With the 2008 regular season opener looming, Saturday's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers was regarded as a "dress rehearsal" for the Redskins.
Starters played the entire first half at Bank of America Stadium.
The result? Struggles on offense, inconsistent play on defense.
And a surprisingly poor showing.
The Redskins were routed by the Panthers 47-3, dropping their record to 3-1 on the preseason.
Jason Campbell was 6-of-10 for 39 yards, but he was under constant pressure by the Panthers' defense and sacked four times.
Clinton Portis had eight carries for 32 yards, with a 17-yard run his only highlight. Ladell Betts had seven rushes for 17 yards.
And the offense turned the ball over three times on fumbles.
The Redskins' run defense yielded 185 yards and 12.3 yards per carry in the first half. DeAngleo Williams had a 64-yard touchdown run and rookie Jonathan Stewart had a 50-yard touchdown run as Carolina raced out to a 34-0 lead.
Overall, the Panthers out-gained the Redskins by a 402-to-208 clip in total yards.
"We didn't protect well up front," head coach Jim Zorn said. "Jason held on to the ball too long. We also had costly turnovers and sacks that stalled drives. We struggled on both sides of the ball. We did not win the individual battles."
The Redskins also received some bad news when Jason Taylor suffered a right knee sprain in the second quarter of the contest.
It appeared Taylor got his leg caught in a pile of players, and television replays showed him wincing in pain. Taylor's status will be re-evaluated after the game.
Jon Jansen also left the game in the first half with a sprained right foot. The severity of the injury is unknown. He suffered a fractured ankle in Week 1 last year, ending his season.
It was an ugly game all-around from the Redskins' standpoint.
The Redskins' offense went 3-and-out on their first possession. Campbell's third-down pass was to James Thrash running an out pattern, but the ball was nearly picked off by cornerback Ken Lucas.
It was a sign of struggles to come.
In a later sequence, Campbell was sacked on successive plays. First it was defensive tackle Damione Lewis breaking through the middle to drag Campbell down. Then it was defensive end Charles Johnson getting past Jansen to sack Campbell at the Redskins' 1-yard line.
On defense, rookie Kareem Moore started for injured LaRon Landry and was a rare bright spot.
First, he picked off a pass by quarterback Jake Delhomme in the first quarter. Later, he made a touchdown-saving tackle when Williams broke free down the right sideline.
Then, with Carolina driving midway through the first quarter, Delhomme threw a third-down pass in the end zone to wide receiver Steve Smith. The ball bounced off Moore's helmet for an incomplete pass.
The Panthers had to settle for a 29-yard field goal by John Kasay.
Carolina continued to apply pressure on Campbell.
Defensive end Julius Peppers pushed Chris Samuels back into Campbell for a sack. The ball popped loose from Campbell's grasp and Peppers was there to pounce on the fumble at the Redskins' 19-yard line.
Stewart picked up 13 yards on a run to the right, but the drive stalled when Delhomme's pass across the middle was batted away by Demetric Evans.
Once again, the Panthers had to settle for a field goal, a 28-yarder by Kasay for a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Redskins finally started to generate some offensive momentum on their next drive, but Betts coughed up the football. The fumble was recovered by Peppers.
Smith proved why he's an impact player for the Panthers' offense.
First he grabbed a 15-yard pass to the Redskins' 41-yard line.
Then Williams took a handoff and broke free to the left. He had the end zone in his sights, but he inexplicably lost grasp of the football.
The ball was scooped up by Smith at the Redskins' 10-yard line and he continued to the end zone, diving ahead of a tackler for the touchdown.
After another 3-and-out by the Redskins, the Panthers continued to grind out yards in the run game.
Stewart found room to the left. Carlos Rogers and Rocky McIntosh had opportunities for tackles, but they were both blocked out of the play allowing Stewart to run 50 yards for the score.
On the Panthers' next series, they continued to dominate on the ground.
This time, it was Williams taking a handoff through a huge hole up the middle. Reed Doughty had a chance at the tackle, but Williams broke free. He escaped tackles by Moore and Fred Smoot for a 64-yard touchdown run.
Suddenly, the Redskins were down 27-0.
Late in the first half, the Panthers had an opportunity to work on their two-minute offense. They capitalized again.
Stewart picked up 11 yards up the middle, and then Delhomme threw 15 yards to wide receiver Chris Hannon.
One play later, Delhomme threw into the end zone to tight end Dante Rosario running downfield. Rosario grabbed the pass ahead of Doughty for a 24-yard touchdown catch.
With that, the halftime score was a stunning 34-0 score.
More of the same early in the second half.
The Panthers kept their first-team offense in the game for their first drive, but the Redskins started to bring in backups.
Smith took advantage.
Catching a screen pass from Delhomme, Smith put a quick move on rookie Matteral Richardson and eluded him easily.
Smith out-raced rookie J.T. Tryon to the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
Todd Collins entered the game in the third quarter and finally the offense found some rhythm.
Collins completed passes to Billy McMullen for seven yards, Maurice Mann for 17 yards and Fred Davis for 13 yards, driving the Redskins to Carolina's 17-yard line.
Then Collins was pressured by the Panthers defense and was flagged for intentional grounding.
Finally, his third-down pass to McMullen, for 12 yards, was short of the first down.
Shaun Suisham connected on a 38-yard field goal to provide the Redskins' only points of the game.
Carolina added a pair of field goals, from 52 yards and 29 yards, by Kasay to round out the scoring in the fourth quarter.
By that point, the Redskins were eager to get a disappointing night over with and head back to Washington, D.C., for the aftermath.
