Matthew Postins: I watched the Washington-Dallas game on Sunday and came away very impressed with the development of quarterback Jason Campbell. He is certainly not the same overwhelmed quarterback the Buccaneers faced last season. What's made the difference in Campbell's development this season?
John Keim: His attention to detail in the offseason. Campbell worked unbelievably hard on his mechanics, speeding up his footwork and his delivery. It shows in many of his throws. Last year he got by on raw ability, often throwing on the wrong step or after a couple pumps. This year he's releasing the ball earlier and is more decisive with his throws. He's learning to look off the safeties more, though this'll still burn him on occasion. He still could be more accurate in the 15-20 yard range.
Matthew Postins: By the same token, WR Santana Moss has really struggled this season. He had a great game against Dallas, but he's been inconsistent. What's been his issue this season? Injuries? Declining play? Campbell going to other receivers?
John Keim: Injuries seem to be the biggest reason for his lesser numbers. He also has not developed much of a rhythm with Campbell, partly because he's missed a decent amount of practice time — starting in the offseason and into the summer. Campbell is comfortable with TE Chris Cooley and WR Antwaan Randle El more than with Moss. But Moss is still the one who scares defenses most. Though he now has a bruised heel, Moss is starting to look a little more like his old self.
Matthew Postins: I don't think many peopled expected great things out of the Redskins defense, but it appears that LB London Fletcher has become a great off-season acquisition for them. What has Fletcher brought to the mix that perhaps other former Redskins linebackers like LaVar Arrington have not?
John Keim: Leadership and preparation. Nobody on this defense is more prepared than Fletcher, who is a film-room nut. The defensive players really, really look up to him. Fletcher can still run and hit, but his value is in the intangibles. He's also made plays and that always helps one become an even better leader. Combine his talent with his playmaking ability and leadership skills and he's a near-perfect linebacker for them.
Matthew Postins: What is Shawn Springs' mental state right now? His father, former Cowboys RB Ron, is in critical condition in a Dallas hospital, and Springs stayed behind after Sunday's game to be with him. How has Shawn handled what is surely an overwhelming situation for he and his family?
John Keim: Shawn has handled it unbelievably well. His teammates and coaches marvel at how he's been able to play under difficult circumstances. His focus is on football and he's able to separate what happens off the field with what he needs to do on it. Springs does travel to Dallas after games to be with his dad.
Matthew Postins: That secondary has plenty of star players — Springs, Carlos Rogers (currently on IR), Sean Taylor, LaRon Landry and Fred Smoot among them. Assess their play this season, because the secondary will be a key component if the Redskins want to slow down the Bucs on Sunday. Who is the key defensive back the Bucs should watch?
John Keim: The secondary has played very well at times, largely because of Taylor and Springs. Smoot has been in and out of the lineup because of injuries. Taylor is having a Pro Bowl season, though he'll miss this game with a knee injury. Reed Doughty started in place of Taylor last week, obviously a major downgrade. And Pierson Prioleau is the third safety and capable of covering in the slot. Landry, the rookie, does well next to Taylor but he bit hard on some plays last week and wound up getting burned. Minus Taylor it's a fine secondary but nothing special. With him, it is.