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Locked On WFT: Washington takes on Tampa fresh off a much-needed bye week

Major ramifications in Week 10 as Washington hosts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

WASHINGTON — Coming out of the bye week with news, workouts, and speculation about what's right for the future of the Washington Football Team with Chris Russell and David Harrison of the Locked On WFT Podcast. 

Major ramifications in Week 10 as Washington hosts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Washington gave the defending Super Bowl champs a handful in the playoffs last season. But this season, Washington has gotten worse as the Bucs have played consistently to their performance that led to a championship. 

Listen to Locked On WFT ahead of Sunday's game and get more info below on the Washington Football Team:

WHAT’S WORKING

The defense is getting better. After lofty preseason expectations made early-season struggles stick out, the pass rush has had an impact and first-round pick Jamin Davis is getting used to life as an NFL linebacker.

If the secondary can tighten up some things, Washington's defense can ascend to mediocre over its final nine games.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

In Rivera's words, maturity. Now that an improbable run to a second consecutive NFC East championship looks out of reach, members of this young group can show their coach that they deserve to stick around.

“Right now we’re a young team that’s learning how to mature, and that’s what we’re at,” Rivera said. “We’re going to do the best we can to coach them up and we’ll see what happens.”

STOCK UP

Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen has been one of Washington's leaders for a couple of years now, and he has been a standout so far this season. With six sacks, Allen has more than reigning AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young and fellow edge rusher Montez Sweat combined.

Allen is proving the front office right for signing him to a $72 million, four-year extension on the eve of training camp. Perhaps having the contract done is helping the 2017 first-round pick produce with less pressure on him.

STOCK DOWN

One contract that has not worked out is wide receiver Curtis Samuel's $34.5 million, three-year deal signed in free agency. A lingering groin injury that began during offseason workouts has limited Samuel to two games, eight catches and 81 yards and could completely derail his season.

INJURED

Rivera is optimistic Washington could get back Samuel, injured 2020 All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff, rookie right tackle Sam Cosmi, tight end Logan Thomas and cornerback William Jackson after the bye week. Antonio Gibson's shin injury bears watching, especially if Washington wants to see what it has in rookie running back Jaret Patterson.

KEY NUMBER

45.45 — Percentage of Washington's red zone trips that have resulted in a touchdown. Only one other team is under 50% on the season.

NEXT STEPS

Heinicke gets his chance at revenge against Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, who he played well against in the wild-card round of the playoffs last season. It's a tall task: Tampa Bay opened as an 8 1/2-point road favorite on FanDuel SportsBook.

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