampa Bay plays much more man coverage under Morris, so the pair of 5-foot-10 standouts will likely spend much of the afternoon battling. That’s the kind of coverage that Moss prefers - and he exploited it in Detroit.

Washington coach Jim Zorn talks about getting the running game going, but the former quarterback and quarterbacks coach loves to throw. The Bucs have allowed seven passing touchdowns, so if the Redskins’ offensive line can give quarterback Jason Campbell time to find Moss, he could have some interesting downfield duels with Barber.

THREE KEYS

1. Starting strong (twice)

The Bucs have been outscored 40-0 in the first and third quarters; coach Raheem Morris must need work on his inspirational talks. The Redskins haven’t been much better - managing a field goal in the first and 13 points in the third - but this is a prime shot to take an early lead and keep the momentum going after halftime.

2. Run the ball

Running back Clinton Portis has sore ankles and a tender calf and right guard Randy Thomas is done for the year, but that doesn’t explain the staggering imbalance of 51 drop-backs vs. 27 runs in the first half. Coach Jim Zorn has to give Portis the ball and stay with the run to keep defenses honest.

3. Keep Johnson contained

Detroit picked quarterback Matthew Stafford with April’s first pick for his arm, not his feet. But the rookie embarrassed the Redskins with a 21-yard scramble on third-and-13 to keep a 99-yard touchdown drive going. Tampa Bay’s Josh Johnson, a running quarterback, is making his first start Sunday. The Redskins need to watch him closely when he’s on the move.

THE EDGE

WHEN THE REDSKINS HAVE THE BALL

Santana Moss, Chris Cooley and Antwaan Randle El have had big games. Trouble is, their 45 catches and 566 yards have produced just two touchdowns. Even worse: Holder Hunter Smith has Washington’s only rushing touchdown. Only two other NFC backfields haven’t crossed the goal line on the ground. The Bucs are having worlds of trouble in their first season in coach Raheem Morris’ defense, ranking last in the NFC in points, yards and rushing yards allowed. This could be a game for Washington’s offense to get well, but last week’s Detroit game looked like the same situation.

Edge: Redskins

WHEN THE BUCS HAVE THE BALL

In January, Tampa Bay fired coach Jon Gruden after seven seasons and replaced him with Morris. In August, Morris fired offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Greg Olsen. This week, Morris benched veteran quarterback Byron Leftwich in favor of second-year man Josh Johnson, who is slated to make his first start. Cadillac Williams is averaging 5.2 yards a carry. Tight ends Kellen Winslow and Jerramy Stevens have 23 catches, 205 yards and three touchdowns, but no receiver has more than seven catches. Maybe the Redskins’ NFL-worst third-down defense can improve.

Edge: Redskins

SPECIAL TEAMS

Here’s one area in which the Bucs are playing quality football. With Clifton Smith handling 17 of the team’s 19 returns, Tampa Bay is eighth on kickoff returns and punt returns. The bad news for the Bucs is that the Redskins are tops in kick coverage and second in punt coverage. Tampa Bay’s Mike Nugent has had one field goal try blocked. Washington’s Shaun Suisham is 4-for-4, but his longest is 28 yards. Hunter Smith is better than the punter the Redskins cut to keep him, Tampa Bay’s Dirk Johnson.

Edge: Redskins

- David Elfin

REDSKINS STARTERS

Offense

WR 89 Santana Moss

WR 12 Malcolm Kelly

LT 60 Chris Samuels

LG 66 Derrick Dockery

C 61 Casey Rabach

RG 75 Chad Rinehart

RT 74 Stephon Heyer

TE 47 Chris Cooley

RB 26 Clinton Portis

FB 45 Mike Sellers

QB 17 Jason Campbell

Defense

DE 93 Phillip Daniels

DT 96 Cornelius Griffin

DT 92 Albert Haynesworth

DE 99 Andre Carter

OLB 52 Rocky McIntosh

MLB 59 London Fletcher

OLB 98 Brian Orakpo

CB 22 Carlos Rogers

CB 23 DeAngelo Hall

SS 37 Reed Doughty

FS 30 LaRon Landry

Specialists

K 6 Shaun Suisham

P 3 Hunter Smith

PR 82 Antwaan Randle El

KR 31 Rock Cartwright

KR 46 Ladell Betts

Injuries

Doubtful: DT Anthony Montgomery (knee). Questionable: RB Clinton Portis (calf). Probable: DT Cornelius Griffin (thigh), CB DeAngelo Hall (ankle), DT Albert Haynesworth (glute), CB Carlos Rogers (ankle), RB Mike Sellers (thigh).

BUCCANEERS STARTERS

Offense

WR 80 Michael Clayton

WR 89 Antonio Bryant

LT 70 Donald Penn

LG 76 Jeremy Zuttah

C 52 Jeff Faine

RG 75 Davin Joseph

RT 65 Jeremy Trueblood

TE 82 Kellen Winslow

RB 24 Cadillac Williams

FB 35 B.J. Askew

QB 11 Josh Johnson

Defense

DE 97 Jimmy Wilkerson

DT 98 Ryan Sims

DT 95 Chris Hovan

DE 90 Gaines Adams

OLB 58 Quincy Black

MLB 51 Barrett Ruud

OLB 54 Geno Hayes

CB 25 Aqib Talib

CB 20 Ronde Barber

SS 21 Sabby Piscitelli

FS 26 Will Allen

Specialists

P 8 Dirk Johnson

K 4 Mike Nugent

PR 22 Clifton Smith

KR 22 Clifton Smith

Injuries

Out: C Jeff Faine (triceps), DE Kyle Moore (knee). Questionable: DE Gaines Adams (groin), WR Antonio Bryant (knee), QB Byron Leftwich (hip), RB Derrick Ward (knee). Probable: RB B.J. Askew (hamstring), CB Torrie Cox (ankle), RB Earnest Graham (hamstring), T Marcus Johnson (ankle), DT Roy Miller (ankle), K Mike Nugent (left quadricep), RB Clifton Smith (quadricep), WR Maurice Stovall (knee), RB Carnell Williams (knee), G Jeremy Zuttah (hip).

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