Calais Campbell Impresses Whisenhunt

Defensive end Calais Campbell, in his first year as a starter, has exceeded the expectations of coaches so far. A second-round pick in 2008, Campbell has two sacks and two blocked field goals, and he saved a touchdown by chasing down a punt returner. His play has validated the team's decision to let veteran Antonio Smith leave in free agency.

"[Calais Campbell has] been playing very well," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "He's done better in the run game than we thought he might this early. And certainly he's created pressure at times on the quarterback."

At 6-feet-8, Campbell has become a versatile threat because of his size. If he uses proper technique, he can hold off blockers with his long arms. In some nickel packages, he moves inside to tackle, where his size can narrow a quarterback's passing lanes.

And he continues to be an asset on special teams.

Replacing Smith wasn't easy, because Smith played an integral role in the team's success down the stretch last season. But there were also times that Smith went weeks without making a significant play.

That hasn't been the case with Campbell so far.


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