Campbell will start against Eagles

The Washington Post's Mike Wise and Jason Reid talk about the moves the Redskins' front office has made to address coaching and offense concerns.
By Barry Svrluga and Jason Reid
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Washington Redskins Coach Jim Zorn said Tuesday he would almost certainly return to Jason Campbell as the starting quarterback for Monday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the first game in which Zorn will relinquish his play-calling duties to offensive consultant Sherman Lewis.

The club also signed veteran offensive tackle Levi Jones, who had been out of work after spending his entire seven-year career as a starter with Cincinnati, in a move that further emphasizes the dire situation of Pro Bowl tackle Chris Samuels. Some NFL sources expect Samuels to miss the rest of the season after suffering a neck injury Oct. 11 at Carolina.

In what is becoming the latest in a string of tumultuous weeks, Zorn, speaking during his weekly appearance on ESPN 980's "The Sports Fix", reiterated that he pulled Campbell at halftime of Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, replacing him with 15-year veteran Todd Collins for the first time in Zorn's 22-game tenure as Washington's coach, in order to create a spark. But after viewing the game film multiple times -- and considering Collins's 6-for-14 performance wasn't enough to win the game -- Zorn said he remains confident in Campbell.

"I think what I'm gonna do is go right back to Jason Campbell," Zorn said. "I needed to take him out, and I think we had some things there that he knew he missed without being under duress. . . . I made the decision but I didn't give up on the young man. I didn't give up on the QB. So that's where I think I'm gonna head as all is said and done here."

Campbell completed 9 of 16 passes for 89 yards, with one interception, in the first half against Kansas City, and the Redskins failed to score in those two quarters against one of the NFL's worst defenses. Zorn and Campbell acknowledged Campbell missed several open receivers, including Santana Moss on a deep seam route that might have gone for a touchdown, and Campbell hadn't led a scoring drive of more than 13 yards in consecutive losses to Kansas City and Carolina.

Tuesday is the off day for NFL players, and the Redskins will reconvene Wednesday to begin preparations for the Eagles. Campbell said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he had not yet been told by Zorn that he would return to the lineup.

"I haven't talked to him about that," Campbell said. "I don't know what to say about that, but I'm just going to get myself ready whether it's me or" Collins who starts.

Collins, 37, has started just three games since 1997, and though he sparked the Redskins with a 42-yard completion to Moss on his first pass against Kansas City, he could not lead them into the end zone. He is also less mobile than Campbell, which could be a factor given the Redskins' patchwork offensive line and Philadelphia's blitzing defense.

"Right now, all I'm trying to do is just do whatever I can to help my team win," Campbell said Tuesday. "It's really not about one person; it's about all of us. We all have to do our part to be successful, and I'm always going to try to do that."

The signing of Jones, 30, could mean further upheaval along the already devastated offensive line -- if not this week, then in coming weeks. Samuels went down on the second play of the Carolina game, and though he was due for further tests Tuesday, Zorn ruled him out for the Philadelphia game. Against Kansas City, the Redskins moved Stephon Heyer from right tackle to left and inserted veteran Mike Williams -- who hadn't played in a regular season game since 2005 before starting at guard against Carolina -- at right tackle, his natural position.

But against Kansas City, which had been allowing more yards than any team in the league, the Redskins struggled to move the ball. Jones, the 10th pick in the 2002 draft out of Arizona State, started 10 games for the Bengals last year, but was released shortly after Cincinnati selected tackle Andre Smith with the sixth pick in the April draft.

Jones missed the final six games of last season because of knee and leg problems, a factor that contributed to his release. Last month, he worked out for the Green Bay Packers, who were struggling with their own injuries along the offensive line, but did not sign with the club. Jones worked out for the Redskins on Tuesday at Redskins Park, and is due at practice Wednesday.

Jones also was involved in a scuffle with then-Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter in May 2007 at a Las Vegas casino. Porter pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery in the incident; Jones was not charged.

Redskins notes: The team also signed running back Quinton Ganther, re-signed defensive end Renaldo Wynn and released running backs Anthony Alridge and Marcus Mason as well as punter Glenn Pakulak.

Ganther, 25, spent three years with the Tennessee Titans, including significant time on the practice squad. He appeared in 13 games with the Titans in 2008, carrying nine times for 61 yards and catching six passes -- the only offensive contributions of his career.

Mason, a training camp darling the past two seasons, carried six times for 19 yards in three games for Washington this season after making the team out of training camp. Alridge, released after training camp and then re-signed off Houston's practice squad, did not appear in a game for Washington.

Pakulak kicked in each of the past two games in place of regular punter Hunter Smith, who has been out because of a groin injury.

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