Cambell will start but his feelings have been hurt—again. Campbell has struggled in the second halfs of seasons. The Redskins were 6-2 at the half pole but fell off the cliff and out of the playoffs in the second half. Part of Cambell’s problems were due to the injury to RB Clinton Portis and the failure of the running game to keep up the pace. Injuries in the O line caused more pressure and fewer accurate passes. Coach Jim Zorn tried to get several QBs via trade but failed. Unlike the Denver situation, Cambell took it like a man and settles in again under center.
Campbell has talent and a great arm but has had very inconsistent mechanics. Under pressure he tends to forget his mechanics and fall back to old habits. It is impossible to be a consistent passer with bad mechanics. But until they find someone else, he’s the guy. As insurance the team has vet Todd Collins in reserve. Collins is 36 and is past the point where he can be a full time starter. Run and shoot QBs Colt Brennan and URFA Chase Daniel are also in the mix.
Portis had more injuries than the Republican Guard in 08. He was leading the league at the 8 game mark with over 900 yards and then suffered hip, knee, neck and back. He struggled to a little over 500 yards in the second half of the season. He is not 100 percent yet and will be used very sparingly in preseason. Ladell Betts backs up Portis and is very solid. FB Mike Sellers didn’t have his usually solid season last year despite being elected to the pro bowl.
As Campbell lost accuracy, the WRs lost catches. Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El are one of the better combos in the league. Both started out hot and cooled as more throws hit the ground. Moss has lost a half step and is 30 this year. Randle El is the underneath guy and one of the most physical receivers in the league. He an excellent down field blocker. There are no long runs without the WRs and TEs making blocks down field. The team wants youngsters Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly to develop to provide another deep threat. They will compete for the 3rd WR spot left open by free agency. The TE is 2 time pro bowl Chris Cooley. He is consistent and Campbell’s relief valve.
The O line that has gotten so much praise got old all of a sudden. Long time RT Jon Jansen and G Pete Kendall are gone. Derrick Dockery replaces the latter and Stephon Heyer or vet Mike Williams will play RT. Chris Samuels started strong but wore down. He is nearing the end of the road. C Casey Rabach and RG Randy Thomas have to play the way they did in the first few games before they too were nicked up. Overall the O line has to improve to get the O back on track.
The Redskins D quietly ranked in the top 10 overall last year. The D is a fantasy football favorite. Now they have added the $100 million dollar man in DT Albert Haynesworth from the Titans. He joins a very deep and talented but aging group in starters E Phillip Daniels, DT Cornelius Griffin and E Andre Carter. The bench includes former starters T Kedric Golston, T Anthony Montgomery, DE Renaldo Wynn and the versatile T/E Lorenzo Alexander. IF this group stays healthy the D line is outstanding. But Haynesworth came in limping and Daniels is coming off a knee injury that kept him out almost all of 08.
1st round pick Brian Orakpo was handed the SLB spot day 1. He is converting from DE at Texas. He joins the undersized and overachieving MB London Fletcher and WLB Rocky McIntosh. Fletcher was snubbed last year but played at an all pro level. McIntosh is solid. The bench includes SLB insurance H.B. Blades, Alfred Fincher, Chris Wilson, and former 1st round bust Robert Thomas. Blades is fine but the rest are suspect.
LCB Carlos Rogers, RCB DeAngelo Hall and FS LaRon Landry are young and talented. Landry is coming on strong but needs to finish more plays by improving his ball skills. Hall has to overcome inconsistency. SS Chris Horton has to avoid a sophomore slump. The 7th round pick was a standout in training camp last year and played well. CB Fred Smoot, S Reed Doughty, S Kareem Moore, CB Justin Tryon and CB Kevin Barnes are the backups now but Smoot is in danger of being cut.
OVERALL: The Redskins were great in the first half of last year. Despite getting Haynesworth, they are not Super Bowl threats. They don’t have enough passing to prevent teams putting 47 guys in the box to stop Portis. The team will go as far as Campbell takes them. That may be to the playoffs but won’t be much farther.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .