News & Politics

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Some questions for the 'Skins preseason

The Redskins open their season on Monday night, September 11, by hosting the Minnesota Vikings at FedEx Field. Here’s what NFL insiders are asking as the season approaches:

Does Mark Brunell have any zip left in his arm at age 36?

Brunell turns 36 on September 17, and that’s a point when quarterbacks slow down. Joe Theismann was 36 in 1985 when he started out 5–5 and had his career ended by Lawrence Taylor. The Redskins will try to squeeze another year out of Brunell before giving Jason Campbell a shot, but Brunell could run out of gas.

How much has Campbell matured in his second season?

He was obviously a project when the Redskins drafted him in the first round last year as their quarterback of the future. The future could be October, when the team travels to the Meadowlands to play the Giants. If the Redskins are 1–3 or 0–4 at that point, look for Campbell to start.

Is An twaan Randle El really a big-money receiver?

Playing in the shadow of Hines Ward in Pittsburgh, Randle El caught 35 passes last year for the Steelers. The Redskins think he can work with Santana Moss to give them a one-two punch at wide receiver. But he’s got to prove he can catch more than 50 passes to justify his big salary, and he never did that in Pittsburgh.

Will the Redskins’ secondary spearhead the defense?

The Skins have drafted a pair of first-round picks, Sean Taylor and Carlos Rogers, and signed two high-priced free agents, Shawn Springs and Adam Archuleta, to form a secondary that should be one of the best in the league. Now that Taylor’s legal troubles appear to be behind him, he should live up to his potential as one of the top players in the 2004 draft. The Redskins’ pass defense ranked tenth in the league in yards allowed last year. It should be even better this season.