Injuries to the Redskins' defensive front-seven have forced the incumbent and reserve players to step up their game.
Perhaps no one along the line has answered the call like seventh-year defensive end Stephen Bowen, who understands what it will take for the defense to get back on track.
Bowen has 115 career tackles including 11.5 sacks, seven passes defensed and one forced fumble. In his second season with the Redskins, Bowen leads the defensive line in tackles (14), quarterback hits (nine), and passes defensed (three).
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is excited by Bowen's play so far, and is optimistic that he will continue to be a force on the defensive line.
"Stephen's playing about as good as I've ever seen that position played. I think he's impressive," Haslett said. "He did a nice job. He's had three really good games and hopefully he'll continue that the rest of the year in that spot."
The Redskins need defensive playmakers after allowing 101 points through the first three weeks, good for 29th in the NFL.
The Buccaneers boast the NFL's worst offensive numbers, have still found success in the running game with rookie back Doug Martin leading the way. His 63 attempts for 214 yards and a touchdown will be tested by the Redskins' ninth-ranked rushing defense, averaging under 100 yards per game on the ground.
If the Redskins stop Martin, Bowen is convinced they can stop the Buccaneers.
"You always want to make a team one dimensional and try to force them into third and long situations and make them make some mistakes, Bowen said. "I think if we don't do that, it's going to be a long game."
This game will mark the second match-up with the Buccaneers in just over a month, after a 30-3 victory to wrap up the preseason. Along with receiver Dezmon Briscoe, this will be defensive backs coach Raheem Morris's first trip back to Tampa Bay after being let go last offseason.
Morris led the Buccaneers from 2009-2011, but has offered advice throughout the week to help the Redskins prepare. Bowen appreciates the insider information and explained that winning this game for Morris means a lot to the players.
"He's a great coach," Bowen said. "I see why people love him; he's a player's coach. He's real in-depth with technique so everybody wants to win for him."