- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2007

Eighteen years ago, Washington Redskinscoach Joe Gibbs had seen one too many turnovers from 27-year-old quarterback Mark Rypien, so a day after he lost two fumbles and threw three interceptions against the Los Angeles Raiders, Rypien was benched for two games.

On Sunday, Gibbs watched 25-year-old quarterback Jason Campbell lose three fumbles at New England. But Gibbs is not even considering a change, chalking up Campbell’s bad day as part of his development.

“Each one of these things are learning experiences for him,” Gibbs said. “He takes everything to heart.”

Campbell has been responsible for 10 turnovers this season. The Redskins have recovered four of the eight fumbles he has been credited with.

Campbell said yesterday at Redskin Park the solution is simple: Put two hands on the football whenever possible.

“As a quarterback, you’re always your own worst critic,” he said. “For me, one thing I’m doing in practice is trying to hold on to the football with two hands. Sometimes it’s tough when you’re in the act of throwing and the ball gets knocked out of your hand. That’s a different situation.

“The ones I feel I can tuck it really quick, I have to put two hands on it. [The Patriots’] Mike Vrabel did a great job because he got all three of them and he had his eye on the football. When I saw him coming, he was trying to make the smart play. He knew he wasn’t going to get to me, so he was going to try to get the ball.”

Just like Rypien recovered — he returned to the lineup after two games, won his last five starts and finished with 22 touchdowns — the Redskins are confident Campbell can bounce back.

“The good thing about Jason is not a lot bothers him,” center Casey Rabach said. “An errant pass that gets picked off or a fumble, he doesn’t go in the tank or get [ticked] off. He just goes back to work, and that’s all you can ask from him in his leadership position.”

Said Gibbs: “We can help him, too. We talk about pass protection, and it’s about the total team. That showed up [Sunday]. You can’t let that happen to the quarterback.”

The Redskins have allowed six sacks in the last three games, but Campbell has been pressured several other times, resulting in rushed passes or throwaways.

“We need one more second in pass [protection] time,” assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel said. “We have to protect that kid because he can throw it 50, 60 yards down the field, and that’s what we have to do. You have to be a road block. I can get Humpty Dumpty in here to hold up a guy for 21/2 seconds. But we need to make them run over us to get to the quarterback.”

Meetings no big deal

Most Redskins players downplayed the meetings they had Monday with each other and Gibbs. The defense, for example, meets every Friday without the coaching staff present.

“We just talked about the things we need to do to improve,” Campbell said. “We’re still 4-3, and that’s the way we looked at it, and we said we still have an opportunity to achieve a lot of goals, so we talked about what we’re going to do from this point on the rest of the season to improve that.”

Cartwright, Smoot return

Cornerback Fred Smoot (hamstring) and kick returner Rock Cartwright (quadriceps) went through a full practice. Neither played at New England.

Tight end Todd Yoder was limited because of an ankle injury.

Switching it up

The Jets became the 14th team to switch quarterbacks because of injury or performance when Kellen Clemens was installed as the starter Monday.

Clemens started in the Week 2 loss at Baltimore because of Pennington’s ankle injury. He completed 29 of 59 passes for 362 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

“He’s been doing an outstanding job,” coach Eric Mangini said. “When he had the opportunity in Baltimore, he played well in a difficult environment and with the amount of pressure they throw at teams. … It’s less about Chad and more about giving Kellen the opportunity he’s earned.”

End quote

Bugel offered the quote of the day about the Redskins’ offensive struggles: “We’re everybody’s Homecoming game right now. Nobody is scared of us. The Jets probably want to play us every day of the week.”

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