The Redskins resume preseason on Saturday, Aug. 23, when they travel to Charlotte, N.C., to take on the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. p.m. ET.
Bank of America Stadium has a natural grass surface. The stadium seats 73,504.
Redskins head coach Jim Zorn said he is treating this fourth preseason contest as a rehearsal for the regular season. That means starters are expected to play their most extensive action of preseason.
The game will be televised locally on Comcast SportsNet and WUSA-TV Channel 9. Mike Patrick will call the play-by-play, with color commentary by Joe Theismann. Kelli Johnson serves as sideline reporter.
On radio, the game will be broadcast locally on ESPN 980. Larry Michael handles the play-by-play with color commentary by Hall of Famers Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff. Rick "Doc" Walker will serve as sideline reporter.
Washington is coming off a 13-10 comeback win over the New York Jets on Aug. 16 at the Meadowlands.
A pair of rookies led the way for the Redskins. Colt Brennan tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jason Goode with 1:17 left in the game to provide the winning points.
Shaun Suisham also kicked two field goals, from 30 and 46 yards.
Carolina lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 24-13 in their second preseason game.
The Panthers had opened up a 13-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Their only touchdown came when cornerback Richard Marshall intercepted a pass on a fake field goal attempt and returned it 78 yards for the score.
Carolina then yielded 24 fourth quarter points to the Eagles.
Washington and Carolina have played four times in the preseason, with the Panthers holding a 3-1 series lead.
The last preseason encounter between the two teams was in 2005, when the Panthers won 28-10 at Bank of America Stadium.
The Redskins' only preseason win over Carolina was in 2002, when they defeated the Panthers 37-30 at FedExField.
In the regular season, the Redskins own an 8-1 series lead.
The Redskins won the most recent meeting, on Nov. 26, 2006, by a 17-13 score at FedExField.
It was a taut, defensive struggle most of the game, but the Redskins finally broke through in the fourth quarter when Jason Campbell and Chris Cooley connected on a 66-yard touchdown pass.
In the game's final minutes, the Panthers had two opportunities to score. Sean Taylor tackled wide receiver Drew Carter on fourth down to end one drive, then intercepted a deep pass from quarterback Jake Delhomme to end the game.
Carolina's lone victory against Washington in the regular season came in 2003 when they won 20-17 on a last-minute touchdown by former Redskin Stephen Davis.
FAMILIAR FACES ON THE PANTHERS
General Manager Marty Hurney was in the Redskins' public relations department in 1988-89. He hails from Wheaton, Md., and attended college at Catholic University. He was a beat writer covering the Redskins for The Washington Times for five years, before joining the team he covered.
Defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac was the Redskins' defensive line coach in 2000-01.
Special teams coach Danny Crossman spent a portion of the 1990 season as a defensive back with the Redskins.
Linebacker Donte Curry played for the Redskins in 2001.
College scout Mike Szabowas a college/pro scout with the Redskins in 2000-01.
REDSKINS-PANTHERS NEWS & NOTES
-- Redskins Preseason Offensive Leaders
In three preseason games, Jason Campbell leads the Redskins' passing attack with an 75 percent completion percentage. He has completed 24-of-32 passes for 181 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Third-stringer Colt Brennan has completed 17-of-23 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns. He has been sacked four times. His QB rating is a team-high 146.6.
Marcus Mason leads the Redskins' ground game with 233 yards on 43 carries, an impressive 5.4 yards-per-carry average. Mason also has four catches for 22 yards and a touchdown.
Billy McMullen leads the receivers with 10 catches for 142 yards, including a 37-yard grab. Antwaan Randle El leads projected starters with four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown.
As a team, the Redskins are averaging 164 yards per game on the ground in preseason. They are averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
-- Redskins Preseason Defensive Leaders
Matt Sinclair leads the Redskins in preseason tackles with 16. He is followed by Khary Campbell with 15 tackles.
Rob Jackson and Chris Horton are tied for the team lead in sacks with two each. Marcus Washington and Reed Doughty also have recorded sacks.
Matteral Richardson has been active in the secondary, leading the defense with three pass defended.
As a team, the Redskins' defense is allowing an average of 83.0 yards per game and a 3.8 yards-per-carry average.
-- College Connections
The Redskins have a host of players, coaches and personnel executives who attended college in North Carolina.
Assistant strength and conditioning coach Bobby Crumpler, director of pro personnel Morocco Brown and pro scout Alex Santos went to North Carolina State.
Also, defensive line coach John Palermo behan his coaching career at North Carolina State from 1977-78.
Long snapper Ethan Albright, cornerback Cedrick Holt and defensive quality control coach Arthur Smith went to North Carolina.
National scout Joel Patten and offensive quality control coach Bill Khayat attended Duke.
Wide receivers coach Stan Hixon was an assistant coach at Appalachian State from 1983-88 and Wake Forest froom 1993-94.
-- Local Connections
Panthers head coach John Fox is a native of Virginia Beach, Va.
Panthers college scout Jeff Beathard is the son of former Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard.
Starting tight end Jeff King grew up in Pulaski, Va., and attended Virginia Tech.
Backup linebacker James Anderson hails from Chesapeake, Va., and played his college ball at Virginia Tech.
-- Preseason Record
The Redskins are 108-125-2 all-time in preseason play, including the Aug. 16 victory over the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.
Last year, Washington was 2-2 in the preseason.
The last time the Redskins started preseason 3-0 was in 2002, when they started 4-0 before losing their finale.
-- What's Next?
After the Panthers preseason game, the Redskins close out preseason when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars at FedExField on Thursday, Aug. 28.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. The game will be televised nationally on NBC.