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Redskins' Starters May Not Rest Up
"They'll look at it and we'll all be honest about it. We'll regroup. I have no doubt about that. This is a good group. They'll take the opportunity to correct. They'll take the opportunity to reestablish themselves."
Carolina's defensive line applied significant pressure without the help of blitzes. The Panthers' defensive tackles collapsed the pocket in the middle and right tackle Jon Jansen (who sprained his right foot and could miss practice this week, Zorn said) and Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels struggled against edge rushers.
On three of Washington's first four pass attempts, Campbell had "no chance," according to Zorn. "You hope you could drop back and throw on rhythm," Zorn said. We didn't have that chance."
During one stretch spanning two drives in the first quarter, Campbell was sacked three times in six plays. Carolina Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers had a season's worth of highlight-tape footage on the third sack, pushing Samuels into Campbell, forcing a fumble and recovering the ball.
"I hate to say this, and he knows himself, and he did not play the rest of the game like this, but on the fumble [after] Jason got hit in the back, Chris Samuels wasn't ready for the explosion that he had with Julius Peppers," Zorn said. "Now, he anchored [the line] the rest of his time in there, but you've got to be ready for play [number] one. He takes pride in what he does, I know that, so it was hard for me to even say that."
Because of the offensive line's inability to provide consistent pass protection, "it was very challenging from a play-calling standpoint," Zorn said. "I was thinking about not putting our quarterback in a situation where he had to hold on to the ball for a real long time. That would have gotten into an even bigger mess. You saw us getting the ball out quick here and there 'cause it was hard to trust" the offensive linemen.
"I didn't feel like I had that luxury [to go downfield] because of the way that we were pass protecting. You have to feel solid in that pocket. You have to feel like they're going to be able to hold 'em off. You almost feel like putting one of those guys back there and saying, 'Okay, try this. Try to throw with somebody getting walked back in your face.' It's not easy."
The offensive line also struggled to protect Campbell in a 13-10 victory over the New York Jets on Aug. 16. Zorn attributed much of the previous shaky performance to the unit's first look at an aggressive three-four front, but "we got exactly what we prepared for" against Carolina.
"I can't send 'em all away and get a whole new group and all of a sudden go," Zorn said. "We've just got to keep working as to our techniques. We've got to keep showing them what violent football is all about. They need to look at this and kind of dig down within themselves."