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Jason Campbell Says He's a Leader, Dangit

(By John McDonnell - TWP)

For the second time in a matter of months, the particularly vocal among us have been arguing that a key D.C. sports personality is not fiery enough as a leader. First, it was Manny Acta, who defended himself by saying that bluster isn't necessarily effective, and that anyhow he would never fake it for TV cameras.

"I have very good control of my emotions," he said last June. "I can control my emotions extremely well. That doesn't mean that I'm perfect, and I'm not here and there going to snap. Because I do, behind closed doors."

"People didn't see those times behind closed doors where he was a very different guy one on one or with the team privately out of the sight of the media when he could be very forceful and direct," Stan Kasten said after Acta was fired.

Now, come September, people are complaining that Jason Campbell is too passive of a leader, not fiery enough, not willing to get in people's faces, not willing to get thrown out of games for kicking dirt on umpires' shoes. And Campbell's defense has certain Acta overtones. Here's what he said Monday to LaVar and Dukes on 106.7 The Fan, when LaVar suggested that some fans think Campbell doesn't do enough rabble-rousing on the sideline.

"See, that's not true, because [Sunday] I did a lot of that," Campbell said. "It's just not caught on TV. The camera's not on me 24-7, where they see me when I'm doing that. I was on people a lot [Sunday]. One time I got on my own self. People probably think you're crazy, fussing at your own self, but most definitely I was upset with the guy knocking the ball out of my hand.

"But other than that, I'm on guys. In practice I'm pushing guys, I'm on guys, I'm hollering at guys to pick it up, do what we've got to do to have a better practice. People just don't hear that and people just don't catch that on camera. And I'm not gonna do it when I know the camera's looking at me, so I can be like, 'Oh, I did it,' just because I know the camera's on me. I'm not doing it for that. I'm doing it when it's supposed to be done, and at the right time and the right place.

"Yeah, I do a lot of that. I'm calm and cool for the most part, and then sometimes there's a little something else that comes out of me, and it's not gonna always be caught on camera, where it's showing the whole world that 'Oh, he really gets onto his guys' or whatever. It's not about how you get onto somebody, but you're doing something for a purpose."

(Listen to the interview here.) Campbell said on the radio--just like he did to Jason Reid--that he had found fault with both his teammates and himself after the game.

"After watching the film, there's not one guy that can be like 'I didn't mess up, I can point the finger,' because if they do, they're lying," he said. "It can go from top to bottom, and each guy can point out things that they all could have done better. Coaches also."

He was also asked whether he's comfortable in this offense.

"You know, there's things that I feel like we can do, eventually I feel like we will get to and get to doing 'em," Campbell said. "One thing about it, you have a quarterback that has a strong arm and everything, likes to get the ball deeper downfield and hit those deeper and intermediate routes. And I think right now coaches, they watch the film, they just want to make sure if the time's gonna be there to hit those deeper routes, or are we having an understanding of how far we're supposed to get on the depth of routes....

"I think from coach's perspective, he probably just thought maybe this is not the time to try to put ourselves in position where we lose yardage, let's just try to keep things where we're moving in the pocket just because of the heat and the pressure that they bring."

When asked if he wanted to take more shots downfield, he said "every quarterback wants that," and "if a quarterback tell you they don't, then there's something wrong with them." And when asked if he has enough opportunities to try that, he said "Ummm" and paused.

"There's your answer right there," LaVar said, although Campbell later defended Zorn.

"Coach and myself were talking earlier, he's like of course there's more things he want to call, of course there's more things he wanted to do, but we didn't have the ball a lot earlier in the game to attack some of the stuff," Campbell said. "It was a little bit of a touch situation, because now it's hard to utilize some of the play action, utilize some of the things you wanted to do.

"And he knows there's things he wants to get to, calling things. And he understands players and what we have to do is that trust thing, we have to be able to trust each other, no matter what's called or no matter what's on the field.Eevery play's not gonna be a perfect play or a positive play but make sure you have more big ones at the end of the day than the ones that you mess up."

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 15, 2009; 5:31 PM ET
Categories:  Nats , Redskins  
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Next: Gilbert Arenas Says He's Now a Leader


I can't wait to see what dimwitted Redskins fans have to say about Jason Campbell after he puts up 4,000 yards and 20+ TDs this season. The same people calling for his head now will be the ones saying they knew he had it in him all along.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 15, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Barno1: Thanks for your support of Jason he needs all of us pulling for him,he has a coach bent on "boxing" him in not allowing him to use his biggest weapon, his arm, in real life Jim Zorn is not head coach material you only need to look at last week's game plan for proof,Campbell has the paitence of Jobe dealing with Zorn i personally think Snyder made a huge mistake bringing Zorn to this team he has no experience the players don't respect him and his game planning is unimaginitive the question is what is Sherman Smith's role?

Posted by: dargregmag | September 15, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Just watch Tom Brady. Brady screws up, he puts it on himself and moves on. That does not change what Brady expects of the other guys. You don't see Brady sulk like the picture of Zorn and Campbell.

In the preseason game with the Skins, Brady was on the sidelines with his skills players talking with an urgent purpose.

Question: Why is Haynesworth not considered a "16 game a season" player? That's a new one on me. If not 16 is he a 14 or a 12 or an every other game player which would make him an 8?

Posted by: hz9604 | September 15, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

VERY telling interview...

