- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2009

Who’s back: Starter Jason Campbell and backups Todd Collins and Colt Brennan

Who’s new: Rookie free agent Chase Daniel

2008 review: Playing his first full season, Campbell didn’t throw an interception until the ninth game, but his production dipped along with the entire offense during the second half — five touchdowns and all six of his interceptions. Campbell completed 62.3 percent of his passes, but the passing game limped to 22nd in the NFL.

Offseason review: It was a tumultuous few months for Campbell as owner Dan Snyder tried to replace him twice only to be rebuffed by Denver for Jay Cutler and Cleveland for the No. 5 draft pick (which the Jets traded for to draft Mark Sanchez). Campbell said all the right things during the offseason, but he probably knows this is a make-or-break year for him.

Three issues

1. Can Campbell ultimately succeed? He had to be bruised by Snyder’s lack of faith, but he has the locker room and coach Jim Zorn on his side. This is Campbell’s best chance in three years as a starter to take a big leap. He’s comfortable with the system, thinks second-year players Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas will help out the passing game and has a favorable early-season schedule.

2. Is the No. 2 job really up for grabs? Potentially. The Cult of Colt has made Brennan one of the Redskins’ most popular players, but fans don’t get to make this call. If Collins proves he is still functional, the job is his. But if Brennan shines during his heavy dose of preseason playing time, Zorn will have a tough decision to make. The guess is he sticks with Collins.

3. How comfortable should Campbell feel in the pocket? This could be a problem, especially against pass-rushing teams like the Giants and Eagles. Campbell was sacked 38 times last year; if right tackle is a revolving door, right guard Randy Thomas struggles with neck and knee problems and Chris Samuels (triceps) begins to look old, Campbell could be battered.

Key statistic: 19 Passes of 25-plus yards completed by Campbell in 2008, tied for 19th in the NFL.

Tuesday: Defensive line

Ryan O’Halloran

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