The Nickel Package: Campbell Impresses

The Nickel Package--Among the issues our Redskins insider examines are Rocky McIntosh remaining on the bench and Brandon Lloyd's route running.

1. Jason Campbell. Players were concerned about how he would run the huddle, but Campbell did well with this, helped by players such as Jon Jansen. When Patrick Ramsey was starting, Jansen often would help him in the huddle. But Campbell's poise impressed not only the offensive players, but those on defense. Marcus Washington said he was like a ''savvy veteran.'' Campbell officially now gives Washington hope. Maybe not for this season, but if the Redskins can finally solve the problem at this position, they can officially build something.

2. Rocky McIntosh. OK, now we have to ask: Just how bad does he look in practice? All we hear are good things about this kid; he played physical this summer and does a nice job on special teams. But he can't get on the field for the 30th-ranked defense. Something's fishy with this. Maybe they're just bringing him along slowly, but come on.

3. The defense. Forget the numbers, we all know this unit stinks and will do so until changes are made. My concern is will the players continue to listen to Gregg Williams and his staff. The DL I don't worry about; they're as professional as they come. But overall we already hear whispers about potential friction. It bears watching.

4. Brandon Lloyd. He has a publicist who e-mails reporters, asking if they want to do a story on him and trying to paint him as not responsible for his, um, weak numbers. Spare us. Make the tough catches; go across the middle a few times and prove you can be an effective No. 2 for a good offense. Lloyd's rep among the players is that he doesn't always run the right routes.  

5. Joe Gibbs' ramblings. The worse the losing gets, the worse Gibbs gets in his press conferences. Two weeks ago he rambled on about the organizational setup - funny, haven't heard any defenses after two straight losses. Monday, he had an odd rambling nearly two-minute long talk about where they are and where they want to be. He repeated himself several times and offered no real concrete solutions. It left a roomful of reporters eyeing one another in disbelief. When asked where the fans should look for optimism, he pointed out the fans themselves. Huh? Sorry, but even the diehards need more than that. Is it a good fan base? Yes. But it has been for the past 15 years and that hasn't gotten the team anywhere. Gibbs himself once offered hope for the franchise. But the longer this goes on, the more he's just a reminder of the great past. Sort of like Willie Mays with the New York Mets.


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