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J. Campbell: The Kid Receivers Are Ready

Quarterback Jason Campbell was making a point, so I shut up and listened. We were talking this week about the upcoming season and his opinion about the Skins' strengths and weaknesses.

While I was asking him a question about the uncertainty at wide receiver behind Santana Moss, Campbell cut me off mid-sentence.

"I think people are going to be surprised, real surprised," he said.

From the tone of his voice, I knew he meant surprised in a positive way for the Skins and their fans. Now, I pride myself on keeping an open mind, but Washington's receiving corps was a major weakness last season.

With the exception of Santana Moss, Campbell had no viable downfield options. Antwaan Randle El is coming off a down year, and wideouts Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly were disappointing as rookies. Thomas had maturity/professionalism issues, and Kelly's knee problem, which the Skins were aware of when they drafted him, was disruptive all season.

So when Campbell began talking about expecting big things from the entire group, well, I was more than a little surprised -- and not surprised in the way he meant.

But Campbell believes Thomas and Kelly "are ready for us to count on them and really help us. They're ready for us to lean on them. I'm saying that because of what I've seen from them" in workouts.

Campbell worked closely with Thomas, Kelly and tight end Fred Davis, also entering his second season, during the offseason. He organized many throwing sessions in which the three 2008 second-round draft picks showed him a lot.

"You could just see the development and the improvement," Campbell said. "You could see the change in their approach and their understanding about the game. With Devin, he's going into his second year in the league and I think he's getting some things figured out. And Malcolm ... the key with Malcolm is just to keep him on the field and keep that knee right.

"Those guys are going to be so important, and I really feel we can depend on them and lean on them this season. And Fred, Fred has a lot of talent. He can be a guy who we really take advantage of with [Pro Bowl tight end] Chris Cooley. These are talented guys, and I just saw a lot from them to be real optimistic about. I wouldn't say that if I didn't believe it."

If Thomas and Kelly emerge as productive receivers, the Redskins could move Randle El into more of the slot role, for which he is better suited and was originally signed to play. Coach Jim Zorn would love to finally utilize those two-tight end set plays running through his mind, and it could happen if Davis is ready to get focused.

"We're counting on Devin, Malcolm and Fred for a lot," Campbell said. "We need to count on them."

By Jason Reid  |  July 29, 2009; 3:41 PM ET
 
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Comments

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/soccerinsider/2009/07/fashionable_quaranta.html?wprss=soccerinsider

Don't let the Giants' fanbase get a hold of this photo. I wonder how much they had to pay him to agree to this photo-op.

Posted by: psps23 | July 29, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Prove it. Seing/winning is believing. You could site this kind of training camp babble since Jim Thorpe....

Posted by: chrislarry | July 29, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

These weren't really revelatory comments from Campbell. But hopefully, they prove to be true.

Posted by: psps23 | July 29, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Slot the slot guy and get Malcolm outside. Devin showed me something on that end around last year too...

Posted by: ElYeah | July 29, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

And you, Mr smarty-pants dcsween, are not exactly the Mayor of Slick City either.

The Pimp maybe...

Posted by: _Stumped_ | July 29, 2009 3:31 PM

That's Mr. The to you. Seriously, that would be a conflict of interest for the Mayor of Smarty Pants City ... which reminds me ... I got a message for all you self-proclaimed know-it-alls ... you irritate those of us who do.

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

ESPN doesn't have Clinton Portis listed in the fantasy top 10 for RB's. Hmmmm...really?

Posted by: scampbell1975 | July 29, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

i will be thrilled if I can see this team go out in a no-back set and not feel sick to my stomach.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 29, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Prove it. Seing/winning is believing. You could site this kind of training camp babble since Jim Thorpe....

Posted by: chrislarry | July 29, 2009 3:58 PM

This does sound like the reviews of the second round pass-catcher who preceded them ... Taylor Jacobs, Training Camp Marvel.

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"ESPN doesn't have Clinton Portis listed in the fantasy top 10 for RB's. Hmmmm...really?

