The Post-Fame Celebration
Monday, August 4, 2008
CANTON, Ohio, Aug. 3 -- After celebrating the enshrinement of former star players Darrell Green and Art Monk into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Washington Redskins fans were still going strong Sunday in anticipation of another significant moment in franchise history.
Many of the supporters who packed Fawcett Stadium for the induction ceremony a day earlier remained to watch Jim Zorn's head coaching debut against the Indianapolis Colts. Washington kicked off the beginning of the NFL's preseason schedule and the Zorn era with a 30-16 victory over the Colts in front of 22,216.
Quarterback Jason Campbell had a touchdown pass on the game's opening drive, rookie quarterback Colt Brennan impressed in rallying the Redskins to the victory with two touchdown passes in his first professional outing, and the Redskins -- most important -- appeared to make it through without major injuries.
Tackle Stephon Heyer had a sprained right knee "that's nothing serious," Zorn said, and tackle Todd Wade, who was carted off, has an ankle sprain and will be reevaluated next week.
Zorn was a winner in his first game in charge, and the Redskins are in full swing behind him.
"This is a special game that we get to start out with," Zorn said. "The Hall of Fame game, [to] see two Redskins Hall of Famers go in and then to have so many Redskins fans here, it is pretty incredible, really. It is like a home game."
Washington played Denver when it was last in the Hall of Fame game, in 2004. In the first preseason game of former coach Joe Gibbs's second stint with the team, Washington defeated the Broncos, 20-17. Tackle Jon Jansen suffered a season-ending knee injury on the first series.
As expected, many key players were held out on both sides. Members of the Redskins' first-team offense and defense were in the game briefly. Zorn and defensive coordinator Greg Blache planned to use the top two units for about 12 plays or two series, whichever occurred first, players said, and they followed their script.
Zorn's career as Washington's play-caller could not have started better. Overall, Washington's three quarterbacks -- Campbell, backup Todd Collins and Brennan -- completed 19 of 22 passes for 216 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Offensive coordinator Sherman Smith will have significant responsibility in devising game plans each week, Zorn said, but Zorn will direct his version of the West Coast offense. After Washington won the coin toss and elected to receive, rookie safety Chris Horton recovered an onside kick at the Colts 45-yard line.
Campbell, who has been critical of his performance early in camp, looked sharp in leading the Redskins on a three-play scoring drive capped by his 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antwaan Randle El. "I was excited to be able to score on the first drive," Zorn said. "There is nothing more remarkable than that."
The Colts failed to pick up Randle El on a crossing pattern, ending on his uncontested reception in the left corner of the end zone. Campbell also teamed with tight end Chris Cooley on an eight-yard pass and Rock Cartwright, starting in place of Clinton Portis, had a nifty 17-yard run.