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Quick hitters: New England 27, Redskins 24

A few random thoughts, observations and tidbits from tonight’s game:

Have you ever been on a job interview, and after it’s over you go back and analyze the entire thing, and no matter how well you did, you always feel terrible about the one question you wish you’d have answered differently?

Well that was Jim Zorn when asked to assess the Jason Campbell’s performance tonight. The deep pass Campbell overthrew Santana Moss on was at the forefront of his mind despite a performance that provided many reasons for optimism. "I thought Jason started out strong," Zorn said. "I wish we’d have completed that one that Santana got in behind the defender."

If Campbell had connected with Moss on that and it ended up as a touchdown, I think there would have been champagne bottles popping in the locker room after the game.

Campbell was irked by the misfire, too, especially after underthrowing Malcolm Kelly on a deep ball last week. He came up with this gem, though, and still managed a smile: "Last week was a yard short. This week was a yard long. So next time it’ll be right in the chest."

  • I thought Campbell did pretty well. He was 13 of 22 for 209 yards, no TDs or INTs. It seems apparent that he is much more effective when he gets a few completions early. They don’t have to be special, just completions to get him rolling. He mentioned this tonight, and I’ll try to write more about this later. But this could be something the coaching staff needs to cater to.
  • As Colt Brennan’s interception was being returned for a touchdown, I had the thought: This guy is absolutely playing himself out of a job. He just seemed to be pressing so badly. He really needed that TD throw to Marko Mitchell. It was a perfect play by both QB and receiver. Brennan said after the game that he was feeling some heat during the week.
  • Zorn said afterward that his plan all along was to have Colt finish the game and not play Chase Daniel. That’s not the indication he gave on Wednesday.
  • Starting cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Fred Smoot seemed much more effective when they were in press coverage rather than giving up that big, 8-yard cushion. Randy Moss was abusing them out there. When Brady and Moss are clicking like that, it’s pretty special–even in the preseason.
  • The defense looked shaky on the Pats’ two early TD drives. I don’t believe I have a good feel for what they’re showing and what they’re saving for the regular season. I get the impression that they’re saving a lot, though, in terms of blitzes and coverages.
  • LaRon Landry said he was looking run or screen pass on Randy Moss’ second touchdown. Moss started with a slant and then turned it into a slant-and-go. Landry just tipped his cap to the Brady-Moss duo. His said his fortuitous interception in the second half was the result of "hustling to the ball."
  • Devin Thomas said that he wants to continue returning kicks. He was really pumped up after the game. He caught 3 balls for 36 yards and looked like a productive part of the offense.
  • I’m going to try to follow up tomorrow with Zorn about his rotation of the top four wideouts. I know it’s preseason and he needs to evaluate these guys, but I’m wondering if it’s something he’ll do frequently during the regular season. In other words, if there’s no clear hierarchy, would he be willing to rotate those guys liberally.
  • Hunter Smith is a good punter. Very good. Compared to what the Redskins have had in recent years, he’s Ray Guy.
  • Marcus Mason was in a lot of pain after the game. He bruised his ribs in the fourth quarter, and he was struggling to breathe normally when I talked to him. It wasn’t like he was in any danger. He was just in a lot of pain. He had a good game, though. His blocking on Campbell’s touchdown run was crucial, and that’s not an area in which he normally excels. It just seems like he’s gonna be a numbers victim again, unless the Redskins make a surprising move involving Betts or Cartwright.
  • The running game wasn’t working early. Clinton Portis had 8 yards on 6 carries?!?! Yep, it’s the preseason. Seems to me that he just has a different regular-season game speed. After getting hurt in 2006, I don’t blame him one bit.
  • Marko Mitchell is making it impossible for the Redskins to leave him off the 53-man roster. That stutter move on his TD was filthy. And speaking of that fifth receiver competition, Marques Hagans has completely fallen off the radar after that dropin the preseason opener against Baltimore.
  • The only time cheering is allowed in the pressbox is when overtime is avoided in a preseason game. What a joyous moment tonight when I realized the game was going to, you know, end before my deadline.

 What are your thoughts on tonight’s game? I’d love to hear ‘em.