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Will Campbell Be "Our" Quarterback?

Will Campbell Be "Our" Quarterback?

I was on my way home from Redskins Park on Wednesday and the guest on SIRIUS NFL Radio (which I listen to waaay too much) was Carl Peterson, the GM of the Kansas City Chiefs. Among the topics was the announcement that had been made earlier in the day that Trent Green had been cleared to play after suffering a concussion in the season opener and that he would start at quarterback for the Chiefs this Sunday. Green got the nod despite the fact that Damon Huard performed well in his absence.

Why make this move? “Trent Green is our quarterback,” Peterson said.

No further explanation was needed. Green is the face of the Kansas City Chiefs. When you think of that team in this decade, Green behind center is what comes to mind. If he’s healthy, he plays; there is no decision to be made. Green has a solid track record of accomplishment, of getting the job done for the Chiefs.

And, even though he started his career bouncing around as a third stringer and cut his teeth as a starter in Washington and in St. Louis, Green’s identity is that of a Chief.

When Peterson said that Green is “our” quarterback, he wasn’t just speaking on behalf of the Chiefs organization, he was talking for all Chiefs fans in Kansas City and wherever else they may be.

Mark Brunell has been the Redskins’ starting quarterback for the better part of the last two and a half years. He’s had his ups and downs but even in the up times the city and the team’s fans at large haven’t embraced him. Brunell has never been referred to as “our” quarterback in the sense that Peterson used that term in talking about Trent Green. He has been and always will be a Jacksonville Jaguar since he spent his prime years on that team.

The Redskins have not had an “our” quarterback in a long time. Taking just the years between the end of Joe Gibbs’ first stint as head coach here and now, 1993 through the first nine games of 2006, the Redskins have had 16 different quarterbacks start games. Only two quarterbacks—Gus Frerotte in 1996 and Brad Johnson in 1999—have started all 16 games in a season. Frerotte is the leader in starts in that time frame with 46. Johnson only lasted two seasons here and while Frerotte was a nice story as a seventh-round draft pick fans were always looking to replace him, not embrace him.

Mark Rypien could have been the man but he only started every game in two seasons, 1990 and the 1991 Super Bowl season and other than in ’91 there were always doubts about him. Doug Williams won a Super Bowl but he started out as a Tampa Bay Buc and he played in just five games in that championship 1987 season before the playoffs. Williams’ high water mark in starts for the Redskins was in 1988 when he started 11 games. He was well liked, perhaps beloved for a time, but he never was “our” guy.

You have to go back to Joe Theismann to find the last one who was “our” quarterback. For seven straight seasons he was the guy behind center. He didn’t even like to come out of the game for a single snap, even when the score got out of hand. His entire NFL career was spent in Washington. Theismann was a brash, arrogant, quarterback who loved to hear himself speak, but he was “our” brash, arrogant blowhard.

Before him there was Billy Kilmer, who didn’t qualify from a steadiness perspective as he started every game just once season, 1971, but became “our” guy with his gritty play and off-field hell raising. For a while, he was only “our” quarterback to half of the city as the other half embraced Sonny Jurgensen, the team’s last true superstar at the position. Before Kilmer arrived, Washington was Sonny’s town. Jurgy was the very embodiment of the concept of “our” quarterback. Going back further, there was Eddie LeBaron and, of course, Sammy Baugh.

Considering that the most recent quarterback embraced by all of Washington as “ours” ended his career over 20 yards ago, we are due to have another one. Jason Campbell will make his first start at quarterback on Sunday. He has all of the physical tools plus the looks, demeanor, and personality to become “our” man. The Redskins drafted him and have been grooming him for this moment for the past year and a half. If he succeeds, it will be as a Washington Redskin.

Will Jason Campbell become “our” quarterback? It’s not something that can be anointed; it has to be earned. Campbell will start the process of earning it on Sunday.

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Redskins draft countdown: Georgia RB Sony Michel

Redskins draft countdown: Georgia RB Sony Michel

Redskins draft countdown

Sony Michel

Running back
Georgia

Sony Michel is a solid north-south runner who also can bounce outside and pick up yardage. He shared playing time with Nick Chubb last year and still ran for 1,277 yards, averaging 7.9 yards per carry, and scored 16 touchdowns against SEC competition. Michel also showed his bona fides in the passing game, catching 64 career passes and showing that he can handle pass protection. 