Posted by: scampbell1975 | July 29, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Good than the rubes who just draft off a list will pass, and you can pick him later on at a steal in rounds 3-5.

Posted by: chrislarry | July 29, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

i will be thrilled if I can see this team go out in a no-back set and not feel sick to my stomach.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 29, 2009 4:05 PM

You mean other than the punting team, right?

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

If I stopped feeling sick to my stomach every time I saw the punter getting ready in the backfield. That would also be a nice thing.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 29, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

This rube has his first choice RB and WR in mind already based on logic, last season, and upcoming O-line, but those are in what I call the Vinny Vault ... which means I can talk alot about it without any hesitation about deception, including direct and candid misstatement of true intention.

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I have to believe in this team; there are no bums, just a bunch of guys that want to win football teams (reaching for Rose colored glasses).

We got rid of Blloyd, right? (glancing at clock counting down to start of camp).

We should have a monster D, I can't imagine any team lighting up the score board on them.

(sips cold vodka and grape Kool-aid).

I'm ready. Hail.

Posted by: _Stumped_ | July 29, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Red - sorry to say, don't remember Drama King. Perhaps a link to particularly salient posting would help?

[ :-|

But you keep going on & on about stuff you don't give an asscrumb for. Maybe you DO need to take a 'quiet minute' and think before you post?

So like the hayseeds in the cartoons, you keep a lightin' them up - and I'll keep a blowin' 'em out...

ya riled - ya definitely riled. One could say you are Champion & HOF'er Pat RILEy at this point.

True story... almost peed on his shoes once. I was takin a RedDMV, I mean wizz at the AMC Sunset place. And I almost pulled the classic "Hey your Pat Riley" and turn to face him... awesmoe.

Alright kiddos - carpool time.

Red - do I need to deal with this again tomorrow, or are you ok now?

nite nite..

Posted by: DikShuttle

You're trying too hard.

Okay, for real. Someone tell me, is this what passes off as funny around these parts?

That sh*t was dumb corny.

Man, f it, Dik. You got it. Your world homie.

Posted by: RedDMV | July 29, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cooley is not mad

http://chriscooley47.blogspot.com/2009/07/comments.html


Posted by: alex35332 | July 29, 2009 3:10 PM

By the sounds of it, he is def irratated and mildly mad. The 2nd video was dumb. Who is Tony Homo? Tanner or Cult?

Posted by: 4thFloor | July 29, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

4th I am half sure its Cult

Posted by: alex35332 | July 29, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

4th, Tanner is Cooley's brother (the reason he has a blog is to defray the costs of his bro going to medical school) and Cult is his buddy Colt (Brennan). You can guess on the first one (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Ohhh, that's some mighty fine leadership stuff from Jason Campbell!!

Anyhow, isn't the whole 2-TE set stuff really predicated more on the play of the O-line and less on the emergence of Fred Davis? I mean, unless you are pulling the WRs off the field, the "risk" of running routes w/ 2 TEs is that you skimp on the pass-protection.

We keep talking about Fred Davis getting some play, but, frankly, I'd like to see Chris Cooley downfield a bit more. Catching 70 balls is nice, but when 60 of them are TE screens and flairs into the flat, it's hard to feel like we are making the most of his abilities.

Posted by: p1funk | July 29, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I misread the question. Never mind.

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I have to believe in this team; there are no bums, just a bunch of guys that want to win football teams (reaching for Rose colored glasses).

We got rid of Blloyd, right? (glancing at clock counting down to start of camp).

We should have a monster D, I can't imagine any team lighting up the score board on them.

(sips cold vodka and grape Kool-aid).

I'm ready. Hail.

Posted by: _Stumped_ | July 29, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse
We need a good punt returner, Antwaan doing backwards dancing last year gave me chest pains. That will make a big difference

Posted by: iH8dallas | July 29, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

If they sign Micheal Vick in some clandestine back room deal, I say we use him on punt return.

Posted by: _Stumped_ | July 29, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

And, I'm pretty sure that ARE was going sideways, not backwards...let's give credit where credit is due.

Posted by: _Stumped_ | July 29, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Isn't D'Angelo Hall a punt returner?

