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Theismann calls Skins' system "horrific"

I'm having a hard time figuring out whether Joe Theismann thinks the Redskins' play-calling system is good, bad or medium. I guess the system has its positives and its negatives, its supporters and its detractors, its highlights and its lowlights. And sometimes you just never know who's on which downward sloping side of the team's play-calling trapezoid.

So, Joe, do you want to clarify your position, maybe?

"It's horrific!" he said on his ESPN 980 show Monday morning. "Horrific! Terrible! Stupid! Dumb! Everybody's got something that they're responsible for. It's like having three people run an organization, and not one person capable of making one decision. You have one person in charge of the passing game, you have one person in charge of the running game. That is the most absurd, ridiculous thing I've ever seen, and we see the results of that when you see the Redskins burn timeouts....

"And that's coaching, to me. That is coaching. Not getting the plays in, if there's a problem with plays, whatever it is, the communication to the quarterback has to be, such that if he looks at a clock and you haven't given him a play yet, then he goes ahead and runs it. I mean, Jason has got to have that flexibility. If the coaches don't give that to him, then they are missing the boat.

"But I am so sick and tired of watching us burn timeouts and not have them at the end of the game. You think we wouldn't have liked to have had at least a couple of timeouts at the end of that football game? It changes everything you want to do. When you have the ability to stop the clock, plus the two-minute warning, it changes things that you can do. You can throw the ball down the field a little bit more, if by some chance you get protection. But I just sit and I scratch my head: 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, timeout. I'm thinking, what is going on?....

"None of us know what the style of the Washington Redskins is on offense, because you've got too many stylists doing their hair. You've got curls in one place, you've got straight in the other, you've got bangs over here, you've got a short back. I mean, that's the first thing that needs to get fixed."

The thing I still don't understand is why, on the second wasted timeout of the second half, did Jim Zorn say "I hurt [Campbell], because I didn't have the needed call." What are you calling? Seriously, you don't call plays any more, right? Someone else better have hurt Campbell there besides you, because I'm not sure what comes next after a trapezoid.

Oh, and giving up and settling for that field goal attempt late in the first half? Zorn addressed that again on Monday.

"With 21 seconds to go, we did take a shot," he said. They had five guys back. I took a shot to the end zone with five different guys. Then with 15 seconds left, no timeouts, I couldn't risk either getting sacked, I couldn't risk completing the ball in bounds and trying to get a last second field goal. So I thought the smart thing to do was take the field goal right there, in field goal range. We had the ball on the 26-yard line, and it was missed. So we just went in at halftime, and we still had the lead, and I think we were very excited about the possibilities at that particular time, and came back out and got after it."

I mean, sure, it's easy to pick nits the day after, but as for his "did take a shot" with 21 seconds to go, what actually happened was they sent five receivers out, Dallas's Bobby Carpenter blitzed and was completely unblocked, and Campbell immediately scrambled toward the sideline before throwing it away just before stepping over the line. I'm not sure how much that counts as "taking a shot," but I guess it would encourage you not to want to try again.

Ah, whatever. That wasn't the silliest part of Monday's press conference. Here was the silliest part: when a reporter wisely asked about the potential for the defense to begin resenting the offense's inability to score

"We know that we're struggling on offense, but that's what it is, and yet our guys continually fight," Zorn said. "There's never complaining on the field. Even in a sudden change, when we've had a turnover and our defense has gone back on the field, nobody's dropping their heads and slapping guys as they come off....I think the same way when a team goes down and scores on our defense, our offense just comes back out and we know we have to go down and score."

My word machine is breaking down, but I'm pretty sure that when asked about his miserable offense's inability to help a fairly competent defense, Zorn wound up saying that the offense doesn't get bitter when the defense allows points.

Finally, here's Theismann on the quarterback situation.

"I thought Jason Campbell played courageously," he said. "Now there's a guy that's been under a ton of pressure, both outside of the ballpark and inside the ballpark. He has stood to everything. He is a true professional. I go back to training camp, and management, boy, 'We want Jay Cutler, we want Jay Cutler, Jay Cutler takes more chances.' Jay Cutler is terrible. Hello? The guy has no idea what he's doing, he throws the ball off his back foot half the time, he would have never survived to this point where Jason has survived because [Campbell's] a tougher guy. [Cutler] makes bad decisions. Jason's not given a chance to make bad decisions because he's on his back all the time or running for his life. To me, this football team should consider Jason Campbell as their quarterback."