Height: 5-11
Weight: 220
40-yard dash:4.54

Projected draft round:2

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins have made no secret of their desire to draft an upgrade at running back. They would prefer one who can catch passes out of the backfield and gain yardage between the tackles. Sony Michel can do both as well as pop for yardage on the outside. There is a good chance that he will be on the board when the Redskins draft in the second round. Since they don’t have a third-round pick, this may be the last chance to get an upgrade in this draft. 

Film review: vs. Notre Dame, vs. Alabama

—The first thing to say here is that the Bulldogs had a quality run-blocking offensive line. Michel frequently had big holes to run through. For his part, Michel maximized his gains when he had a big opening, hitting it quickly and working north-south. 

—He also can pick up yards through just a small crease, again by hitting it with urgency and gaining momentum to drive for the final few yards. 

—Michel didn’t do a whole lot of pass protection in the plays I watched, but he was solid when he did. On one play against Notre Dame, he put a blitzing defensive back on the ground. Against Alabama, he got in the way of likely first-round pick Da’Ron Payne long enough to allow the quarterback to get off a deep pass. To be sure, he didn’t blow Payne away but his block was effective.

—Besides the O-line, Michel also got quality blocking from his receivers. Again, he took advantage, reading the blocks and maximizing the gain. 

—He also can get it done without much help. On third and 20 against the vaunted Alabama defense, he headed up the middle and quickly went outside when he saw no running room. He headed to the sideline with four Alabama defenders and no blockers in sight. Michel found another gear and accelerated down the sideline to convert the third and long.  

—He later converted a third and 10 on a draw play, quickly getting up to speed and zipping through traffic to move the sticks. 

Potential issues: Although he has decent speed, he’s not the home run threat you might want in a back taken in the second round. And Michel isn’t really a power back either, although he can fight for extra yards. 

Despite his limitations, there is chatter that Michel might be drafted early in the second round or perhaps even late in the first. It’s hard to separate the smoke and speculation from reality as we sit a week before the draft starts. But he’s a talented back and if Derrius Guice goes off the board earlier than most expect, a run on runners could include Michel. 

Bottom line: Saquon Barkley is the obvious top running back and he surely will be gone when the Redskins pick in the first round. After that, the Redskins have plenty of options. They like Guice but 13 may be too high for him and he is likely to be gone when their pick in the second is on the clock. Michel is one of a few possibilities there, a group that also would include Michel’s former teammate Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones of USC and others. Without a peek at the draft board in Ashburn, we will just have to wait and see. 

Redskins draft countdown

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

 

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The NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

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USA Today Sports Images

The NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

Since the 2017 regular ended we’ve known who the Redskins will play this coming season and we have known where the games will be played. Tonight we find out the when. 

The NFL schedule will be released tonight at 8 p.m. The NFL will fill in the blanks beside all of the prime time games, the Thanksgiving Day games and the Sunday doubleheader and night games. 

Last year, the Redskins were coming off of an 8-7-1 season where they just missed making a second straight playoff appearance. Kirk Cousins was becoming one of the more recognizable names in the NFL and the schedule makers thought they would be enough of a draw to warrant five prime time slots. They were scheduled for a Sunday night, two Monday nights, and two Thursday nights, including a first-ever home game on Thanksgiving. 

The Redskins may not be as attractive a prime time candidate this year. They went 7-9 and Cousins is gone, although replacement Alex Smith is fairly well-known. It’s nearly a given that two NFC East games will be on prime time. That has been the case every year but one since 2012. We will see what will happen beyond that. 

The prime-time games that the Redskins do have will start a bit earlier than they have in the past. The league announced yesterday that Monday night games will move up from 8:30 p.m. ET to 8:15 p.m. ET and Thursdays will move from an 8:25 p.m. start to 8:20 p.m. Sunday night games move up from 8:30 p.m. to 8:20 p.m.

There has been speculation that the Redskins will play on Thanksgiving, perhaps at Dallas or against another opponent in the night game. That would make three years in a row on Thanksgiving for them. That is not without precedent although it would be unusual. Besides the Lions and Cowboys, who host Thanksgiving games annually, only two teams played in three straight Thanksgiving games. The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between they played at Dallas on Thanksgiving. 

The availability of FedEx Field should not cause any schedule alterations. There are some events scheduled for the venue but concerts by Taylor Swift and Beyonce & Jay-Z, an international soccer game, and the Maryland-Texas college game are all going to be done before the start of the NFL season. 

Here are the Redskins regular season opponents. 

Road

  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Cardinals
  • Saints
  • Jaguars
  • Titans
  • Bucs

Home

  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Packers
  • Panthers
  • Colts
  • Falcons
  • Texans

The preseason opponents were announced earlier this month.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.