Did Results Match Preseason Hopes?

The Redskins opened their training camp this summer with high hopes for a healthy preseason, improved defensive play, great strides by starting quarterback Jason Campbell and more. How has reality panned out against those hopes?

Hope: The Redskins hit the practice field on July 27 with a healthy team and a remarkably settled lineup for a team that had been 5-11 the previous season.

Result: Like 2006, when top running back Clinton Portis, No. 1 cornerback Shawn Springs and defensive linemen Cornelius Griffin and Phillip Daniels missed most of preseason, the Redskins were hit hard by injuries again. Portis and four-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Chris Samuels both went down with knee injuries on July 30 and missed four weeks. Top linebacker Marcus Washington and starting quarterback Jason Campbell also missed significant time although all four should be ready for Week 2 at Philadelphia if not sooner.

Hope: The Redskins believed they had upgraded their defense with the additions of middle linebacker London Fletcher and safety LaRon Landry, their top draft choice, as well as the promotion of 2006 rookie Rocky McIntosh to the lineup at weak-side linebacker.

Result: The defense played well in the first three preseason games. The starters didn't allow a touchdown until late in the first half of the third game. Landry, McIntosh and Fletcher have all looked good.

Hope: The Redskins had their fingers crossed that career offensive right tackle Todd Wade could make the transition to left guard, replacing departed free agent Derrick Dockery. If Wade failed, Mike Pucillo, Will Whitticker, Taylor Whitley and Ross Tucker had all started at guard in the NFL.

Result: The 6-foot-8 Wade was struggling with gaining leverage before he injured a shoulder on Aug. 11 at Tennessee and missed most of the next two weeks. Pucillo was inconsistent against Pittsburgh on Aug. 18 and was partly responsible for the blindside hit that almost ended Campbell's season. Hence the Aug. 23 trade of a conditional fifth-round pick to the Jets for Pete Kendall, a 10-year starting guard.

Hope: The Redskins believed that they would have a smoother second preseason in associate head coach Al Saunders after the starters failed to score in four games last August.

Result: The starters failed to find the end zone in seven series at Tennessee. They scored on the second of four possessions against Pittsburgh as Todd Collins finished off Campbell's drive with a touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Lloyd. With Collins starting for the injured Campbell, the starters produced two field goals on five series against Baltimore. That's 13 points on 16 series. To quote former coach Steve Spurrier, "not very good."

Hope: The Redskins believed that Jason Campbell, who started the final seven games of 2006, would continue to show promise as their quarterback.

Result: Campbell had an excellent spring and was having a decent preseason with an 81.4 passer rating and 8.14 yards per attempt but also two fumbles and no touchdown passes along with three sacks in 25 dropbacks. The less than sterling performance is why Coach Joe Gibbs gave Campbell seven series against the Titans and is playing him in the Aug. 30 finale at Jacksonville rather than letting him rest his recovering left knee for the Sept. 9 opener against Miami.


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