Trying to Lighten Burden on Campbell

By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Although quarterback Jason Campbell is under the microscope as the Washington Redskins continue their transition to Coach Jim Zorn's version of the West Coast offense, all of the team's top offensive players must raise their level of play for the new scheme to work, several of Campbell's teammates said.

"It's not just about J.C.," wide receiver Santana Moss said. "J.C. has to do his job, but we've all got jobs to do."

The Redskins produced 209 yards of total offense and converted 3 of 13 third-down chances in last week's 16-7 season-opening loss to the New York Giants at Giants Stadium. Campbell completed 15 of 27 passes for 133 yards with one touchdown. He had an 81.2 passer rating.

In the locker room after the game, Moss and Campbell spoke about what went wrong, "but I don't think [Campbell] should be the only person I said something to," Moss said. "Yeah, I said something to him, but I didn't say nothing to him almost as if he did something wrong, or he didn't do something right.

"I just told him it's a long season and that game is behind us now. We've got a lot to look at and a lot to build from."

The blocking schemes also are different this season, putting more pressure on Campbell, so patience is needed now, players said.

"It's a whole lot different for Jason," Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels said. "Last year, we would make all of the [blocking calls] and pretty much make the adjustments against different blitzes. Now, Jason has to make a lot of those calls.

"It's got to be tough. It's hard enough knowing the things that I've got to know. With Jason, he has to know a ton more, so it has to be hard."

'Terrible' for Taylor

Jason Taylor struggled against the run in the opener. New York tight end Kevin Boss, not considered among the league's best blockers at his position, won many individual matchups against Taylor in the first half.

Overall, the Giants totaled 154 yards rushing on 32 attempts (a 4.8-yard average), and running back Brandon Jacobs had 116 yards on 21 rushes (a 5.5-yard average). Taylor was playing for the first time since injuring his right knee Aug. 23 in a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. Scouts have expressed doubts about Taylor's effectiveness against the run because he is listed at 244 pounds.

"Terrible," he said of his performance against the Giants. "We didn't win. I didn't make enough plays to help us win. If we lose a game and you've got four or five sacks, you still didn't play good enough."

As for the status of his right knee, "It's hurt," he said. "I mean, it's hurt. It's a physical game, and my knee is hurt, but that's no excuse, I've got to make more plays. It's not a big deal to me. This is football. We're gonna get hurt, we're gonna get banged up. You've got to play through it."

On Sunday, Washington faces the New Orleans Saints in its home opener. New Orleans tight end Jeremy Shockey, traded from the Giants in July, is considered a better blocker than Boss.

In Taylor's first 11 seasons with the Miami Dolphins, his weight during the season sometimes dropped to less than 240 pounds. Whether the Giants targeted Taylor because of his injury or the belief he is a weak link in the Redskins' run defense, "they did what they did," defensive end Andre Carter said. "That could have been part of the game plan [to run at Taylor], and he knows, in this division, they're going to test him.

"But one thing about it is, we admire his courage. He didn't have to come out. He could have come back for New Orleans. We thank him for coming back and just trying to help out the best way possible."

K. Campbell 'Feeling Better'

Linebacker Khary Campbell, who missed practice Monday after having blood drained from his quadriceps, said he was "feeling better" and hopes to be back at practice today.

"It's better than it was," Campbell said. "I'm not really sure about [practicing today]. We'll just have to see how it feels."

A pocket of blood formed in Campbell's quadriceps, Zorn said, limiting his mobility and prompting trainers to hold him out of practice. Campbell, a key contributor on special teams, should be fine, Zorn said.

Staff writer Dan Steinberg contributed to this report.

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