August 10, 2008

Campbell Continues His Impressive Play As The Redskins Win Again

The biggest question in my mind facing the Redskins this season was how would Jason Campbell perform under new coach Jim Zorn. After all this would be his seventh offense in eight years. So much depends on Campbell's showing and thus far he has delivered an emphatic message with his play.

Campbell has shown that he has the poise and presence needed to make any throw and lead a team. He looks as if he can manage a game and also sling it around. He's not afraid nor is he anxious. He has been just what the Redskins were hoping for.

Last week he went 5-5 for 61 yards and a TD. This week against the Buffalo Bills he went 7-10 for 71 yards and led a TD drive in one quarter of play. Combine those stats and he's 12-15 for 132 yards and a TD in about two quarters of play. Could Jim Zorn ask for more?

He hasn't forced anything. He's spread the ball around to the likes of Chris Cooley, James Thrash, Antwaan Randle El, Santana Moss, and more. He's led the team on two scoring drives in four possessions. This is the start of something good.

I know it's only preseason, but Campbell has been lights out. That's something I believe he will be able to translate into some regular season confidence. When the Skins get up early on opponent this year there will be no backing down.

The game itself (won by Washington 17-14) was not as tight as last week's. The offensive line left much to be desired as Jon Jansen was worked on all night. With his injury history and preseason performance, there has to be some concern for Joe Bugel. Chad Rinehart played well though and he could end up saving the Skins should Jansen continue his poor play.

The receivers were in sync early as Moss and Randle El both caught passes from Campbell. The second drive portrayed a lot of Clinton Portis who rushed for 18 yards on seven carries. Portis seemingly went through the motions, something that I, for one, do not like to see. It took him four plays to punch it in from inside the five, which isn't a good sign. Kudos to Zorn for making sure the goal line formation was run correctly. It's preseason so why not work out the kinks.

Todd Collins ran the show following this and experienced mixed results. He threw the first pick of the preseason, but also looked a bit more confident in Zorn's system, throwing a twelve yard TD to Ladell Betts, making the score 14-3.

Betts ran hard tonight, but did come off the field limping at the half. I like to see the passion in Betts' running because I haven't seen that in Portis since 2005. Portis could be so much better if he ran with more of a fire. I know he's been banged up, but now he's healthy so it's time to step it up.

The Bills scored late in the half and made a two point conversion to tie it up at 14 at the half. In the second half both defenses tightened, the Bills yielding just a field goal on a third quarter drive led by Colt Brennan. Brennan returned to earth yesterday with an average performance. He connected often with Billy McMullen who really put a chokehold on that coveted number six WR with 6 catches for 55 yards.

Derek Devine quarterbacked the fourth quarter and the longshot underthrew RB Nehemiah Broughton in the endzone on a fourth and goal play.

The Bills tried to tie the game early in the fourth but Ryan Lindell missed a 47-yarder and the Bills never threatened again.

The Skins first team defense got the job done, allowing just one first down. Reed Doughty sacked JP Losman on a safety blitz while Shawn Springs dropped an interception at the other safety position. Andre Carter knocked down a pass while Jason Taylor stayed quiet, but overall, there were no glaring issues.

The Bills moved the ball late in the second half scoring 10 points on two consecutive drives. Losman threw a nice TD pass to James Hardy who beat Leigh Torrence on the play. However after that, the Bills would not score again.

Now for some quick thoughts.

James Thrash was hit or miss tonight. He ran a great slant to set up a first and goal, but had his fade route altered earlier. Add the offensive pass interference and it wasn't the best night for him. But we know he can play so no worries.

LB Matt Sinclair logged six tackles and made a case to make the final roster. Fellow LB Alfred Fincher recovered a fumble and had 5 tackles.

Newly signed safety Justin Hamilton had a great night, landing two great hits, one of which caused a fumble.

Safety Kareem Moore was injured and helped off the field as was WR Anthony Mix. Their status is unknown.

McMullen blocked well, caught well, and probably earned the #6 WR spot if there will be one. He has played in similar offenses with the Vikings and Eagles and has been great.

Marcus Mason won't stop his relentless push to make the final roster. It's really too bad that he might end up on the practice squad again.

Shaun Suisham had a big grin on his face after nailing what turned out to be the winning 46 yard field goal. Good boost of confidence.

Justin Tryon has a long way to go. He gave up a third and long on the Bills' first possession. He has the skills, but needs to develop them.

Maurice Mann doesn't realize that the fair catch exists.

On the Bills side, Trent Edwards and JP Losman might be getting into a QB controversy. Losman led two scoring drives while Edwards went 1-5 for 18 yards. Losman has always struggled with careless throws, but Edwards certainly didn't make an appealing case last night.

Marshawn Lynch is a devastating force. He pushes every pile and earns every yard. Last year he ran for over 1200 yards with a line that was far below average. He could be an 1800 yard back with some good blocking.

Roscoe Parrish is a nimble player. He beat Tryon on the third and long and made several other solid plays.

Anyway, good to see a Skins win. Jim Zorn appears to be quite capable and I can't wait for the Giants. However first it's Brett Favre and the Jets.

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