Behind Jason Campbell, Redskins Quarterbacks Jockey for Position

Todd Collins (15) and Colt Brennan are penciled in as Nos. 2 and 3 quarterbacks, but Coach Jim Zorn, left, says the competition is open.
Todd Collins (15) and Colt Brennan are penciled in as Nos. 2 and 3 quarterbacks, but Coach Jim Zorn, left, says the competition is open. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rookie quarterback Chase Daniel was busy chatting following a recent practice, so he didn't hear the footsteps from behind. In one quick motion, Colt Brennan reached out and slapped Daniel's helmet out of his hand. "Rookie!" said Brennan, who for the sake of accuracy, has all of one season under his belt.

"Hey!" Daniel said.

"I've never gotten to do that," Brennan said, as he tore off to the locker room. "It's my first time."

"Second year," conceded Daniel, his helmet on the ground. "Vet."

For the past two weeks, the pecking order among the four quarterbacks in Washington Redskins camp has been clear: Jason Campbell, the leader, the starter; Todd Collins, the reliable, experienced backup; Brennan, the young slinger, not quite ready for prime time; and Daniel, at least a Hail Mary or two from the 53-man roster.

But beginning with Thursday night's preseason opener at Baltimore, coaches will carefully scrutinize every snap, every huddle and every routine throw to see if a change in the depth chart is necessary.

Thursday's game means something different to each of the Redskins' quarterbacks. Campbell isn't expected to get much playing time, which means the other three will spend most of four quarters trying to impress coaches.

"Subconsciously, I realize that Thursday is the start of the next big test," said Brennan, a sixth-round draft pick in 2008. "I have all four preseason dates circled in my head. This is what I've been waiting for."

Zorn has spent the majority of every practice throughout camp shadowing the quarterbacks through drills, so he knows as well as anyone where each currently stands. While training camp has helped players learn the offense, Zorn is curious to see his quarterbacks execute it in a game situation.

He had said entering camp Collins was his backup, but Zorn left open the possibility someone else could win the job.

That's all the opening Brennan needed. He has been going through two-a-day practices these past two weeks determined to improve on last season, when he was designated the team's third-string quarterback for all 16 games. He has never taken a snap in a regular season game.

Last year during the preseason, Brennan earned the devotion of many Redskins fans, completing 36 of 53 passes for 411 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Still, he said his rookie season was more about survival than anything else.

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