No Longer Over the Hill, Gang

The Redskins have turned to younger players, such as 25-year-old quarterback Jason Campbell.
The Redskins have turned to younger players, such as 25-year-old quarterback Jason Campbell. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
By Mike Wise
Thursday, September 20, 2007

While surveying a youngster like Jason Campbell outrun the pursuit of Jevon Kearse -- and an Eagles defense that was supposed to crumple him -- a thought came to mind. While watching 23-year-old Anthony Montgomery shed blockers on a veteran offensive line and nearly get his hands on Donovan McNabb, it made you reconsider a tired perception.

Weren't Joe Gibbs and his staff supposed to be all about playing the old guys? Wasn't the prevailing thought leading up to this season that Gibbs, Don Breaux, Joe Bugel and the rest of the cribbage crew were too entrenched in the past to take a chance on the future?

Don't look now, but the Space Cowboys have raided the nursery.

Beyond 2-0, one of the more unmistakable differences from last season is the infusion of youth pumped into these Redskins.

The most obvious is at quarterback, where this season's starter, Campbell, 25, is 12 years younger than the man who opened last season as the starter, Mark Brunell, and has a much hipper nickname. (Let's be honest, J.Cam wins hands down over Mark.) Four starters on offense are 25 or younger. Stephon Heyer, 23, is competing for time on the offensive line in his rookie season. I asked Mike Sellers how this is possible, given the perception of this staff being so enraptured by age and experience.

"Well, we do have the oldest coaching staff in history," the veteran fullback acknowledged. "But they're actually kind of hip."

Huh?

"You look at Breaux, and you think 'old man,' right? But he knows what's going on. You can talk about certain pop-culture things with him. Like rap."

Sixty-seven-year-old Don Breaux? Rap?

"It's kind of crazy to think an old man like that would know, like, for instance, Kanye."

Breaux knows Kanye West?

"Yeah," Sellers said. "You don't feel so awkward talking to the older coaches because they stay in the mix a little bit."


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