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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2007
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Trio from Alabama and Auburn help Redskins prepare for opener

By Joseph White
Associated Press Writer

ASHBURN, Va. — Jason Campbell was in good humor, cracking jokes and talking friendly smack about a former Auburn roommate.

Todd Collins and Mark Brunell were not as talkative. They were still waiting for coach Joe Gibbs to tell them who had won the No. 2 quarterback job, even though Collins appeared to be the obvious winner based on the first handful of snaps at Monday’s workout.

Everyone else, except perhaps for injured linebacker Marcus Washington of Auburn, was close to full-speed and knew pretty much where they stood as the team prepared for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. After years of season-opening disappointments, the Redskins want to have a dominant Game 1 performance for a change — something that hasn’t happened in 10 years.

“Everybody’s optimistic,” running back Ladell Betts said. “Defense played well throughout the preseason. The offense showed glimpses as well, so I think we’re ready.”

There seemed to be no concern about Campbell, physically or mentally. He has rebounded from a severely bruised left knee and is loose and relaxed, a good sign for a third-year player about to make his opening-day debut.

“It’s a new start for everyone,” Campbell said. “The one thing we learned from last season is that we don’t want to go through another season like that.”

Campbell said he was looking forward to touching base with Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown, a former Auburn teammate.

“Ronnie being an ex-roommate of mine, he’ll try to give out all the secrets on me,” Campbell said. “But that’s all right. I’ve got something for him, too. He’s lost about 20 pounds since college. He’s laid off some of those cheeseburgers. I’m going to call him tonight and see what’s on his menu.”

Washington, recovering from a dislocated elbow, practiced but remains the only starter whose status is in serious doubt for Sunday’s game.

“I’m shooting for it,” Washington said. “I tried to be smart about it today. It really felt good to run around in this heat and get a little bit of action.”

Left tackle Chris Samuels, a former Alabama standout, has recovered from the sprained knee that cost him the preseason. He’s having to develop a quick chemistry with new left guard Pete Kendall, but that’s not his main concern.

“I’ll probably be a little bit rusty on my technique here and there,” Samuels said. “I think I’ll get that back quicker than anything. I think the main thing that I’m concerned with is my conditioning. I’ll have to step over my tongue a bit, but I’ll fight through it.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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