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NFL says hit on Campbell was legal

(By Tim Shaffer - Reuters)

Regarding Juqua Parker's late-game body slam of Jason Campbell, a play that drew no flag, I think Football Outsiders's Doug Farrar said it best:

If Juqua Parker body-slammed Brady or Manning like he did Jason Campbell, he wouldn't be penalized -- he'd be deported.

Redskins offensive coordinator Sherman Smith agreed, during his weekly interview with Comcast SportsNet.

"They'd have kicked the guy out of the game, they'd have fined him right on the spot," Smith joked, when asked what would have happened had Brady been slammed like that. "There's no question about it," Smith continued, turning serious. "There's no way you don't make that call. I'm just disappointed that the call wasn't made. I don't know how you don't make that call. And I thought he hit him after the throw. Even if he hit him on time, to throw him down the way he did is still a penalty."

Well, apparently not. Jim Zorn sent the play into the NFL, and on his Tuesday radio appearance on ESPN 980, he said the verdict came back negative.

"No, nope, legal play," he explained. "Because he got him around the shoulders and not the helmet."

Zorn was asked whether he agreed with that ruling.

"I didn't see the TV copy, I just saw what I saw, and it was questionable, but [the NFL] saw it from all angles and they were emphatic that was a clean play," he said. "You can hit a guy hard, now. You can hit a QB hard. You just can't land all your full body weight [on him], and [Parker] did not. I mean, this is a violent game, and we've got to be ready to take some punishment, and unfortunately it looked violent because he got whipped down pretty quick. But [Parker] didn't land on him, and I think that's fair."

Well, I'll continue to disagree. To me, it had nothing to do with the fact Campbell was thrown down, it had to do with the fact that he was thrown down long after the ball left his hands. I don't have screengrabs, but I think these two photographs make the basic point. Campbell also seemed to agree with that point of view in his weekly spot with CSN, which was taped on Monday.

"Clearly I had already thrown the ball, and you can see it on film where he just kind of grabbed you and kind of body slammed you into the ground," the quarterback said. "It's not our job to make those calls, but you do see that those are difference-makers in the game."

Like Campbell, Sherm Smith was talking to CSN before the NFL had signed off on the hit. But I think his comments--including a prediction that Parker would be fined--still stand.

"If they tell us that's not a penalty, then man, what is a penalty?" he asked. "I hate to think the referee [was thinking], 'Well, this was a fourth-down play, we don't want to have a bearing on the outcome of the game.' Well, if it's a penalty, it's a penalty. You didn't do anything. You're just calling the game."

Campbell also was again asked whether Brady or Manning gets that call.

"I don't even think I have to answer that one," he said. "I'm pretty sure everyone knows that. It just goes to show you how critical those plays are in the game, because there was two plays that we had called back on us that was critical in the game: the scramble that we had called back that was a third-down play, and the big run that [Marcus] Mason had we get it called back. Penalties can hurt you in the game, and if we could have got a penalty there it would have been hurtful for them."

Indeed, LaVar Arrington--one of the team's most frequent critics this season--has said that if Parker was called for the personal foul there, the Redskins would have won the game. At the very least, things would have suddenly gotten very interesting.

As for his injuries, Campbell said he only blacked out for a second, that he had a little bit of dizziness but nothing serious, and that team officials did all the necessary tests on the sideline and didn't find anything amiss.

"It was just one of those plays that sometimes you get a 15-yard penalty, sometimes you don't," he told Kelli Johnson. "Unfortunately, we didn't, so you've just got to continue to hang in there."

(By John McDonnell - TWP)

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 2, 2009; 7:05 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Sherm Smith says playcalling not confusing



Posted by: hessone | December 2, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

The NFL and its officiating standards are quickly decending to the levels of the NHL and, no, that is not a good thing.

Posted by: CapsNut | December 2, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

I agree that the hit should have been penalized. Slamming down is an infraction. The ref choaked because of the magnitude of the moment. The real problem in the game has thus far not been addressed and that is that the Redskins should have passed the ball and gone for a touchdown when they were five points ahead. They were rolling and should have put the game away. Worse case, they get intercepted and the eagles have the whole field to go. When you are 3 and 7, playing well, are in a hostile field against a money quarterback going for a playoff spot,have cornerbacks at less than full strength, have been burned by the same team on long plays in both games, you go for the win and not to avoid losing. If Jim Zorn didn't make that decision, hire him back and let him call his own plays.That was a point to show confidence in your team - a team that has shown a lot of heart.I would like to read commentary from Post writers on that decision. Frank Lyman, Jr.

Posted by: lymanlink2 | December 2, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

It just sickens me to think that the NFL, with its supposed, self-righteous concern for players' health and safety, would defend Parker's body slam of Jason. Campbell's head was driven to the ground, and he lay unconscious. How can anyone in NY with a clear conscience and a straight face claim the slam was legal? It's INFURIATING. I guess it's ok to ignore that for a QB who not only plays for a no-count team but also is a "no money" guy (like Manning or Brady or now Brees), and black to boot. What also infuriates me is that Zorn did not come to Jason's defense and demand, with some warmth, that the officials make the call. It works for other coaches and big name players who influence the refs' decisions. I lost respect for Zorn after his silence.

