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Campbell Shakes Off Rocky Start


Jason Campbell's first pass of the 2007 regular season was an easy interception by Miami Dolphins cornerback Renaldo Hill.

Needless to say, that's not how Campbell envisioned his season would start.

Then he reminded himself that "it's not how you start, it's how you finish."

Campbell brushed off the early struggles and helped guide the Redskins to a 16-13 victory over the Dolphins. Shaun Suisham's 39-yard field goal in overtime was the difference.

"I just wanted to continue to keep fighting because I knew it was a long game and there are a lot of games left to play," he said. "The guys fought hard and pushed each other through the heat like this and that is something you have to do."

Added head coach Joe Gibbs: "I think the good thing about Jason is that he always just has a plain discussion about it: 'Yeah, I should have looked on the other side.' He talked things over with Santana [Moss]. He does not get ruffled. I don't ever really see him get flustered."

Campbell finished with 12-of-21 completions for 222 yards, although 54 of those yards came on a last-chance pass to Antwaan Randle El at the end of regulation.

Campbell threw another interception in the fourth quarter on a deep pass to Brandon Lloyd. His overall quarterback rating was just 54.2.

"You make a lot of mistakes in your first game and you make a lot of great plays, and coaches told me that before we even started," he said. "There are going to be some highs and some lows, but you stick in there as a team and keep fighting."

Said Gibbs: "Obviously, today he missed some things all over the place. What I am hoping now is, you get this game under your belt--you win a game like this that is extremely hard fought--and then you get back and you start making some plays."

Campbell's best pass may have been a 49-yarder to Antwaan Randle El that helped set up the Redskins' only touchdown of the game.

Campbell said his best play came in overtime.

Faced with another 3rd-and-7 play, Campbell recognized Miami's blitz at the line of scrimmage. He threw a quick pass to tight end Chris Cooley for a 10-yard pickup to the Dolphins' 37-yard line.

"I thought Cooley came up big on his catch in overtime," Campbell said. "It was third and seven, and if we didn't get it, they'd get the ball back. They blitzed and he was able to make the catch and get the first down.

"It's the little things that stand out. It's not always the deep throws and the throws downfield--sometimes it's the little throws that make the difference."

Talking about the passing game, Campbell said: "We were trying to give our guys an opportunity to catch some deep balls and open up their defense. Randle El did a good job of getting open down the sideline [on his 49-yard catch].

"On the second deep ball [to Brandon Lloyd], the defensive back intercepted it. As a quarterback you have to give your receiver the opportunity to make the play one-on-one, but their defensive guy did a good job coming over with the interception.

"It is definitely one that you don't like to throw when we're moving the ball that way, but you can't stop throwing them. You need to stay aggressive and continue to attack."

Campbell also proved that his mobility is a significant asset. He had four rushes for 29 yards. On a 3rd-and-7 play in the third quarter, he scrambled right to avoid pressure and picked up 12 yards down the sidelines.

Sunday's game was also the first time that Campbell played with Clinton Portis in the backfield. Portis was placed on injured reserve midseason last year, before Campbell took over starting quarterback duties.

"He came out and he ran hard," Campbell said. "He told me he is playing with a chip on his shoulder this year and he is going to come out and run as hard as he can. I told him he doesn't really have to prove himself, because he has proven himself over the years.

"One thing about it is, when you have that chip on your shoulder it gives you something to go after and that makes you a great player. I look forward to him having an outstanding season and continuing to contribute to our offense."

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