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Gibbs: Campbell to Start, Replacing Brunell

Jason Campbell has been named the Redskins' starting quarterback for next Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, head coach Joe Gibbs has announced.

Campbell replaces Mark Brunell, who started the first nine games of the season. Brunell assumes the backup role and Todd Collins will serve as the third quarterback.

"We're going to give Jason his opportunity and see if he can come in and help us be more productive," Gibbs said. "Hopefully it's something he comes in and takes advantage of. He has spent a year-and-a-half preparing for this."

Said Campbell: "It's a beginning of a new era for me. I just want to continue to be myself and work hard."

The Redskins drafted Campbell out of Auburn in the first round (25th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. He has served as the Redskins' third quarterback for his first 27 NFL games.

Asked if Campbell would be the Redskins' starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, Gibbs replied: "What we are doing is giving Jason every opportunity. When we drafted him, we felt like we had a very talented person. Certainly when we give him the starting job, we are going to do everything we can to support him."

Gibbs called replacing Brunell a "tough decision to make." Brunell started the first nine games of the regular season, but he has struggled with consistency.

In Sunday's 27-3 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles, Brunell was 16-of-31 for 132 yards and one costly interception that was returned 70 yards for a touchdown. His QB rating was 49.4.

"I talked to Mark and he was an absolute gentleman about it," Gibbs said. "He understands and I am sure he does not agree with it. I talked to all three [quarterbacks] and explained the decision I wanted to make."

Campbell, who is 6-4 and 223 pounds, first began to get increased reps in practice during the Redskins' bye week in late October. It was a sign that coaches were preparing the second-year player for the starting role.

"Certainly I think Jason has had great work," Gibbs said. "He's had all the OTAs and mini-camps in the offseason. He has never missed anything here. He's been a hard worker."

Even during practice the last few weeks, Campbell was an active participant as he helped quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor call in plays.

"What Jason does in every practice, rather than [coaches] call in the play to Mark, what happens is Bill reads the play off the sheet to Jason, who then in turn calls it in to Mark," Gibbs said. "So he has to call all the plays, he's always reading it, saying it and absorbing it."

Asked if coaches would scale down the offensive playbook for the young quarterback, Gibbs replied: "I think he has a good feel for what we're doing and the game plan. We'll tailor it around what we think he does well."

At Auburn from 2001-4, Campbell played in 46 games. starting 39. He finished his career completing 64.6 percent of his passes for 7,299 yards, 45 touchdowns and only 24 interceptions.
Campbell was also an effective runner from the quarterback positions, rushing for eight touchdowns during his time at Auburn.

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