Jason Campbell is ready for the scrutiny that comes with being an NFL quarterback.
He'll get his first taste of it during the Redskins' upcoming full-squad mini-camp. He will join veteran Todd Collins in getting the bulk of reps at quarterback. Mark Brunell, the expected starter, is expected to sit out the mini-camp due to a small fracture in his left index finger.
Said Campbell: "You never like to see a quarterback get hurt, at any time. But whether it's the middle of the season or it's the offseason, you have to be ready. You never know what can happen. So preparation is the main thing for me. When you get the reps, you have to take advantage of it.
"I feel like I get better every time I step on the field. I'm learning the new offense. Every day I take the field, we put in new plays. I feel like as we go through OTAs and the mini-camp, I'll have a pretty good idea of what coaches are looking for in progressions and reads. Then I can come into training camp with a good mindset of what to do."
Coaches have plenty of tape on Campbell from practice work during Organized Team Activity sessions the last four weeks. The intensity level will pick up during mini-camp, the last time coaches will have to evaluate Campbell before the start of training camp in late July.
Campbell, selected by the Redskins in the first round (25th pick overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft, is expected to compete with Collins for the team's backup job.
In the early going, Collins may have an advantage over Campbell. Collins played under new Redskins' associate head coach-offense Al Saunders from 2001-05 and is familiar with Saunders's offense.
For Campbell, learning a new offense is nothing new. The 6-4, 223-pound quarterback worked under four different offensive coordinators at Auburn. As a rookie last season, he began to develop his skills for the pro game under head coach Joe Gibbs.
"Sometimes you feel like, 'I wonder what I could do if I was in one offense more than one year,'" Campbell said. "Through all of the years, I did well in each of those offenses. But you never feel like you know it second-hand.
"It constantly keeps you on your toes. Hopefully, Al Saunders will be around for a while and I'll get to the point where I know all of the concepts and it's all second nature. When a receiver asks me a question [about a pass route], I'll know exactly where to tell them to go."
Asked about the level of difficulty in learning Saunders's offense, Campbell replied: "It's not a tough offense to learn, because you have so many plays that carry over from other plays that you also run. The main thing for the quarterbacks and receivers is timing. We need to be in the right area and be in the right spot at the right time. Once we get that down, we'll eventually grow together."
On and off the field, Campbell, 24, appears steady and poised. Since the day the Redskins drafted him, he has had a calm demeanor about him.
Last year at this time, Campbell was a quiet, fresh-face rookie still adjusting to a new team and a new city. Now he has a full year with the Redskins under his belt, and that allows him to focus most of his energies on football.
"I feel totally different this year," he said. "Last year, coming in as a rookie, you get kind of a late start. The other guys have been here all offseason and they are a step ahead of you. They know what's going on and what to do.
"The main thing with me for me was just getting used to my teammates around you and my surroundings. Going into my second year, I have a better idea of those things because I went through a whole year."