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Collins, Campbell Duke It Out

Collins, Campbell Duke It Out


We don’t often see training camp battles on display this clearly. With Mark Brunell sitting out practice (actually he was there standing with the offense and a very interested spectator), veteran Todd Collins and second-year player Jason Campbell took turns running the offense in Tuesday afternoon’s practice. The two are fighting it out to see which of them will be the #2 quarterback, active on game days, and which will have the role of the third string, emergency QB.

Collins took the reigns of the starting offense first. Joe Gibbs cautioned everyone not to read anything into that. He said that Collins and Campbell alternate who is in the #2 quarterback slot and that it was Collins’ turn.

They started out with a spirited “walk through” which really was more like a spirited sprint as the offense hustled up and down the field, running plays against no defenders. A good chunk of Al Saunders’ 700-page playbook was on display. There were option passes by Antwaan Randle El, who is not in the quarterback sweepstakes, end arounds, fake left, throw right screens, delay draws, and other tools in the offensive’s massive bag.

This being the last day of two-a-days, the coaches decided that they’d had enough of drills and the like and they went straight to 11 on 11 play. Campbell threw a nice, deep out on a rope to Jimmy Farris and then made a good decision to throw the ball into the dirt when the defense sniffed out a screen.

Collins responded. As James Thrash broke away from Carlos Rogers Collins launched a picture-perfect, arching bomb that hit the streaking Thrash in stride about 40 yards downfield. Santana Moss broke off his pattern in the hook zone and had a little space between a trio of defenders. Collins smartly threw it low, where only Moss could make the catch. He did. The next play Moss went deeper and Collins displayed excellent touch in zinging the ball into his hands.

And so it went. Campbell to Cooley on a seam route. Collins to Moss again deep down the right sideline. Saunders was getting quite a workout running up to congratulate receivers for making catches.

To be sure, neither quarterback was perfect. A couple of times Campbell tried to finesse the ball in to a receiver when a pass with more mustard on it was called for and the passes were batted away. Collins misfired a time or two.

Overall, it was some pretty good quarterback play on the part of both Campbell and Collins. In the long run, it probably won’t mean a lot. The backup quarterback position won’t be decided in one day and play in preseason games will weigh heavily in the decision. However, we won’t have the opportunity there to watch the two of them duke it out, virtually blow for blow like we did on Tuesday.

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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In case you missed it

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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