Ten Spot Review: D Gives Campbell a Chance

Ten Ten Spot Review--The Redskins defense allows Jason Campbell to overcome some misfires and make the winning TD pass

  1. Will this be a tougher game for Jason Campbell? We thought it should be because he was facing a better defense. It certainly was a tougher game. Campbell rushed some throws and was off-target on others. But Campbell still made a few plays that make the future look bright. He threw an interception, yet never looked rattled (unlike Eli Manning). He had the headset shut down on the game-winning play, yet never was fazed, then called a play and delivered a strike. The more I see, the more I like. It's still early, but the base is there.
  2. Will the receivers be more involved? We thought they had to be if Washington had a chance to win. We figured the deep middle would be attacked, which meant receivers had to be a factor. They weren't. Instead, the running game keyed everything.
  1. Where will Campbell improve the most? We thought it would be from a recognition and timing standpoint. It really wasn't. Campbell did make many good decisions, though not on the interception. And his timing is still off with the wideouts, especially Brandon Lloyd. But it takes more than a week – or several – to get that down. Still a lot to like.
  1. How will the crowd react to Campbell? Clearly they were enthused by having him play, but there never really was a chance to cheer his arrival. He was just another guy on the field. But there's no doubt Campbell's progress is what matters most to the fans. It has to, considering his importance to the future here.
  1. Will Joe Gibbs' Wednesday sermon make a difference? We didn't think it would. Instead, what mattered more was Gibbs' insistence on being more physical in practice and then games. The Redskins had two very physical workouts on Wednesday and Thursday and that mattered more than his words. It carried over to the games. It's too bad the Redskins haven't been this physical all along – and that goes back to training camp. They set a bad tone this summer.
  1. Where should the Redskins attack offensively? We said the middle of the Carolina defense, on the ground and through the air. Washington went all over, but the power runs between the tackles worked well. This line is much more suited for that type of game, as is Ladell Betts. They even opened a nice hole for T.J. Duckett, who then made a good cut for a key 19-yard gain.
  1. Is Ladell Betts capable of being a fulltime back? It was hard to tell against the Bucs, but we know that Betts has many fans on this team and those guys are convinced in his ability. He will not wow anyone, and did not do that Sunday. But he does play hard and runs hard. Also, he's improved in protection. On the game-winning pass, he did a nice job picking up the blitz.
  1. What do the Redskins need to do defensively? Obviously, they had to stop Steve Smith and stop the run. Amazingly, they did both. We say it that way because Smith usually gets his catches no matter what. But not Sunday. Sure, he had a touchdown catch, but it required a fantastic play on his part because the coverage was there. Shawn Springs, who covered Smith all game in a departure for how the Redskins use their corners, did an excellent job all game. Another key was the play of the other corners as none of the other Panther receivers could do much of anything. That enabled Washington to consistently play a safety over the top of Smith. It's why Vernon Fox picked off a pass.
  1. Have the Redskins given up? We did not think so completely, but there were questions about some guys based on how they played against Tampa Bay. Of course, there was that ESPN.com article that suggested friction among the coaches in the secondary and also with Gregg Williams and the players. There's no doubt the players think Williams is arrogant; that's not a newsflash. And some of what was in that article, maybe even a lot, was true. But keep this in mind: you always have to question, when it's one source, what the motivation is. Clearly, in this case it's a ticket out of town. Wonder who might want that? One thing: it's not Shawn Springs, which was the first guess for many. He's playing in his hometown, he has a post-playing career in the media in Washington.
  1. Will the Redskins win? I said no. Carolina was playing too well and the Redskins had too many question marks to rationally pick an upset. But the Redskins came out more determined than they had in recent games. They did not play a great game offensively – not with less than 300 yards despite fantastic field position. But they played physical on both sides and they stayed committed to the game plan. They fumbled three times, but didn't lose any and picked off two passes. Players such as Lemar Marshall, Sean Taylor and Carlos Rogers had their best games in a while. It made a huge difference.

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