First Down: Should Redskins stick with Campbell?

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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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TAKE YOUR PICK - SHOULD THE REDSKINS STICK WITH JASON CAMPBELL NEXT SEASON?

Yes — The quarterback has blossomed over the second half of this season despite poor protection from a suspect offensive line and a fleet of new faces catching passes. At this pace, 2009 will go down as Campbell’s best: He already has career-high marks in touchdowns (17), completion percentage (65.3) and quarterback rating (89.0), and his top yardage number (3,245 last season) could fall Monday against the Giants at FedEx Field. He’ll be 28 years old next season, so he’s a quality signal-caller in his prime — something the Redskins haven’t had since 1999, when Brad Johnson was 31.

No — Campbell has a career-high interception number (12) to go with those other career marks. He also has absorbed a lot of hits these last two seasons. Campbell spent the first part of this year struggling to get the Redskins into the end zone against suspect competition, and he was benched in a home loss to Kansas City. And if the Redskins keep him, Campbell likely will have to learn another new offense in 2010; coach Jim Zorn and company almost surely will be dismissed after the season.

Our take — It would be borderline foolish for the Redskins to cut ties with Campbell this offseason, especially if he’s a restricted free agent. The price would be right, and the franchise and its leadership would get an opportunity to take the popular quarterback for a test drive in the team’s new offense. If it works out, the team can sign Campbell to an extension — a win-win for all involved. It doesn’t work? Make the change at that point, when it would be a much less rash decision.

This offseason, Washington should use its high draft pick on a building-block position like left tackle or cornerback or perhaps trade down for more picks — and thus more pieces — who could help keep Campbell upright. With the precious cap space, shore up the defensive backfield and the depth at linebacker and running back. Those moves also would aid the Redskins in protecting late leads.

With Campbell, the Redskins have a proven piece already in place at one of the most important positions on the field. There’s no need to continue to tinker at quarterback when the team has glaring deficiencies elsewhere. And the franchise definitely doesn’t want to be in a scenario where it’s struggling with an overpriced replacement at quarterback — be it a rookie or a veteran — while Campbell has moved on to win somewhere else.

HE SAID WHAT?

“We already knew what he was going to say. We weren’t giving him a round of applause or anything. It’s like somebody turned their back on us.”

Cincinnati tight end Ben Guidugli after coach Brian Kelly told his 12-0 Bearcats he was leaving to take the Notre Dame job

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