Redskins' Fate Could Lead to Fortune for Campbell

By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 14, 2008

Back at work the other day after the Washington Redskins' bye week, quarterback Jason Campbell sounded upbeat between meetings at Redskins Park.

"The time off was good, real good," Campbell said. "But we've still got a lot we want to accomplish, there's a lot still ahead of us, and we've got to finish the right way."

The same could be said about Campbell himself. He impressed during the team's first nine games in only his second full season as a starter, playing a major role as Washington has remained in contention for a postseason berth. Coaches and players said Campbell performed well in directing the offense under Jim Zorn, the team's first-year head coach and play-caller, and now the Redskins look to Campbell to help guide them to the playoffs with seven games remaining.

If the Redskins attain that goal with Campbell leading the way, owner Daniel Snyder might reward him with a lucrative contract extension.

The stretch run for the Redskins (6-3) begins against the Dallas Cowboys (5-4) on Sunday night at FedEx Field, and the right person is leading them to the finish, many players said yesterday after practice.

"No doubt about it, Jason has played great, and he's a big part of what we've done so far," Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels said of Campbell, the 25th overall pick in the 2005 draft. "When you talk about the guys who have really stepped up their games to put us in a good position, you have to have Jason in there. I think we all knew what Jason could do in this game, but you still have to go out and prove it. He's definitely doing that."

Campbell has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 1,960 yards and ranks seventh in the league with a personal-best 92.4 passer rating. He has made significant strides in committing fewer turnovers than he did through Washington's first nine games last season, throwing eight touchdown passes and only two interceptions.

In the Redskins' final game before their bye week, a 23-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 3, Campbell threw his first interception of the season in the third quarter, ending Washington's NFL-record streak of pass attempts without an interception at 379.

The interception was Campbell's first in 271 attempts, which established a team record. He was picked off a second time on Washington's final offensive play.

Campbell has fumbled three times, resulting in one turnover. During his 2007 season, which was cut short because of a dislocated kneecap, opponents recovered eight of his 13 fumbles.

Campbell's steady approach has helped strengthen his relationship with Zorn.

Seattle Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren, among Zorn's coaching mentors, "always used to say, 'To be able to call plays, you have to be able to trust the QB is going to do what you've planned on with the call.' You just can't make up things," Zorn said. "And I think that's what Jason has been fighting to do the whole time.

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