Zorn Offers More Campbell Praise
Number of Redskins-devoted media members + D.C. obsession with quarterback play + Jim Zorn's willingness to talk + Jason Campbell's scant preseason playing time + nothing else going on in D.C. sports = a situation in which the head coach daily answers more questions about his quarterback than Campbell has completions this month.
I'll fully admit this is completely ridiculous, and yet I'll go drink from that fountain as long as Zorn keeps pressing the cool, thirst-quenching button. Today's squirt was offered on ESPN 980's Jim Zorn show, when the first three questions were about Campbell, including one question specifically about the one and only completion Campbell recorded in the Steelers game.
And, as per usual, Zorn was generous in his Campbell praise. His first response, in full, after being more or less told that some Redskins fans were freaking out.
"Well we've been through 37 practices in training camp and he's improved dramatically," Zorn said. "And I would say this, that it started with the minicamps, the OTAs, it ran through all the controversy and all the training camp practices, and these games, he's just not playing that much. The only thing that I'm trying to push him is a faster start. And we'd love immediate completions, we'd love immediate touchdown passes. I would love that too.
"But we are getting a lot of REALLY good things by him. He's taking command on the line of scrimmage. He's got us out of particular plays and got us into other plays on the line of scrimmage that have been outstanding. I think his tempo has really improved. The thing we're looking for is on a couple of throws...there was probably two that I would have like to have seen him be more accurate on, and that would be my beef if anything, and it's not a big one. I mean, I called two screen passes and both were disaster plays. He did the right thing. I mean, he threw them into the ground and I'm saying, 'Right on.' I mean, maybe everyone else is saying, 'Gosh, what a lousy throw.' "
Next up, a question on whether there was a checklist for fans to grade Campbell on things other than completions.
"Yeah, that's a good point," Zorn said. "I think that one thing that the coaches see is heroic play....If [a play's] designed and gets run just like it's designed, I mean, everyone gets excited about that. I think where the checklist comes in is if a play is called, the protection is there where you feel like that QB had enough space if you will to make a decent throw, and then the throw is poor, where it's high, it's inside, outside, it just wasn't an accurate throw. I think then you kind of look off and you see the coach talking to the quarterback on the line of scrimmage.
"But some of those throws that happen in a game, you're just excited that he threw it away, that it wasn't a major disaster, and I think that's part of the checklist, is did he hit what he was throwing at with no pressure, or did he have to go through heroics. I mean, some of the quarterbacks in the National Football League, Jason included, have to go through heroics to make big plays, and he's done those things. And then sometimes there's really no chance.
"I mean, when I grade him on a game, I'll put on the grade sheet, 'You had no chance, there was no chance here.' I'm giving him the indication that I saw what he saw and I approve of what he did. And then I'm hard on him also. I want things to be perfect. I continually push him, we continually talk to raise his game up....We're still trying all these elements, which creates a little problem for him, because some of the game does not have continuity to it yet. Because he's in, he's out, we're trying to run the ball, we're trying to throw the ball. There's a lack of continuity because it is the preseason."
And then, finally, we come to the one glorious completion, that 10-yard hook-up with Chris Cooley.
"They blitzed us, they had Cooley covered; he had to avoid the rush, scramble--I call it a pocket scramble--and still have the presence of mind to locate the ball to where Cooley could get it," Zorn said. "It was a great throw. And then he had another completion as well, and we had an illegal formation, for a big first down....But things happen in the game, and that's what's great I think about playing it, is nothing is ever the same."
Except the fact that the coach will be asked 438 quarterback questions following the game.
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