Campbell, Brunell enjoy successful returns in Redskins’ 31-14 loss to Jaguars
Campbell returned to the starting lineup after missing last week’s game with a bruised left knee. He was 5-of-5 passing for 54 yards and a touchdown in Washington’s 31-14 loss to the Jaguars on Thursday night in the preseason finale for both teams.
Campbell played just one series, but it was exactly what the Redskins (2-2) wanted to see from the third-year pro. Although he got hit once, he had ample time in the pocket and capped the drive with a 23-yard strike down the sideline to Antwaan Randle El.
It was Campbell’s first touchdown pass of the preseason, an encouraging sign for an offense that scored just 37 points in its first three games.
“It couldn’t be a better way for him to end the preseason,” Brunell said.
Brunell took over from there, getting plenty of playing time in his first game in Jacksonville as an opposing player.
The face of the Jaguars for nine years, Brunell got a warm welcome as he jogged onto the field. He didn’t get quite the same reception when he threw a 14-yard TD pass to Ryan Hoag late in the first half to give the Redskins a 14-3 lead.
Brunell still has a house in Jacksonville, visits a few times each year and would like to make it his full-time home again once he’s retired.
His main concern now, though, is holding off Todd Collins for the backup job.
Brunell took a big step toward that goal Thursday, finishing 5-of-6 for 47 yards. Collins did not play.
“I feel pretty good about the way I played,” Brunell said. “We moved the ball and got a touchdown. That’s what you want to do.”
Jacksonville’s quarterback situation is considerably clearer. Despite missing 10 games last season, Byron Leftwich is so entrenched as the starter that he was one of 30 players who didn’t even dress for the game.
The Jaguars (3-1) had 11 players on the inactive list, and coach Jack Del Rio allowed another 19 to change into street clothes just before the opening kickoff.
“It was a bone,” receiver Ernest Wilford said. “We’ll take it.”
Gray, who might be cut Saturday if the Jags decide to keep just two quarterbacks, was 17-of-22 for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He had a 40-yard TD pass to Reggie Williams with 36 seconds remaining in the first half, making it 14-10.
“You can’t worry about it,” Gray said. “I’ve got gray hairs already. I don’t need no more gray hairs. You go out and play as best you can. If your best isn’t enough, maybe it isn’t enough. All you can do is try to make things hard for somebody to make a decision to tell you can’t play on their team and you can’t play in this league.”
Jacksonville had three position battles of note.
LaBrandon Toefield and Alvin Pearman are vying for the final running back spot. Toefield, trying to overcome two preseason fumbles, ran 19 times for 84 yards and had a 12-yard TD run. Pearman gained 21 yards on nine carries and had a 28-yard punt return.
The sixth receiver position is between Charles Sharon and rookie John Broussard. Sharon caught four passes for 51 yards while Broussard, a speedy seventh-round pick from San Jose State, had four receptions for 30 yards and made a leaping catch near the sideline.
Webb got beat on Randle El’s TD catch and was flagged for pass interference on the play. He got penalized again in the second quarter, another pass interference call that led to Washington’s second touchdown.
“I just got off to a slow start and gave up two early touchdowns,” Webb said. “Stuff like that happens. You’ve got to keep playing and let the coached evaluate the film and let them choose what they want to do.”
As expected, Redskins RB Clinton Portis (knee), LT Chris Samuels (knee) and LB Marcus Washington (elbow) did not play. … LG Pete Kendall, acquired in a trade with the New York Jets last week, started and played well. … Jags TE Isaac Smolko, who caught a TD pass, also played linebacker in the second half.