K. Campbell Is Angry at Himself For Blocked Punt

By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Being 2-4 was bad enough, but the cruelty of competition will gnaw at Khary Campbell until Sunday in Indianapolis, the next time he'll step onto the football field.

Campbell, one of the Washington Redskins' special teams leaders who has had a strong year, was bitterly self-critical about his part in allowing a Derrick Frost punt to be blocked for a safety during Sunday's 25-22 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The play occurred with 7 minutes 25 seconds left in the third quarter and the Titans leading 20-14. The mood had darkened and the fans had rained boos on the offense, because the Redskins had gone three and out. The capper to that drive came on third and five from the Redskins 25-yard line, when quarterback Mark Brunell threw into the turf, missing an open Santana Moss at the 31.

Frost took the snap from Ethan Albright at the 10 and walked into his kick, which was blocked by Titans tight end-fullback Casey Cramer at the 14. The ball caromed into the end zone, where Frost batted it out of bounds for a safety, setting off a second chorus of boos on a lost afternoon.

When Albright snapped the ball, he made a quick move to his right. At the same time, Campbell, who was situated on the line, moved to his left, allowing Cramer to speed through the crease untouched.

"That's the toughest thing. You go out and work hard and do everything you can out there and then you make one play that costs your team," Campbell said. "You have to keep telling yourself that this is why you have to be consistent on every single play, every single time, because there's no letup. Once you let up, that's when you can make a mistake."

That Campbell accepted the blame for what Coach Joe Gibbs called a "mental mistake" illustrated how thin the margin can be, even for successful players. Campbell, along with Rock Cartwright, has been the Redskins' most consistent special teams player. Honoring his play on special teams, the Redskins two weeks ago awarded him the closest parking space to the team facility -- a perk given to the best performers on a given week -- with his number 50 painted in the slot.

"We've got guys busting their hump over there," Gibbs said. "Those guys, they hate it. They've come over and talked to me about it. One of the sad things where you can be busting yourself, and make a mistake that costs the team. Nobody has more respect than the guys who cover punts and kickoffs."

'We Don't Have a Swagger'

Defensive end Renaldo Wynn said the Redskins traditionally have played best with their backs to the wall, which is why he expects a big effort Sunday at 5-0 Indianapolis. Cornerback Shawn Springs, who returned for the Titans game after missing two months with abdominal and groin injuries, said the Redskins must regain their swagger.

"We're just not pushing people around. We're not dominating them. I don't know where our swagger has gone. Obviously, we don't have a swagger," he said. "Maybe we're banged up. At the back end, we need to make more plays when we have the opportunity. We haven't done that so far. It goes on and on.

"How do you get it back? People have the attitude that they want to go out there and ball. If you don't have that, then it's not going to come back."

Colts' Stokley to Miss Sunday's Game

Indianapolis slot receiver Brandon Stokley will miss Sunday's game against the Redskins with a knee injury. With star wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne on the outside, Stokley has been a dangerous inside receiver and is one of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's prime targets, with six receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. With Stokley out, Manning has looked more over the middle to tight end Dallas Clark, who has 11 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Tight ends have presented a difficult matchup for the Redskins' defense. . . .

Starting right cornerback Carlos Rogers was wearing a cast on his right hand after having surgery in which three screws were implanted. He broke his thumb Sunday. . . .

Starting middle linebacker Lemar Marshall left Redskins Park wearing a walking cast on his left ankle. "It's a sprained ankle. It doesn't look like it, but I should be ready to go," he said.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company