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 23, 2009; 1:46 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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Next: Vernon Davis goes curling


Wow..Joey does know that Synder signs his checks ..right?

Posted by: ocskins | November 23, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I think when the book is finally written about this season, we'll find Zorn has been the weakest link of the 3 main guys on offense (Zorn, Sherman and Sherman). The guy simply isn't ready or capable of being an head coach. Why the heck will you not try a shot into the end zone on 3rd & short with 15 seconds to go? Afraid JC will take a sack? If nothing else, JC showed remarkable progress in recognizing how to avoid sacks yesterday. So if there ever was a time to go for an end zone shot, that was it. Plus, your kicker has been sitting on ice for over 7 minutes!

Posted by: tundey | November 23, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

what a waste of space and time this article has provided me.

Posted by: hock1 | November 23, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

This is just a step on the way to the full installation of Jim Zorn's New Earth Offense, where the plays are called telepathically, and the defense just falls over. TD every time. It's similar to what the '07 Pats used, up until Eli's magic slingshot in the SB.

Posted by: fourteenth_and_otis | November 23, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Joe. I don't know why the anti-Campbell movement has gained so much traction today. Commenters talk about how he over-throws, or misses throws, or takes too long to throw. Well, guess what - Peyton Manning doesn't hit every receiver between the numbers. Tom Brady doesn't always find the right guy to throw to. As good as those quarterbacks are, they have people around them and a system in place that allows plays to be made. I am not a Campbell apologist by any means (the interception he threw earlier this year when five yards past the line of scrimmage was miserable), but I just don't think the haters have ground to stand on after this game. We didn't get in the endzone... okay... but we also DIDN'T EVEN TRY to get in the endzone on 3rd down before the half. How is that Campbell's fault? How effective are Manning and Brady when irrationally pulled from the game for no reason? Should Campbell have punched Zorn in the face?


Posted by: crashinghero | November 23, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Plus, your kicker has been sitting on ice for over 7 minutes!

Posted by: tundey | November 23, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. And our kicker stayed on the field during the entire 7+ minutes. Unreal. Ever notice that when an opposing team tries to ice a kicker with a timeout, the kicker runs to the sideline? You stay out on the field, you're icing yourself. And our kicker--whose name I refuse to even utter--iced himself for 7 minutes by staying out on that field.

When have you ever seen a kicker in your entire life on the field for 7 straight minutes?

What's most amazing is the refs gave us 10 yards back and we still didn't bother to take a shot.

And how about the decision by our coaches to continue to use Rock Cartwrightgame after game after game in short yardage situations. If the guy has proven anything in his 8 years with this team, it's that he cannot convert short yardage situations under any circumstances. The draw play to him on 3rd and 2 late in the 4th was inexcusable. Know your personnel!!! How many times does he have to show us he can't get a yard in that situation, let alone 2? What could they possibly be thinking not using Sellers there? It boggles the mind.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 23, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a reverse hispanic mullet to me...

Posted by: offbeatdude | November 23, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

This is like interviewing George Utley and asking about the functions of Larry, Darryl and Darryl.

Posted by: hock1 | November 23, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"Replace Campbell Replace Campbell" has been the only thing coming out of the mouths of the fans who don't have a clue for the last 2 years. Forget how bad the Organization, Head Coach/Playcaller/ Offensive Genius, Offensive System, and the other Offensive Players have been it's always easier to cop out and blame Campbell. That's what Snyder who also is a fan without a clue, tried to do in the offseason when he tried to replace Campbell with Cutler and Sanchez. They've been no better than Campbell this season. I will take the word of Troy Aikman and Joey T that you can win ballgames with Campbell.

Posted by: moseley_brian | November 23, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

corny zorny is at least as bad as spurrier
maybe even worse

Posted by: jonthefisherman | November 23, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"I think when the book is finally written about this season, we'll find Zorn has been the weakest link of the 3 main guys on offense"
I second this comment. And third it. And am thinking about fourthing it. I think Zorn is just not a very good coach at all. He seems like a nice man who doesn't deserve to be treated the way he has been. But he also seems not so good at his job.

