"Late in the year I could not call a slow-developing play downfield because I knew we couldn't protect Jason," Zorn says. "That makes it pretty tough on a quarterback. But what happened in the off-season are things you sometime can't expect. Who knew Jay Cutler would be available? Because Jason hasn't grown into the ultimate franchise quarterback yet, we pursued [Cutler]—and we weren't the only ones."
Campbell hasn't forgotten the Redskins' QB courtships. "Obviously I felt betrayed a little bit," he says. "But you've got to move on. My goal right now is to work with the guys around me, keep an even keel and not think about anything other than the next play."
It might work. This is the first time since high school that Campbell has started a second straight season with the same offensive system and the same coaches. "Football's a reaction game, and it's great not to have to think so much when you're setting up," he says. But his fate will be tied to the health of two warhorse linemen—tackle Chris Samuels (32) and guard Randy Thomas (33)—who are coming off debilitating triceps and neck injuries, respectively. If they go down, so will Campbell. And maybe a few others in the organization. "There's a lot at stake for everyone," Zorn says with a rueful smile. He knows there's never been such a corps of proven coaches on the street as there is now: Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden, Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan. In the NFL this preseason, the hope—and the heat—is everywhere.