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Sherm Smith says playcalling not confusing

By now, you've no doubt read Chris Cooley's description of the Redskins' playcalling system, which he called "really weird," "almost unheard of," and "a carousel of calls." His description of the five-man system pretty much mirrored what Moose Johnston had said during the Fox broadcast, which makes sense, since Cooley had been watching the game on television from home.

And while the pentagonal system absolutely sounds absurd, and hasn't led to many more wins, it's at least sparked a few marginally better offensive performances. Offensive coordinator Sherm Smith had made it obvious that he wasn't a fan of this system when it was created, but in his weekly appearance with Comcast SportsNet this week, he sounded like he was coming around.

"It's not as confusing as it sounds," he told Kelli Johnson. "Believe me, it isn't. Because if it were, I think you'd see a lot more delay of games, a lot more broken plays and guys lining up wrong, but that hasn't been the case....I think it's pretty good. There's some other teams that kind of do it that way, and I can see the benefits of it."

And while Jim Zorn said on ESPN 980 that he called the plays on the final drive of the game and the final two drives of the first half, he also said there was nothing strange there.

"That's part of the plan," he said. "I've got this thing sitting in front of me, and it's fairly easy to relay."

And Smith also said that was normal.

"That's the way it's been, because it's kind of hard for the plays to come down from the press box for the two-minute, but it's been going fine as far as I'm concerned," Smith said. "Sherm [Lewis] and Chris Meidt are upstairs, they're discussing what's going to be called in the passing game, Sherm gives it to me and I just send it in the game. And then when a run is called, he asks me to be prepared to call the runs, and so we've done it. So it's been fine to me. A lot better than I probably thought.

"Because the system that we put in place, having the wristband system really helps, because Sherm [Lewis] can just say, 'Here's the play I want,' and Jason can read, and he's not colorblind. So he can read the wristband and we can get the play in a lot faster than if we're going through all that verbiage."

As for the offensive improvement, it's hard to judge whether this is something to build on or just, um, something. I happen to believe that it's the latter, but I understand the people desperately searching for things to be happy about, and why they want to think it's the former. On his radio show, Zorn said he "absolutely" thinks the offense could be pretty good in the future if he's given enough time to make it happen, and he said the upside is there.

"If I reflect back on the Seattle experience and other experiences, too, Matt [Hasselbeck] lost his job the first year we were there to Trent Dilfer," Zorn said. "And the only way he won his job back that year was because Trent tore his Achilles tendon because he tried to scramble. But.after that, he sort of had this large improvement, but the receivers hadn't yet, and it wasn't until another couple years that all of the sudden the receivers started going fast, and our run game started with Shaun Alexander, our blocking schemes got together.....

"If you look at what New Orleans is doing, this is what, Drew's fourth or fifth year in the system? Because that's when he came with Sean. Now this thing is really starting to go. It does take a while to really get comfortable, to understand how to play fast at all positions. Some guys will improve quicker than others. I think Matt, when he was in the offense, he improved quicker than the receivers, and it was frustrating for him. And I thinks Santana's playing at a pretty fast pace. I think Antwaan's playing at a pretty fast pace. But the younger guys are still coming on. Our run game has been stymied because Clinton hasn't been able to be healthy, but our group of backs, they're playing hard. I mean, those guys are really giving us their best effort.

"So things are looking up. The problem in talking about all this stuff is still the L. You know, I've got the Loser slapped right on my forehead, because I know that it doesn't matter. Unless we win, it doesn't matter."

In one final bit of offensive analysis, John Riggins, reporting from a clearing in the forest, has turned around on Jason Campbell.

"You know, I was wrong about him," Riggins said in his latest video dispatch. "Now, is he gonna become a great quarterback in the NFL? I don't know. I don't think it's gonna happen here in Washington, and if I'm Jason Campbell, I'm out of here, but I have to applaud him on the way he's comported himself this season....He picks himself back up, he handles himself with dignity, he says everything he needs to say, he compliments all the players that are out there with him, talking about how hard they're fighting. Listen, as a former player, I can get behind and play for that guy. Jason, keep on doing what you're doing, because you're gonna find a home somewhere in this NFL."

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 2, 2009; 9:43 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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It takes time to build a juaggernaut offense?

I thought if we just signed a bunch of high priced free agents, throw in one draft class and big name coach, it would be instant success.

I'm so confused.

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

I knew this one would not have a lot of comments because it makes perfect sense.

All the JC haters need to understand those comments. And the other part of hasselback is he was a backup in Green bay, with the same system and coach for a couple of years too. QBs are not made overnight. it takes time and changing systems hurts development. it's on to a new system next year for sure for the team, not just JC.

Posted by: oknow1 | December 2, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

people who don't truly understand football will always blame the qb for a loss. offense and defense lose games not 1 man on the team. a lot of these campbell haters are so used to turning on madden football and controlling the game and passing all over the place but this is real football and when the game is on the line both offense and defense need to do their parts. on offense, we need to be able to run the ball as well as pass to be successful. the skins are only a pass only team because we can't run. by the same token, if we have a lead, can the defense prevent the other team from scoring w/o going into a prevent defense (pun intended)? our record would be 5-7 had we won the last two games in which the defense allowed long drives to undue their previous hard work.

Posted by: charronegro1971 | December 3, 2009 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me.. I understand the part of changing systems, but you still have to complete the pass. He's either throws the ball too short, too long, wide left or wide right. The majority of his passes are inaccurate. Please, please..let's call it like it is. He's is an average QB at best. He isn't an elite starter in this league. I'm not hating on him at all. They talk about Brees in the blog but, remember Brees was at San Diego and had a fantastic year when he was traded. Ever since he has been at NO he's has been a productive QB. Let's not compare him to an ELITE QB. Campbell has natural ability but, he just doesn't have that "IT" factor.

Posted by: liasdavis | December 3, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Please kill the accuracy issues. Jason has shown he is accurate. Other factors drive accuracy than just being able to throw the ball. #1 Pass Protection. If you don't see this then put Brady back there and see how he does with no time? Oh thats right he LOSES! Giants and Saints proved this already. LOL!

He has done the PR/PC thing with the interviews. You should be happy. He could state his real feelings. LOL!!!

He... they could have had Cutler right? LOL!

I agree with Riggs. Pack it up and hook up with a team with class and be the best you can.

Posted by: bbg_isback | December 3, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I'll give you a perfect example...Ben Roth! He has been more sacked than anyone in football and he is more effective than JC will ever be. Put JC with Pittsburgh, do you believe he would have the same success as Ben? Please....! Save that talk for someone else. You are expressing your opinion and I understand. Fact is, he will never be the QB you imagine him to be...even with a decent OL. Accuracy is being consistent with a standard. Do you actually believe he is? Do you believe that he is an ELITE QB? If no, we have to move on. How many over thrown balls do you want?

Posted by: liasdavis | December 3, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

JC will suck this sunday, you can bank on on it. On monday JC fans will post more excuses for the most underachieving starting QB in the NFL.

Posted by: theBozyn1 | December 3, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

JC needs a LT and a RT and a C for that matter, Then lets see what he can do. Remember he was the man when we were 6 and 2.

Posted by: toons123 | December 4, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

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