Posted by: Peaux_Sucent | September 15, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

jc sure was diplomatic when asked abt zorn's calling a nickel and dime game. yes, jc made mistakes, two big ones. but we didn't run the ball effectively and it was obvious that we needed to try to make them respect the pass in order to open up the running lanes. we had too many key penalties called that gave away or made 1st downs possible. we didn't tackle worth a dam and deangelo REALLY had a bad game. not only did he miss some tackles, but hakeem nicks ate hiz butt UP. landry and others missed stops trying to make big hits. i thought the first guy's job is to wrap him up and hold him up if possible so the second guy can make a big hit and maybe cause a fumble. we're doing it bass ackwards! in hoops you have to STOP the ball FIRST, then go for the steal! oh. orakpo had two tackles and looked lost. we didn't throw at at kelly or thomas, and we should have bcuz the giants ate santana's lunch. he showed some spirit and threw an uppercut with mean intentions, tho. maybe the two sophomores weren't getting open, it wasn't clear when i watched the replays. this passive defense sucks. it was ok previously bcuz we had a pretty much vanilla defense. but what's the point of spending that money to bring in playmakers and not letting them make plays now. that is either a coaching mistake or a lack of confidence by the coach to take any chances. like gregg williams tried to bottle up lavar arrington who we drafted to do the things the coach told him not to do. let these guys PLAY. and zorn needs to let his offensive coordinator DO HIS JOB. COACH ZORN: if you were any good at all calling plays, it would have shown by now. you were a decent qb, i'll give you that, but that sandlot play you called KILLED a drive. what in hades were you thinking abt? that we were gonna surprise 'em?? for the haters: it ain't just the quarterback, there's a WHOLE LOTTA stuff needing to be fixed here. immediately. and...
WASHINGTON POST REPORTERS: what's going on at practice this week. what happened at team meetings? what are we working on. write some gd stories about fixes being implemented. all of us can see something is wrong. report news dammit, don't just fuel the qb controversy. THAT will work itself one way or another, sooner or later. some of this reporting is beneath you. or should be.

Posted by: dcjazzman | September 16, 2009 2:07 AM | Report abuse

JIM ZORN and his poor play calling are the problem with the offense!! I am so sick and tired of these so called football fans pointing fingers at JC. Pay attenion JC makes less mistakes than most other qbs. Jim Zorn needs to allow JC to win the game with that big arm of his instead of spending so much time trying not to loose it. JC now knows the plays on offense and he has plenty of weapons to use. We need a coach that is not afraid to lose by trying to win!!! JIM ZORN spends so much time trying not to loose it makes it hard for Washington TO WIN !!!!!!

Posted by: LETJASONPASS | September 16, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

Lets be honest, the skins don't have a good offense. They haven't in.. well a decade. 1999, that was the last time they were in the top 10 in the league in offense. To expect them to be anything more then average, without upgrading personnel, is a pipe dream.

These same players were 28th... yes 28th in the league in points per game last year. And the only change i can see is an older offensive line, and rb who we all know is past his prime based on the number of carries, which is a wall every single rb hits. So why was anyone surprised that we couldn't do anything against the giants, one of the best D's in the league?

Posted by: djnune03 | September 16, 2009 2:36 AM | Report abuse

one other thing: what happened to all those long punts we saw in preseason? 38 yards? there are high schoolers who can do that!

Posted by: dcjazzman | September 16, 2009 2:40 AM | Report abuse

Zorn AND Campbell are part of the problem. Zorn is in over his head and Campbell:

1) Holds onto the ball too long, because he doesn't realize that single coverage = OPEN in the NFL.

2) Still makes rookie mistakes like throwing the ball 3 yards past the line of scrimmage.

3) Opts for shorter routes that are covered more tightly than longer routes that are open.

4) Has zero pocket-awareness and poor footwork.

5) Struggles mightily in the red zone.

Posted by: saqster | September 16, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

A true leader shouldn't have to go on the radio and "I'm a leader."

They just are and everyone knows it.

Campbell is not a leader and as the above poster said neither is Zorn.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | September 16, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

You can want to take shots down the field all day long, but when you are given the opportunity and then miss the open man by 5 yards, but you keep hitting those 10-15 yard passes, guess what the coach is going to keep calling?

Posted by: cecathcart3 | September 16, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

a real leader does not tell the world he is a leader, is he trying to convince himself???...6 years in the league and he has not gotten any better!! same stupid mistakes.

Posted by: astroman215aolcom | September 16, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Lighten up Skins Fans. JZ will finally let JC be the Quaterback he is this Sunday. JC is the best offensive weapon we have in our arsenal. As I've stated before, JZ needs to allow that weapon to play up to its potential. Overmanagement by him and Saint Joe have done more harm than good.

Posted by: classicskins | September 16, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Talk is cheap. Stop saying what you are and intend to do. JUST DO IT. Go out there and do what you are paid to do. Play!

Posted by: drsikali | September 16, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"Stop saying what you are and intend to do. JUST DO IT."

Haha, I love this. The guy was asked a question, he gave answer. People act like these guys call their own press conferences...

Posted by: Yoder-lay-hee-who | September 16, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

We need to know if JC audibled into the Betts run on the 3rd down play in the Meadowlands. That was the worst call I have seen in a game in a few years. If Zorn called it, then he has no faith in his qb. If Campbell audibled into it, then the Skins might need to have his head examined

Posted by: jpfterps | September 16, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Bog post of the year based on its title alone.

That slayed me.

Posted by: edeleon | September 16, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

You know what guys, I agree with a lot of what is being said as it relates to Zorn & JC. I'll take the good with the bad. What I suggest we all do is be patient. It's the first week guys. It is toooo early to throw this team under the bus. No one is talking about the erratic play of Jay Cutler this wk. Let's give JC the benefit of the doubt before we crucify him.

Posted by: state05 | September 17, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

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