Ten Spot Preview : Campbell in the Spotlight

The Ten Spot Preview: Jason Campbell gets his first NFL start on Sunday. The question around Redskins Park--is he ready?


1. Is Jason ready? We'll find out Sunday. But I can tell you this: there just doesn't seem to be a lot of confidence oozing from the coaches about his first start. Why is that? Maybe they don't think he's ready. Or it could be that they, like everyone else, aren't sure how he'll respond. I've been around for a number of QB changes and don't remember sensing this lack of confidence after other moves. Teammates have publicly praised him, but I know some of them are very concerned, too. I really have no idea if it's justified or not and nor do they. Until someone plays in a game, there's no way of knowing how they'll do.

2. Will Santana Moss play? Doesn't sound like it. Moss was very pessimistic about his chances on Friday, not wanting to come back until his left hamstring is fully healed. He didn't re-injure it, but he certainly didn't help it by playing last week. Certainly, this can't help Campbell.

3. Who will step up for Moss? David Patten said Friday that he didn't think he could play because of his hamstring injury. That leaves Antwaan Randle El and James Thrash alongside Brandon Lloyd. This is why the Redskins added receiving depth, but that's not a fearsome group.

4. Can Lloyd have a big game? Wouldn't count on it. Lloyd struggles against cover-2's in part because he's just not physical enough. It prevents him from getting cleanly off the line. Also, in talking to some players, Lloyd can't be counted on running the right routes. A young QB making his first start needs to be able to trust the receivers. Can he? Lloyd is starting to make big plays and maybe he'll get one. But I'm not sold on his ability to have a consistent game.

5. How will Ladell Betts do? It depends on the health of the Bucs' defense. They're hurting along the line and at middle linebacker. Betts is more of a straight-ahead runner than Clinton Portis. So, minus Moss, the Redskins could line up with a lot of two tight end power formation sets. This should be the week T.J. Duckett gets a few carries. One teammate said he's looked good in practice.

6. What's the biggest concern with Jason? The mistakes that he'll make. And he will make them. Campbell will take time to develop. If he makes steady progress over the next seven games, that's all Redskins fans can expect or hope for. But in the preseason, he still made costly mistakes. Yes, he showed flashes and I would expedt some of those Sunday, too. The question is, how aggressive will he be after he makes those mistakes. He'll have to learn how to walk that line between aggressiveness and foolishness. My big fear is on the out routes. He still has a slight windup and if he doesn't make quick reads, that windup will cost him and result in trouble. Also, Campbell is so soft-spoken that, in a loud road stadium, it could lead to problems with the line.

7. Will Jason make plays? I'm sure he will. He'll make two or three plays that lead someone to say, ''That's why they drafted him.'' Campbell can stand in the pocket, see over the blitz and make a throw. Or he can get out of the pocket and make a play. He'll provide a running element that Mark Brunell no longer could.

8. Will he do better than Bruce Gradkowski? Who knows. Gradkowski is a rookie and is not as phsyically talented as Campbell. But he's played a few games and is at home, facing a defense that applies no pressure, forces few turnovers and gives up big plays. Gradkowski's ability to get out of the pocket and make plays concerns me, though I don't think he's all that good. I do think that he'll try to connet with Joey Galloway on several deep balls. If he's successful, the Bucs will win.

9. Will the Redskins' defense have a big day? I would expect them to. And I would also anticipate a couple turnovers. For heaven's sake, if they can't shut down this offense, they should hand in their checks. I'd like to see Lemar Marshall show up this week. I think the experiment with him in the middle should come to an end after this season. I'd like to see Sean Taylor play a smart game and not give up big plays deep. In other words, do his job.

10. Will the Redskins win? Before the switch, I thought they would win this game. Brunell is still better at this point than Campbell -- not that I disagree with the switch at all. I don't. But I've been struck by the mood among the coaches and it's a bit too telling. Campbell is playing minus his best running back, top receiver and is playing on the road. If the kid wins this game, let the party begin. But I think that's asking too much. Bucs 14, Redskins 13.


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