- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Nothing like an 0-2 start and shoddy play by the starting quarterback to fill up the mailbag. Foremost on the minds of Washington Redskins fans this week is Mark Brunell. And if a small sampling of questions and comments is any indication, Redskin Nation wants Todd Collins or Jason Campbell to run the offense Sunday at Houston.

Q: Joe Gibbs stuck with Mark Brunell entirely too long in 2004 (nine weeks), when most of the nation realized by about Week 3 or 4 that something was seriously amiss with his play. How long will it take this time for the NFL’s most conservative (and stubborn) coach to realize that, like Old Yeller, it’s time to put Brunell out of his misery and bring on the (admittedly raw) Jason Campbell? — Larry Rodgers, Phoenix

A: Gibbs was too loyal to Brunell in 2004 and he later admitted he should have gone to Patrick Ramsey earlier. It would be tough to believe that Brunell’s leash is just as long this year. His play against Minnesota and Dallas raises numerous concerns about his arm strength, ability to move in the pocket and willingness to throw the long ball.

Q: If we fall to 0-3, why would we not give Campbell a chance at starting? Brunell is on his way out and our future will start then. We can’t afford to keep him on the bench until next year, we would like to see what we have in him. — T. Wright

A: If disaster does strike in Houston and the Redskins are 0-3, it would be stunning if Brunell wasn’t benched. But my guess is that Todd Collins would get a shot before Campbell.

Q: OK, I know this is going to sound crazy, but hear me out. … The Redskins clearly have problems at quarterback. The Packers are going nowhere and Brett Favre might want out. Any chance of No. 4 gun-slinging in burgundy and gold this season? — Tom Pepper.

A: A younger Dan Snyder probably would have made the call to Green Bay on the limo ride from Texas Stadium to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on Sunday night. A younger Danny also would have tried to sign Terrell Owens in the offseason. But Favre going anywhere is a long shot and the Redskins making a desperation move like that is an even longer shot.

Q: Seeing that we’ve been abysmal on offense and we’re only one game off the rest of the NFC East, would replacing Brunell with Campbell only be considered a “move for the future” or could they contend for a playoff spot this year? — Brent van de Graaff

A: Going to Campbell at this point would represent a white flag of sorts to the 2006 season because he’s bound to struggle against some of the tougher defenses the Redskins have to face. But Campbell taking his lumps now could translate into a 2007 season that isn’t all about rebuilding and getting the kid’s feet wet.

Q: My concern is the defense. What is going on with the defensive front four? They literally just did not make a dent. I mean, Cornelius Griffin did nothing to hold the middle. I think he is the key and has not showed up yet. Even last year when he was double teamed, he still created problems and yet he has not even showed up this year. — Dennis Miller

A: Griffin was the Redskins’ best defensive player last year but when the defensive ends aren’t getting to the quarterback, that lets opponents pay more attention to Griffin. The front four has one sack in two games (Demetric Evans against the Vikings) and it’s critical that newcomer Andre Carter start doing something — anything — to take the attention off Griffin and fellow defensive tackle Joe Salave’a.

Q: I noticed several times in the Dallas game that in third-and-long situations, Washington rushed only three lineman. Why? Each and every time Bledsoe sat back in the pocket and found the open man in the zone defense. I think Gregg Williams was out-thinking himself. — Mike Fisher

A: Call it the Shawn Springs Effect. With Springs, the Redskins could blitz one of their safeties because he’s so good in man coverage. Without him, they need to keep their safeties in coverage to help out the cornerbacks and linebackers.

Q: Does it looks like Joe Gibbs is still calling the plays, by the way they played at Dallas? They have all these high-dollar receivers and didn’t use them properly and when they tried to pass, Dallas knew they were going to do it. — Ron Bove

A: The Redskins had to commit to the pass when they fell behind in the second half. I think Al Saunders is calling the right plays. The benefit of watching the game in person is you can watch how many different routes are being run and who’s getting open. The receivers are finding open spaces. It’s now up to the offensive line to block better and Brunell to be more accurate.



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