Campbell Says He's Ready for Next Step
From Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora in New Jersey:
Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell believes this is his time. After his first full season as a starter was cut short because of a knee injury, Campbell looked toward the 2008 season with anticipation.
He plans to be more vocal in his leadership and hopes to establish himself as one of the league's elite quarterbacks, attempting to take a major step in his development under rookie head coach Jim Zorn. The Redskins kick off the NFL's schedule tonight in a nationally televised game against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium, and Campbell said he is ready to take charge.
"I'm going to take the bull by the horns. I'm going to be more of a leader this year," he said. "I'm going to try to hold more people accountable and hold myself more accountable. I want to do everything I can to help us get to that championship level."
In part because of poor pass protection, Campbell struggled in the Redskins' final two preseason games, completing seven of 14 passes for 42 yards. Overall in the preseason, Campbell completed 59 percent of his passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He had a 70.7 passer rating.
In hopes of providing Campbell with better protection, Zorn this week demoted longtime starting right tackle Jon Jansen, who had struggled in pass blocking, and promoted second-year tackle Stephon Heyer to the first team.
Jansen's demotion was another example that "in this league, you never know what's going to happen," Campbell said. "As a young quarterback, you always have to be ready at all times, and you learn early on that there are no guarantees. You have to go out there and try to play relentless, and that's going to be my mind-set for the whole season.
"I'm not going to put any pressure on myself because there's already enough pressure as it is. You know you're going to get blamed for stuff when its not your fault, and you're going to get too much credit when you shouldn't, but that's just part of it. I'm just going to out there, play loose and have fun."
For the most part, Zorn was pleased with Campbell's approach in practice this week. "I just want him to continually push his tempo," Zorn said. "The decision-making and his tempo. That's the thing."
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