- The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2007

His blindside protector will be the rusty Chris Samuels, five weeks removed from spraining his medial collateral ligament.

His blindside competition will be future Hall of Famer Jason Taylor, he of 106 career sacks.

His left guard will be the still new-at-the-position Todd Wade or stopgap Mike Pucillo.

And his left knee still will be the one that took a dangerous shot against Pittsburgh three weeks earlier.

That’s what faces Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell in the Sept. 9 season opener against the Miami Dolphins.

Even though the Redskins‘ optimistic attitude Saturday night was confirmed yesterday morning when an MRI revealed no structural damage and only a left bruised knee, there’s no reason Campbell should play Saturday against Baltimore or even Aug. 30 at Jacksonville.

If it’s a bone bruise, the recovery time is tricky. And although the Redskins should be confident their quarterback of the present and future will be OK, the entire situation is dicey.

The Ravens and Jaguars finished 1-2 last year in fewest yards allowed.

That’s why not playing Campbell until the season opener — even if he returns to practice later this week or early next week — could be the best option.

“Our medical team will make a good decision,” coach Joe Gibbs said last night. “They’ve seen a bunch of these injuries, and Jason has a really good feel for it. If he’s sore, he won’t be out there. I think we’ll see how it goes and play it out through the week.”

Campbell, who once missed two weeks at Auburn because of a sprained knee, said, “This [injury] isn’t anything like that.”

But in a preseason in which the Redskins have been cautious with Clinton Portis’ knee, allowing him ample time to recover, they should do the same with Campbell.

That means Todd Collins should start against Baltimore. That means if Campbell starts at Jacksonville, he should play one series, two tops.

The way he played in a quarter-and-a-half against Pittsburgh showed he’s ready for the regular season; he is 12-for-22 for 179 yards in the preseason. On Saturday, Campbell was able to find Chris Cooley for gains of 14 and 29 yards.

“We have to work on finishing off some drives, but we made a big jump from the first game to the second game,” Campbell said.

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