First-half observations from Washington

Redskins starting QB Jason Campbell had a troublesome outing against the Steelers. His protection was much better than I expected, but his passing touch was off. He underthrew Malcolm Kelly on a deep route on the first play of the game — coach Jim Zorn has shown a spread look more frequently despite Pittsburgh’s pass rush — sailed a few other balls and seemed indecisive overall.

Campbell made a nice third-down connection with TE Chris Cooley, but otherwise, the Redskins only moved the ball on the ground. That’s it. The passing offense has been non-existent with the first-team offense through the first two preseason games.

Campbell’s night ended with him firing well wide of TE Fred Davis. Campbell finished 1-of-7 passing for 10 yards after going 3 of 6 for 38 yards in the opener. Yikes. In the pressure cooker that is DC — with the coach and QB always under scrutiny — this will make for an angst-filled week ahead of Friday’s game against the Patriots. The Redskins’ first-team offense has produced just three points this preseason.

Steelers backup QB Charlie Batch is a cool customer. He’s a great backup in this system and delivered two perfect passes, stepping up in the pocket and allowing things to develop downfield.

DeAngelo Hall is playing passionate football again. His peaks and valleys have been well-chronicled, but he has been a standout whenever I have seen him this preseason, whether in practices or games. He’s also playing with the physicality that the Redskins demand of their cornerbacks.

The Redskins’ defensive line — passive and unable to mount a pass rush in recent years — looked a whole lot more dangerous with DT Albert Haynesworth on the field. The free-agent signee made his Washington debut, and the team is still watching his playing time very closely (his knees are being monitored, and he was rested often tonight, including on a goal-line sequence). But Haynesworth gave the team some different looks, and defensive coordinator Greg Blache seemed willing to let his unit attack upfield more.

On a third-and-long, Haynesworth lined up at right end, with rookie Brian Orakpo and Phillip Daniels rushing from the inside and Andre Carter at left end. It was a formidable package. The Redskins also flashed some 3-4 looks.

I’m not sure Haynesworth will ever be a guy who’s on the field for 85 percent of the plays, or all 16 games, but he changes things when he is there.

Orakpo looks like a beast. He has been all over the field, and after the rookie pass rusher spent a lot of time at linebacker, Blache stunted him, moved him around and let him play with his hand down quite a bit. The kid’s speed is impressive, and his motor looks good, too. He has given Pro Bowl LT Chris Samuels fits in practice. I think Orakpo can be a real factor on third down in particular.

Redskins backup RB Ladell Betts left the game with a back sprain and will not return. Pro Bowl FB Mike Sellers suffered a right knee contusion and also will not return.

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