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Campbell's Passing Grade

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Jason Campbell displays a knack for evading the rush and making big plays, showing "he's a cool customer," Coach Joe Gibbs said. (Chris Mcgrath - Getty Images)

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By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 23, 2007

No one has published a how-to manual for inexperienced NFL quarterbacks seeking good timing with wide receivers. And you won't find textbooks explaining the nuances of passing while facing bull-rushing defensive linemen and blitzing linebackers. So Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell and his wide receivers will figure it out together.

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The Redskins are pleased with Campbell's developing relationship with the receiving corps, coaches said, citing that progress as among the reasons for the 2-0 start. The Redskins face the New York Giants today at FedEx Field.

Despite only nine career starts, Campbell has often appeared in sync with starting wide receivers Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El, combining on big plays in victories over Miami and Philadelphia. There also have been bumps, with unfamiliarity between Campbell and the receivers contributing to some incomplete passes and squandered scoring opportunities.

But considering Campbell's limited time with the receivers, coaches said they are pleased.

"Jason's relationship with those guys is at a high level and it'll continue to get better," associate head coach Al Saunders said. "He's still young in his growth with those guys, and every day is another day to work on their consistency and their timing together. I'm excited about where we're going."

Moss and Randle El shared the spotlight in the first two games.

In the season-opening 16-13 overtime victory over the Dolphins, Randle El caught five passes for a career-best 162 yards. He teamed with Campbell on 49- and 54-yard receptions.

Against the Eagles on Monday night, Moss had a game-high 89 yards on six catches -- including a 48-yard reception -- in a 20-12 victory. Randle El was slowed because of cramps (he said he missed several plays while receiving fluids intravenously in the locker room), but had four catches for 44 yards.

Tight end Chris Cooley caught Campbell's only touchdown pass this season. The role of wide receiver Brandon Lloyd continues to shrink each week. Lloyd was held without a catch in the first two games and has yet to score a touchdown in 17 games, including 12 starts, with the Redskins.

Randle El, who replaced Lloyd as a starter late last season, has shown signs of becoming the complementary receiver the Redskins have sought for Moss. Moreover, the team recently signed wide receiver Reche Caldwell, who started for the New England Patriots last season.

Randle El credits Campbell for his fast start this season.

"The relationship . . . it's good. You knew it was going to be good because of how hard we worked in the offseason," he said. "If you look from the first game to the second game, you can see there's progress, and that's the biggest thing you look for. But you're still working on it, so you're still going to miss. You don't want to miss, so you just have to keep going back at it again and again."


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