Jason Campbell Quiets Critics with Great Performance Against Patriots

Matthew Brown@mlb923Correspondent IAugust 30, 2009

LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 28:  Jason Campbell #17 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after a long completion during a preseason game against the New England Patriots at FedExField on August 28, 2009 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

In the first two preseason games, Campbell had only completed four of his 13 completions and thrown no touchdowns. Chase Daniel threw for two touchdowns in the win over the Steelers last week. With Campbell under center, the starting offense scored a whopping three points in two weeks.

In those two weeks, Campbell managed to avoid pressure when it closed in on him; he made some decent reads, but didn’t hit open targets as noted by his one for seven performance against the Steelers.

Nothing Campbell has done in the first two preseason games has gone towards making a case for his role as the starting quarterback.

Then he took the field against the Patriots.

From the opening snap, Jason Campbell showed great poise and patience in the pocket, making good throws over the course of an opening drive march down the field for the first touchdown of the game.

The second quarter is where Campbell really showed what he is made of.

On another lengthy drive, Campbell hit some short passes early on before finding Chris Cooley open down field for what would become a 73 yard completion. The drive seemed destined to stall in the red zone as the offense was penalized for an illegal shift.

Jason Campbell, not one to be rattled, lined up for a third and goal and dropped back for another pass. Derrick Dorsey stepped up in the pocket and threw a tremendous block on a blitzing Patriot giving Campbell room to roll to his left and assess the receivers looking for room in the end zone.

Campbell looked at all three receivers vying for position in the end zone and didn’t see anything he liked. Linebacker Paris Lenon stepped up towards Campbell looking to put the quarterback on the ground.

Campbell turned his shoulders just enough to throw a pump fake at the closing defender, which made Lenon jump in an attempt to stop the pass he surely thought was coming his way.

With the defender in the air and a clear path to the end zone, Campbell brought the ball down and ran it in himself.

Touchdown Redskins!

Preseason or not, Jason Campbell showed every reason why Redskins fans should have a little faith in him as their starting quarterback.

He showed poise in the pocket, made quick reads and accurate throws. He looked down field and made some deep throws that kept a couple of drives alive and ultimately set up both touchdown drives in the first half. He didn’t throw an interception and took a big hit at the close of the first half.

Campbell was 11 of 19 for 190 yards with a rushing touchdown in the first half.

In the second half, Campbell and the starters made a single series appearance which ended in a punt. Campbell completed a couple of passes, but nothing spectacular.

Taking the first half into account, I dare you to find something wrong with his stat line. He would have had better numbers if not for a couple of drops by receivers, one by none other than Santana Moss.

There is bound to be at least one person, some sports radio DJ or football analyst that will criticize Campbell for some infinitesimal mistake or technical “hitch” despite his impressive showing. I would just like to highlight how well Campbell took advantage of the deficiencies the Patriots’ secondary.

Many of Campbell’s critics are quick to talk about how he doesn’t make decisions quick enough and he holds the ball too long, neither of which were on display in this dame.

Aside from Campbell, there were plenty of bright spots on the offensive side of the ball for Washington. Malcolm Kelly made some good catches and had some nice yards after the catch. Devin Thomas looked good returning kicks and making a couple key catches on some early drives.

The biggest thing that stood out about the offense was the use of Chris Cooley over the middle and on deep routes. Last season he caught a ton of passes but wasn’t utilized to the best of his potential. He didn’t show up in red zone situations in the game against the Patriots, but he is being used more effectively than last season.

As with any preseason game, nothing is perfect. There is plenty of room for improvement and the starters will have the remainder of the preseason to do just that. The defense was less than stellar against Tom Brady and the Patriots starters. The secondary looked bad on Randy Moss’ pair of touchdown catches inside the 30.

The defensive line put adequate pressure on Brady, with Albert Haynesworth landing a big hit on Brady which was ultimately Brady’s last snap of the game. The offensive line kept the pass rush off of Campbell’s back but didn’t open many holes for the running game.

Despite ultimately losing, the Redskins showed a little of what they can do. Jason Campbell stepped up and showed a lot of people exactly why he is and should be the starter.

Surely Todd Collins hasn’t shown he should be the starter and fan favorite Colt Brennan has thrown some costly interceptions, one of which went for a 99 yard touchdown for the Patriots. He did, however, make up for the interception with a deep strike to rookie upstart Marko Mitchell for the score.

Chase Daniel has been lights out in his appearances, but it comes against second and third stringers, which is hardly the real deal for the NFL.

With only one more preseason game to go before teams are expected to cut their rosters to 53 by the start of the season, there is still so much that is unknown about this Redskins team.

Fans can only wait and see what the team will offer come kickoff week one against NFC East division rival New York Giants.


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