Exhibitionist: The growing pains of Jason Campbell


How putrid did Washington's first-string offense look Saturday at Carolina? This bad: Jim Zorn plans to start the group for a series or two in the preseason finale against Jacksonville Thursday. The new West Coast scheme isn't ready for prime-time in D.C. just yet.

It's always a mistake to overreact to one game, good or bad, but there's no way to sugarcoat it: the Redskins stunk at Carolina, and it specifically brings Jason Campbell and friends under the fantasy microscope. The passing game managed just three net yards in the first half Saturday, Campbell took four sacks and lost a fumble, and the Redskins never came close to scoring. Campbell's six completions went for a scant 39 yards.

"You just don't want to have that as your last impression going into your season," conceded receiver Antwaan Randle El. "Really, your last impression shouldn't be that."

While the offensive line deserves a chunk of the blame - Carolina's pass rush was dominant from the word go - sacks can also be a function of poor or slow decision making from the quarterback. Campbell earned low marks last year for his pocket presence (losing a league-high eight fumbles, holding onto the ball too long at times, playing poorly with bodies around him), and he certainly didn't look like a man comfortable in his new offense Saturday (a scheme that increases responsibility on the quarterback).

Washington drafted a bunch of receiving help in April, but it doesn't look like any of these guys are ready to make a contribution. Devin Thomas (hamstring) and Malcolm Kelly (knee scope) have been hurt most of the summer, and rookie tight end Fred Davis hasn't gotten on the field with the first-team offense.

To be clear, I've got nothing against this Redskins group. Heck, I was a Jim Zorn fan as a kid and I'd love to see him succeed. I've ranked Chris Cooley and the Washington defense higher than my Y! colleagues (the defensive rank will go down if Jason Taylor is seriously hurt), and I'm tied for the lead on Clinton Portis (who's become a sneaky value in recent years). But as for Campbell, I'm stuck in "prove it to me" mode. I've still got a handful of drafts to go, and based on what I saw from him in 2007 (a forgettable 12 TDs in 13 games, 6.5 YPA) and the last couple of weeks, he hasn't swayed me.

Worried about Washington, or can we blow this summer as typical growing pains? Have at it.


Photo via Getty Images

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