His watching and waiting status on Sundays hasn't changed, but second-year quarterback Jason Campbell was the hot interview at Redskin Park yesterday.
Campbell split the first-team snaps with veteran backup Todd Collins because starter Mark Brunell missed a third straight practice with pulled rib muscles. Campbell also took the bulk of that work last Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I'm getting more and more comfortable," Campbell said. "Doing it last week, I was able to carry over things to this week. It made me feel like I wasn't an outsider looking in, that I was actually in the group. You can know everything you need to know, but you have to build that chemistry."
Campbell's extra work also came a day after Washington's opponent this week, the Dallas Cowboys, pounded the Carolina Panthers in young quarterback Tony Romo's first NFL start. Romo, who went undrafted out of Eastern Illinois, waited more than three years in Dallas for his chance.
Campbell, who has been a backup since Washington traded three draft picks to select him in the first round in 2005, said he was impressed with Romo's first start.
"He played with a lot of poise," Campbell said. "That's something you have to do when your first time comes. No matter how many starts you've had, you have to play aggressive. ... You've just got to stay patient, stay confident, stay positive until your number is called.
"You go through different trials in life. Hopefully [I'm not playing] for a reason and it will pay off one day. I've seen guys thrown in there who weren't ready. I've seen guys who've had to wait. ... [San Diego's] Philip Rivers is having a good year [after sitting for two seasons]. I support Mark every way. Until my time comes, I will always support him."
Brunell said he expects "to be back strong" for tomorrow's practice and to start against Dallas.
Coach Joe Gibbs said there has been no change in the order of his quarterbacks. He added that he talks to Campbell "a lot about patience," then said, "Anytime Jason gets to work, it's good for him and good for us."
Receiver Santana Moss, who strained his left hamstring in loss at Indianapolis Oct. 22, hasn't been back on the field since.
"It's not where I can do what I want to do, and you really don't know [how the hamstring will react] until you get out there," Moss said. "I'm concerned because I want to do a lot of stuff, but being a guy who has had to deal with [injured hamstrings] ... if you go out and try to be Superman, you can prolong the healing process. I don't want to do that. Hopefully, I can play Sunday. I really don't want to miss Sunday, but I don't want to miss any Sunday."
Running back Clinton Portis, who sprained his left ankle against the Colts and wore a protective boot the next two days, joined Moss in missing a third consecutive practice.
"It's coming along," Portis said. "I did a little work [on the side]. I'm sure we'll do more on Wednesday."
Middle linebacker Lemar Marshall remained sidelined with a sprained left ankle after being inactive against the Colts, the first game he had missed since he moved into the starting lineup in Week 3 of 2004. While he hopes to be ready for Dallas, Marshall said he was surprised his ankle hadn't sufficiently healed to allow him to practice.
Receiver Antwaan Randle El took limited work because of a sore right heel but hopes he will be ready to play Sunday. Linebacker Marcus Washington, offensive tackle Chris Samuels and receiver Brandon Lloyd all returned after not practicing last Wednesday.
Pep talk pays off
Randle El hasn't made the Redskins winners in his first season in Washington, but his prerecorded pep talk -- which was shown on the scoreboard -- might have helped his alma mater, Indiana, beat Michigan State on Saturday.
While with Pittsburgh, Randle El became friendly with now second-year Hoosiers coach Terry Hoeppner, who had coached Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at Miami of Ohio. So when Indiana contacted Randle El about making the tape, he immediately agreed.
"I don't even remember what I said, but I'm happy if it made a difference," Randle El said.