I'm pretty medium on Jason Campbell, but I think he looks a little livelier with Sherm Sr. calling the plays. And I can't help but notice that last year's Second-Round Busts are actually...doing stuff. Nothing huge, mind you, but they are semi-productive members of a football team.

I think Sherm Sr. adjusts his offense so that players can do more of what they do well and less of what they do poorly. Zorn seemed fixated on installing a State-of-the-Holmgren-'04 offense. And as it misfired Zorn just kept whaling on his square pegs, wondering why they wouldn't go in the round holes.

Posted by: hubcap | November 23, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Barno for a rare time you and I agree about that icing, the kicker, and partly Danny Smith and Zorn (for not yelling at him to get onto the sideline at any point over 7 minutes)

Posted by: alex35332 | November 23, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

barno, read the post game comments from suisam. he said he went to the sidelines to kick a few into the net. i agree he should have stayed on the bench until the whole stupid deal was resolved. no doubt he was iced, but a 38 yarder should be kinda automatic, ice or not.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 23, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

C`Mon Joe. Tell us how you really feel. Anyway, more timeouts for what? To have Cambell throw an INT? Yeah right! He is not a west coast QB and this team should not be trying to make him into one! FIRE VINNY and get a real GM!!

Posted by: vexed50verizonnet | November 23, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins????


Posted by: affirmativeactionpresident | November 23, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Joe T. is just hard on the play calling because he knows it involves the two Black coaches. Joe has a history or being overly critical of black coaches and black QB's. That's his history. Frankly, the team has played better since Lewis has been calling the plays. But, Zorn still gets to screw up fourth down and call the stupid timeouts from the sidelines. He also makes the stupid decisions on whether to kick field goals..or punt. On whether to try to get off two plays in 15 seconds or just kick a field goal and leave 10 seconds on the clock. This is all about Zorn just not being able to get it right. Sherm Lewis needs to be the head coach.

Posted by: kentonsmith | November 23, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Q&A from Wilbon's chat today explains precisely why we need a BOYCOTT of the team now...

Montreal, QC: Essay question: How would you convince Snyder to hire Bill Polian or his son Chris as Redskins GM. Discuss.

Michael Wilbon: I haven't been able. I've had this discussion with Dan after games when he's incredibly disappointed after a loss ... before games when he's incredibly spirited and optimistic ... over dinner when he has ordered something for me I don't even like ... after dinner when there's been red wine ... in the newspaper when he might not even be listening ... on the phone when he's called to yell at me for writing something he hated ... on the treadmill ... in the car (with blue tooth) ... in Seattle, in Miami ... I've actually had this conversation with him for nearly double-digit years and I haven't been able to convince him. And while I'm NOBODY Snyder should be listening to in the first place, I know he's been told this by people he probably should listen to and not taken the advice (yet) anyway. If you read this space on Mondays you should know I don't think he'll do it after firing Zorn either. I think there's one more celebrity hire he'll make ... and I don't care how famous the person is, it's not going to work until a football person has control of the day-to-day football-related decision-making.

Posted by: Pepper5 | November 23, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

To me, this football team should consider Jason Campbell as their quarterback."

I 100% agree. put the pieces around him that he needs (ie: a competent o-line, with quality depth behind it for the inevitable injuries from the wear and tear of a grueling season, #11 or #12 to embrace the opportunity that has fallen on their laps, and RB's who practice)

i dont think cp is at the end of his career (despite some brutal injuries throughout his career) but i am done with him if he's unwilling to practice. look what rocky did yesterday...know why? HE PRACTICES. imagine if CP practiced...we'd be talking about 1500 yard seasons again

Posted by: lossomes17 | November 23, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

what a waste of space and time this article has provided me.

Posted by: hock1

Much like this most meaningful, articulate well-thought-out comment!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 23, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Well it is good to see some praise for JC and well deserved piling on to Cutler. JC is not an elite NFL QB but he's at least as good as Cutler and Sanchez. The whole QB pursuit is just evidence of how stupid the Skins front office is. Both Cutler and Campbell threw 6 more TD than INT last season. And Cutler was sacked only 12 times. And in addition to a real O-line, Cutler had Marshall and Royal to pass to. The Skins had Moss (and Cooley) and the lousy rookie WR draft picks.

Joey T is right on the money here.

Posted by: calhokie | November 24, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

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