In opening act, 'Skins defense is a hit

backup QB picture hazy

Redskins Notebook

August 06, 2006|By DON MARKUS | DON MARKUS,SUN REPORTER

LANDOVER -- Defense is typically ahead of offense in the early days of an NFL team's training camp, and that was apparent for the Washington Redskins yesterday at FedEx Field in their annual scrimmage against the Ravens.

Two plays stood out, and they occurred one right after the other during a drill that featured the Redskins' No. 1 defense against the Ravens' No. 1 offense.

The first came when safety Sean Taylor leveled tailback Mike Anderson after a 1-yard gain. On the next play, after linebacker Marcus Washington intercepted a short pass by Steve McNair and returned it for a touchdown, Anderson remained on the ground and came out of the game with what was determined to be a concussion.

"Sean brings a smile to my face," said Gregg Williams, the Redskins assistant head coach for defense. "I asked him in pre-game how many plays before he was going to get it cranked up. He said, `Play 1'. He lied to me. It was about Play 3."

"That's what he does," Washington said of Taylor. "When he's out there, you never know what he's going to do. I know one thing: If it's him and another guy, I'm going to go with him."

Who is No. 2?

The battle for the backup spot behind starting quarterback Mark Brunell didn't get off to a rousing start.

Brunell looked sharp in the seven-on-seven drills, but he and the rest of the No. 1 offense sat out the 11-on-11 drills later in the scrimmage. Second-year quarterback Jason Campbell got most of the work, with veteran backup Todd Collins and Casey Bramlet, a third-year player from Wyoming, sharing what was left.

After bouncing a couple of short passes early on, Campbell eventually led the Redskins to their only offensive touchdown, a 12-yard run by Jesse Lumsden, a rookie free agent tailback from Canada. Campbell finished 4-for-7 for 48 yards and also had two rushes for 11 yards.

"I think I did really well when I got comfortable, just being relaxed and throwing a deep ball," said Campbell, who hit rookie wide receiver Mike Espy for 22 yards and tight end Robert Johnson for a 19-yarder. "I had so many high expectations and I heard the fans coming out on the field, I started to press. Once I relaxed, things came naturally."

Asked if he had an idea as to who would be the backup, Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs said, "I think we'll go a long time with that."

Hall struggles

Veteran kicker John Hall, who has struggled with injuries in missing 14 games over the past two years, has stayed healthy through the first week of training camp. But Hall, who has been with the Redskins since 2003, raised some concerns yesterday by missing his first two field-goal attempts, from 46 and 47 yards out, before making a 38-yarder.

"Obviously the two field goals we want to make," said special teams coach Danny Smith, who admitted keeping Hall in for the final attempt to help boost the kicker's confidence. "We've got to be better than that. If it's going to happen, it's good it happened now."

don.markus@baltsun.com

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