Posted by: jetnarongaolcom | December 2, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

The play was a penalty because the league has made it so. Perhaps the refs thought they wouldn't have made it out alive for the call, but the new rules are the new rules.

And in that perspective, it might have been a good time for Crazy-Eyes Zorn to make an appearance.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | December 2, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse


I know he doesn't play for the Redskins so the answer is probably no, but do you have any thoughts on Ovechkin's suspension?

Posted by: killercue00 | December 2, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The NFL becoming the NBA protecting its best Jordan players with favorable calls.

Posted by: jercha | December 2, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

jetnarongaolcom hit it right on the nail about Zorn not coming into Jason's defense right after the play. Zorn's procrastination and slow thought and speech process is not ideal for a head coaching position. His middle of the line attitude does not bode well as a leader of men who are looking to see if he will back them up in a fight. Now we know why this team is always trying to find leaders in the locker room when the real leader should be coming from the head coach.

Posted by: JohnWWW | December 2, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

That was a late hit and a hometown non-call.

Posted by: kahlua87 | December 2, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Say what you want, but ever since the second half in Atlanta I am proud to be a Skins fans again. These dudes, whoever they are, are playing hard

Posted by: jpfterps | December 2, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Does it matter? What have the Redskins accomplished in their two-minute offense this season that we can draw any positive conclusions from awarding the team four additional downs?

Remember, Campbell missed a wide-open Moss down the sideline and a wide-open Randel El up the seam during the second half. If the offense had any killer instinct, those plays would've been made -- and ballgame.

Posted by: ttassa | December 2, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse


was it a penalty? maybe. it was close. they still had no timeouts and a long way to go to get into FG range. Its unlikely they would have won anyway. All the whining about it is pretty lame. It wasn't that bad, and I have certainly seen worse hits go unpenalized.

Posted by: anfony79 | December 2, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

meh. take the skirts off QBs and let's play ball.

Posted by: funkey | December 2, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse


was it a penalty? maybe. it was close. they still had no timeouts and a long way to go to get into FG range. Its unlikely they would have won anyway. All the whining about it is pretty lame. It wasn't that bad, and I have certainly seen worse hits go unpenalized.

Posted by: anfony79 | December 2, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Could you give us one or two of those "worse hits" that you have seen this year that have gone unpenalized!!??
If you are going to throw up junk like that, have an example to back it up!!
Otherwise you are merely a troll!!

Posted by: dkidwell61 | December 2, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The hits that are routinely inflicted on quarterbacks never cease to amaze me. I know it's a violent, contact sport, but how often does the QB get nailed after he lets go of the pass? A lot. And don't tell me that most of those hits couldn't have been avoided.

I think the NFL is trying to sell violence -- but they get indignant when a star is hurt. If Campbell had been Farve or Brees, you can bet there would have been a flag and a fine.

Posted by: bethesdaguy | December 2, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I still maintain that there was another play in the game(either 3&15 or that resulted in a 3&15) where Campbell was also hit very late and at least one arm to the head. I've seen Campbell get hit late and in the head a few times this year and he just doesn't get the calls like some other QBs.

Posted by: sitruc | December 2, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

The NFL officiating is horrible.

The NFL management is deplorable.

The commissioner is gutless.


Posted by: AWWNats | December 2, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Not only was this call questionable, but what about the play before where the DB in an attempt to celebrate hit Fred Davis in the head? I understand it was an accident, but rules are rules, you can't strike another player after the play, especially in the head. I mean his head visibly jerked down from this. Should have been a 15 yard personal foul.

Posted by: smmckenzie | December 2, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

no doubt, roughting the qb. your not going to get that call late in a game in philly.

Posted by: mdoughtie22 | December 2, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

So the NFL just told the redskins Defense what is allowed. Redskins Defense, feel free to WWE the opponent QB. Any fines, penalties and suspensions can now be appealed through NFLPA union reps. Happy Hunting

Posted by: Hank4 | December 2, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The NFL and its officiating standards are quickly decending to the levels of the NHL and, no, that is not a good thing.

Posted by: CapsNut


More like the NBA...only stars get the calls.

Posted by: js_edit | December 2, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Skins are not a marquee team, so they don't get the calls afforded the Brady’s, Manning’s etc... I thought they were playing's a rough game. The skins tried rough play when Albert Haynesworth fell on Mat Cassell and received a 15 yard game changing penalty for the Chiefs….Remember??

Posted by: dc4life | December 2, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

That is bull**** from the NFL. Regardless of the outcome, it should have been called.

Posted by: Mark99 | December 2, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Why was Campbell grabbing the grass?

Posted by: Barno1 | December 2, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg -- why did you wait so long to post this? The game was last week...maybe post it Sunday night or Monday morning - or did it take you that long to think of a topic? Weak...per usual.

Posted by: dbunkr | December 2, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

@dbunkr, I did post about this on Sunday night. But Jim Zorn didn't disclose the NFL's response until Tuesday afternoon. The CSN video with Sherm Smith's comments wasn't posted until Tuesday night, which is when I wrote my item.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | December 2, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

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