It's Up To Campbell
AP Photo-Tony Gutierrez
AP Photo-Tony Gutierrez
Warpath Insiders
Posted Nov 13, 2008


The Washington Redskins' fate against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night will rest largely on the right arm of Jason Campbell.

If Clinton Portis plays—he'll be a game time decision with a sprained MCL—he won't be 100%. Campbell is quoted as saying that he hopes that Portis will be able to work his way up to being 80%.

Ladell Betts practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday and it seems that his status won't be determined until Sunday either.

If those two can't go it will be, according to Zorn, "a committee position". That would be a two-man committee composed of Shaun Alexander, who was picked up a few weeks ago, and Rock Cartwright, who is an excellent special teams performer but not a confidence-inspiring running back.

There is another possibility. If Portis can't go, I think we'll see some of the Wildcat formation with Antwaan Randle El taking snaps at quarterback. Hopefully, he won't think that the shotgun snap is a punt and he will run forward.

But they will go with the standard formation most of the time and that means that Alexander and Cartwright could be carrying the load. If that happens, look for Jason Campbell to air it out.

Campbell had one of his best statistical games ever against the Cowboys in Week 11 last year. He passed for 348 yards and he very nearly brought the Redskins back from a late deficit to win the game in Dallas. Had the Washington defense been able to cover Terrell Owens—he caught four touchdown passes—the Skins may well have prevailed.

They also may have won had Campbell not thrown an interception in the end zone in the last minute of the game. While the Redskins wouldn't have been in the game without Campbell's performance, they ultimately lost in large part because of his mistake.

If Campbell does have to air it out on Sunday night, he will be attacking an area where the Cowboys are vulnerable. Their best corner, Terence Newman, might play but he's coming off of a serious groin injury. Their other best corner, Adam "Don't Call Me Pac-Man" Jones is under suspension, maybe forever. The other corners are nickel back Anthony Henry and rookie Mike Jenkins.

Tony Romo, of course, will be back after missing three games with a broken pinkie on his throwing hand. We don't know if there will be any rust or if there will be lingering issues with the injured digit but I expect him to be near 100%.

But that might not matter if the Redskins secondary is at 100%. It should be as Shawn Springs is scheduled to return and with the newly-acquired DeAngelo Hall ready to play a role. If Hall gets up to speed quickly and Springs can put his injury issues behind him the Redskins will have one of the best secondaries in the NFL.

While it would be a mistake to write off Marion Barber as a threat, the Redskins have done a good job of controlling him. In fact, the whole league has been bottling up Barber pretty well. Since he ripped off 142 yards in Green Bay in Week 3, his best game has been a 100-yard effort in a blowout loss to the Rams.

So, if Portis and Betts are out or playing with limited effectiveness, we should see both teams having problems running the ball. The more accomplished quarterback, Romo, will be going up against the stronger secondary. The QB who still hasn't reached his potential is facing a banged-up group of DB's.

A quarterback can make the leap from being good and having potential to being a star when he puts his team on his back and passes and wills his team to victory when other aspects of the team aren't performing up to par. This could well be Jason Campbell's moment to make that leap.

Redskins 24, Cowboys 21

Rich Tandler blogs about the Skins at RealRedskins.com and he is the author of the upcoming book The Redskins Chronicle. You can reach Rich by email at rich.tandler+real@gmail.com



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