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WP: Campbell's Confidence Grows With Each Start


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Campbell's Confidence Grows With Each Start

By Jason Reid

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, November 22, 2007; E01

It wasn't about making demands or issuing ultimatums. That's not how Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell does things. But Campbell did push for the team to consider signing his former college teammate and friend, wide receiver Anthony Mix, who was added to the roster Tuesday.

Campbell's assertive move off the field coincides with his expanding role in the Redskins' offense. With Washington trying to emerge from a crowded pack in the NFC and earn its first playoff berth since the 2005 season, Coach Joe Gibbs has put more on the young quarterback's shoulders, and Campbell has responded. His production has increased since Gibbs and Al Saunders, the associate head coach-offense, recently opened up the game plan, although the Redskins have lost their last two games and three of the last four.

On Sunday, Campbell will return to the site of his first NFL start as the Redskins (5-5) face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4) at Raymond James Stadium. A third-year pro, Campbell has made strides in running the offense and leading the team since replacing Mark Brunell as the starter in Week 10 of last season, but Campbell says he is focused on the team's performance. The Redskins have six games remaining, and Campbell is determined to help them sprint to the finish.

"It's all about the team game. This is a team sport," Campbell said yesterday at Redskins Park. "You know you have a lot to learn when you're a young quarterback, but at the same time you're trying to do everything you can to help lead the team to the playoffs. I'm the type of guy who could go out there and throw for five touchdowns, but if we lose, it's like you didn't throw for any. I feel like there are other plays I can make. I always feel like there's something else I can do to help us win."

Lobbying for Mix was part of that process. In part because of Campbell's strong recommendation, the Redskins acquired Mix, formerly on the New York Giants' practice squad. At 6 feet 5, 235 pounds, Mix is as tall as Campbell, his former Auburn teammate, and the biggest of the wide receivers on the roster.

With wide receiver James Thrash recovering from a high-ankle sprain, Gibbs sought players with the potential to replace Thrash in some of the team's jumbo packages -- formations that include only one wide receiver usually for run-blocking purposes -- and Mix could join the competition to become the primary No. 3 wideout. Starters Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El have been slowed much of the season because of injuries, contributing to Washington's season-long auditions at the position.

Veterans Reche Caldwell and Keenan McCardell were signed early in the season. The little-used Caldwell has been inactive in five of nine games with the team. McCardell has played well when given opportunities, but at 37, he is not in the Redskins' long-term plans. Injured wide receiver Brandon Lloyd is not expected to return next season, so the Redskins signed Mix, who was undrafted in 2006 and signed with the Giants as a free agent. He had three receptions for 39 yards in four games for the Giants.

Campbell acknowledged he spoke with team officials about Mix but played down his involvement "in the whole thing," he said. "They just asked me what I thought and I told them. I don't ever try to tell the coaches what to do. But if they ask for my opinion about something that can help the team, help us win, then I'm going to give it to them."

Some of his teammates, however, have noticed subtle changes in Campbell, who has exhibited more confidence since Gibbs and Saunders took off the handcuffs in a 33-25 loss to Philadelphia on Nov. 11. Campbell was sharp in Washington's first extended use of the no-huddle offense this season. He completed 23 of 34 passes for 215 yards and a personal-best three touchdowns with no interceptions.

In last week's 28-23 loss to Dallas, the Redskins took many deep shots downfield. Campbell passed for a career-high 348 yards (his first 300-yard game) and two touchdowns with one interception.

"His confidence is growing a little bit more," Randle El said. "He's always been confident, always been very unique in the way that he handles the huddle and always very calm out there. But these last couple of weeks, it's like he's said to himself, 'This is really becoming my deal.' He definitely likes it and Coach [Gibbs] likes it. Hopefully, we'll be able to keep on doing it."

The rest of the league has noticed Campbell's development.

this guy has played in almost the same amount of games as Romo sits to pee has. Romo sits to pee has been in the league 4 yrs but has never taken a snap. So don't say that Romo sits to pee has more experience. I think this board is treating Campbell to much like a baby. Let him play

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Unfortunately their are a few out there that don't like JC on this board...



I think a lot of this is caused by the media love for Romo sits to pee ( and yes, he is playing lights out ) and the way Cutler in Denver is playing. But what people don't realize is the different coaching strategies and the talent surrounding them and in Denvers part desparation when they were losing and willingness to really open it up on offense. Injuries also has had a lot to do to. Especially the right side of Washingtons O line.

Impatience to win, and yes, I am too sometimes.

I also look back on some of the great QB's and how slow they got started. Favre was traded from the Falcon, I think. Elways first year or so he looked like an almost bust. Then some of the flash in the pan QB's or ones that never could win the big one. ie. Marino, Kelly etc that is a long list.

With all that being said it's actually been fun to watch JC this year and I really feel he was a great pick up.

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