Behind Enemy Lines, Part 1

To find out about this week's Dolphins opponent, the Washington Redskins, we checked in with Warpath Insiders' John Keim to ask him some questions about the team and this week's matchup. Part 1 focuses on the Washington offense.

Q. What is the health status of offensive starters Clinton Portis, Jason Campbell and Chris Samuels?

Keim: All three are healthy and have not been limited in practice. Campbell took some hits in the final preseason game and never flinched, a good sign that he's confident in his knee. Samuels and Portis both returned full time to practice this week and look just fine. The question for those two is this: How ready are they for a full game? Especially Portis. He was limited this spring and again this summer. There's no way he could be expected to carry the ball 20 times. Samuels should be OK for a whole game and, considering who he's facing, I'd look for the Redskins to give him more than occasional help.

Q. Just how much confidence do the folks in Washington have in Campbell being able to become a quality NFL quarterback?

Keim: I would say a lot. It's been funny this summer; nobody has expressed any concern whatsoever in Campbell's ability. Part of it is his backups are no longer worthy of starting for a whole season. But the confidence also stems from Campbell's offseason work. Nobody was at Redskins Park more than Campbell, studying film, working on his mechanics. He looked like a different QB this summer. He's always been poised, but his confidence is also high. Campbell is also more relaxed, another sign of his confidence. When Campbell started last season, teammates were concerned about his readiness; I have yet to hear anyone even privately express doubts.

Q. How has Pete Kendall fit into the offensive line, and how big of a difference can he make?

Keim: He's fit in well, but he's only played one quarter of a preseason game and he's never played next to Samuels. It will take time to make them a cohesive unit -- how will they react to certain fronts or last-second movement? We don't really know. But Kendall is a smart veteran player. He can make a big difference in that this would have been a position of weakness with anyone else they had on the roster. Now, they have a legit guard at this spot. The difference he'll make is that he won't screw up like others.

Q. Is Santana Moss ready to bounce back and have another big year?

Keim: We'll see. Moss has looked pretty good this summer, but I can't say he was fantastic. He started slow, partly because of concerns with his groin, but finished better. However, it's not as if he was even the best-looking receiver in camp (Antwaan Randle El had the best camp). That said, I like Moss a lot and he's still by far the best receiver on the team. But he's also been injury-prone --- nagging things that don't sideline him for long stretches, but do affect his play. A big year depends on his health. But the Redskins do want to throw downfield. That's one of Campbell's strengths and it's where Moss excels as well.

Q. Any reason to think the Redskins' pass rush will be better in 2007 than it was in '06?

Keim: Yes, there is, but here's why: It can't be worse. The front four combined for 10 sacks last year; that's what Jason Taylor calls a good half-season. If the line is healthy, it should produce more pressure, but I'm not sure by a whole lot. They lack an elite rusher. Heck, they lack a consistent rusher. Andre Carter had a good finish, but relies on speed and some days is invisible. Where they'll apply more pressure is with their blitzes. Because their corners are healthy, and better, than in 2006, they can do more with the safeties and linebackers as far as blitzing. Rookie safety LaRon Landry will be in the box a lot and will blitz from this look. He's fast and physical, making him an effective blitzer.


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