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How to Respond to Adversity? Campbell Looks to McNabb


Fortunes change quickly in the NFL.

Just ask Jason Campbell and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Three weeks ago, McNabb was struggling, so Eagles head coach Andy Reid benched him in favor of second-year QB Kevin Kolb.

It was thought that McNabb's tenure in Philadelphia was coming to an end.

The next game, Reid went back to McNabb as the starter.

McNabb responded to adversity -- even though he still disagreed with Reid's decision to bench him. He has played some of his best football of the season and the Eagles have won three in a row to get back in the NFC playoff picture.

Campbell got off to an impressive start for the Redskins this season, but the offense has struggled the last month.

And Campbell has taken his share of criticism.

After a 6-2 start, the Redskins have lost five of their last six to drop to 7-7. They take on the Eagles this Sunday at FedExField.

Now in his fourth year in the league, Campbell feels he understands the ebb and flow of being an NFL quarterback.

"There are always ups and downs that you go through," he said. "You understand that when things aren't going well, the quarterback, the head coach and the management always get the big portion of the blame. And when things are going well, sometimes guys get too much of the credit. That's just the nature of it."

Campbell admires the way McNabb handles the spotlight--and the pressure--in a tough city like Philadelphia.

"Donovan is a true competitor," Campbell said. "He went through [some problems] midseason, but the way he has come back and responded says a lot about his character."

What has Campbell learned from McNabb as he tries to rebound from several tough outings?

"Just stay calm throughout the whole situation," Campbell said. "Don't ever make any excuses or point fingers. He knows that people are talking about him and it's just going in one ear and out the other ear. He believes in what he can do. He knows that he can do the job. I think that's really what it's all about."

Campbell and McNabb have forged a friendship over the last few years. The two usually catch up with each other before Redskins-Eagles games.

It's a unique relationship. Campbell counts McNabb as a mentor, at the same time as they compete against each other in the NFC East.

Campbell said McNabb counseled him when he entered the league as a first-round draft pick (25th overall) of the Redskins in 2005.

Before the Redskins-Eagles game in Week 5 in Philadelphia, Campbell and McNabb chatted on the field.

"We were 3-1 and things were going great for us, and [McNabb] said, 'I hope things continue to go great, but just understand that if things sputter just a little bit because you are in a new offense, don't get down on yourself,'" Campbell said. "He told me, 'Just make sure you stand your ground and believe in what you can do.'"

Despite the tough stretch three weeks ago, McNabb is the NFL's 14th-ranked passer through 14 games.

He has competed 60.9 percent of his passes for 3,511 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His QB rating is 86.7.

Campbell is having his best statistical season of his young career. He is ranked 16th in the NFL.

He has completed 63 percent of his throws for 2,945 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. His QB rating is 85.7.

Campbell is in his third season as the Redskins' starter. His won-loss record is 15-19 in that span.

Campbell stressed patience as the Redskins continue to adjust to Zorn's version of the West Coast offense.

It's a similar offense that McNabb runs in Philly. And some would suggest that it took McNabb 3-4 years to fully grasp the Eagles' offense devised by Reid.

"Any time you're trying to build a championship organization, it takes time for things to come together," Campbell said. "It's all about building. That's the biggest thing in the NFL when you look at teams that won over the years. It doesn't happen overnight."

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