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Bucs present big challenge, Redskins say

By DARRELL FRY

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 9, 2000


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LANDOVER, Md. -- The fans were chanting it and holding up signs that said it. "We want Tampa."

Now that the Redskins have Tampa Bay next in the playoffs they are saying all the right things, complimenting the Bucs enough Saturday to make them blush.

"They are an outstanding football team," Washington coach Norv Turner said after defeating Detroit 27-13 to advance to Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game at Raymond James Stadium. "They've had the week off. It's going to be a heck of a challenge for our football team."

After holding Detroit to 45 rushing yards, Washington defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson said the Redskins need to stop Tampa Bay's running game, specifically Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn.

"We've got to put our even-harder hats on and go out there with our lunch boxes and our hard boots and shut that run down," he said. "We know what their main attack is going to be and it's Alstott and Dunn. We have to hold those guys down."

Redskins quarterback Brad Johnson, who played against Tampa Bay several times with Minnesota, said he's most leery of the Bucs' defense.

"Their front four is tough, very similar to (the Lions). They're very quick and tenacious," said Johnson, who said he plays his best against Tampa Bay. "Their linebackers are the smartest linebackers in the league, with (Derrick) Brooks and Hardy (Nickerson). And their secondary, they make plays.

"I'll tell you what they're going to do. They're going to bring four (up front). When you adjust your line, then they are going to bring eight. That's what they're going to do all day. They're just a very sound team. They're smart and they don't give up big plays.

"It's going to be a tough, tough ballgame for us."

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