- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Of all the issues afflicting the Redskins, starting with the “fresh set of eyes,” quarterback Jason Campbell is the least of them.

This is not intended to be an endorsement of Campbell. We just do not know with him.

And, really, how can anyone know, given the limitations around him?

He is standing behind a beat-up, third-rate offensive line. His wide receivers are either on the downside of their careers or second-tier types. His running game is mostly nonexistent because of, again, a decrepit offensive line and an aging Clinton Portis.

Incidentally, there was no better evidence of the latter than on his 78-yard run midway through the third quarter, when he had only one defender to beat but had neither the extra gear nor finesse to juke the person.

So Portis was dragged down at the Kansas City 10 - no way that would have happened two or three years ago - and another wonderful red-zone opportunity resulted in a field goal.

Yet problems in the red zone are inevitable if the defense has to respect only the Campbell-to-Chris Cooley connection. It certainly does not have to respect the running game or the play-action pass of the Redskins.

And that segues back to Campbell. He has no game-breaking weapons at his disposal. How would Brett Favre be coping in this offense? Peyton Manning? Tom Brady? Not that Campbell is doing anything that prompts comparisons to those future Hall of Fame quarterbacks.

It is just that his is a can’t-win situation. He has been put in a position to fail.

That became abundantly clear after Jim Zorn replaced Campbell at halftime with Todd Collins, and it was anemic business as usual.

With all these obvious drawbacks, the brain trust of the Redskins has promoted the “fresh set of eyes” to the “fresh play caller” on offense. The “fresh set of eyes” has been with the team for about a cup of coffee, so the move makes perfect sense in the dysfunctional football world of Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato.

If there is one thing that is always consistent with the Redskins, it is their dysfunction.

Perhaps the “fresh set of eyes” will unearth a gem or two in the scaled-down playbook of the Redskins. That is another thing with the Redskins. The Redskins are unable to go very deep into their playbook, what with the offensive linemen often giving Campbell a two count of protection before going, “Look out.”

That means quick out passes, quick passes over the middle, screen plays and dump passes.

That means Campbell is rarely able to utilize one of his greatest strengths, which is a strong passing arm.

Zorn announced on his radio show Tuesday that Campbell will be the starting quarterback in the next game. That is at it should be. The Redskins are going nowhere with the 97-year-old Collins, and even if he was worth the second-half gamble against the Chiefs, he is not a long-term solution.

Campbell, too, may not be the long-term solution. But before anyone knows that, the Redskins have a number of serious holes to fill.

Maybe Campbell will wind up being no better than an ordinary quarterback with a strong arm. That would not be the worst fate, as the longtime fans of the Redskins can recall.

His name was Mark Rypien, and he had a career year in 1991, leading the Redskins to the Super Bowl championship.

Rypien was not much of a touch passer, but he could throw the deep ball. The difference between Rypien and Campbell is that Rypien had a stalwart offensive line to protect him, compelling wide receivers and a running game.

Here is a statistic to consider from 1991: Redskins quarterbacks were sacked only nine times, Rypien seven times and Jeff Rutledge twice.

Of course, signing or drafting offensive linemen in the offseason is not all that stirring. You create no buzz with them. And Snyder, as we all know, loves buzz in the offseason.

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