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

We should have a monster D, I can't imagine any team lighting up the score board on them.

(sips cold vodka and grape Kool-aid).

I'm ready. Hail.

Posted by: _Stumped_ | July 29, 2009 4:12 PM

Except New England, and Colts, and Pittsburgh, but you're right, they are not
in our division. 12-4 seems doable

Posted by: abxinc | July 29, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Maclin looks like he will be a holdout and is asking for beaucup (sp?) money from a team that acts frugal, the Iggles.

Not good for the team 'destined' by the media to go to the SB this year.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | July 29, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

This stuff is a great read but I want to see it first. I'm excited about our potential, but in my mind much of this rests on Jason Campbell. I may be the only one, but I have no problems with what the FO did this offseason with Campbell. It's their right, so if he's bent out of shape, then so what. Take it out on the opponent. I blame Zorn for "redshirting" Davis and Thomas.

Posted by: rickyroge | July 29, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I blame Zorn for "redshirting" Davis and Thomas.

Posted by: rickyroge | July 29, 2009 4:28 PM

I blame Davis and Thomas for being hurt and not good, respectively.

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

can someone please explain to me what exactly is asked of a slot receiver. I understand Randel El is no downfield threat and is not really a guy you go to outside the hash marks. If these attributes disqualify him from playing any other position other than the slot, then doesn't this mean that a slot receiver is just the crappy receiver who only gets the ball underneath when manned by a safety or linebacker? Because to me, Randel El is a joke, and the less the 'skins have to rely on him to make plays the better.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | July 29, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Maclin looks like he will be a holdout and is asking for beaucup (sp?) money from a team that acts frugal, the Iggles.

Not good for the team 'destined' by the media to go to the SB this year.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | July 29, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse


I can imagine Maclin's agent demanding Darius Heyward-Bey money. His arguments?

1) "My client shouldn't be punished just b/c Al Davis is a crazy old coot."

2) "Mel Kiper Jr. thought we should go much higher."


I can also imagine Philly's response:

1) "Have you seen this finger of mine before? Here it is..."

Posted by: p1funk | July 29, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins will finish with a 4-12 record.

It's time to say goodbye to Vincent Cerrato.

Too bad, Danny Snyder.

Maryland football will finish with a 2-10 record.

Maryland basketball will finish with a 15-16 record

No NCAA bid

No NIT bid

Carolina Blue - Carolina WHITE - Go Tar Heels - Let's go Tar Heels !

Posted by: hclark1 | July 29, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Except New England, and Colts, and Pittsburgh, but you're right, they are not
in our division. 12-4 seems doable

Posted by: abxinc | July 29, 2009 4:27 PM

Even better, they're not on our schedule. Whether the scoreboard gets lit up has little to do with opposing team "power" going into the game. It happens when one team gets knocked on its heels early in the game and then in a rut it can't dig out of ... being down by 21 points can easily slide into a bloodbath of losing team doesn't snap out of it and play like its about football (rather than just a job). Its why staying "medium" is real important ... because every play has to be as if the score is 0-0 regardless of what the score actually is.

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Slot is the guy who works the middle and consistently moves the chains. Wes Welker is a good slot guy. Randel El will never be a great WR no matter where he lines up. He may be good for about 40-50 catches at best. Hopefully Thomas and Kelly both step it up and send ARE to the sidelines.

Posted by: ToddStinkston | July 29, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Zard, this is from your wikipedias ...

While the general fan base and most commentators use the generic term wide receiver for all such players, specific names exist for most receiver positions:

Split end (X or SE): A receiver on the line of scrimmage, necessary to meet the rule requiring seven such players at snap. Where applicable, this receiver is on the opposite side of the tight end. The split end is farthest from center on his side of the field.[5]

Flanker (Z or FL): A receiver lining up behind the line of scrimmage. Frequently the team's featured receiver, the flanker uses the initial buffer between himself and a defender to avoid jamming, legal contact within five yards of the line of scrimmage. The flanker is generally on the same side of the formation as a tight end. As with the split end, this receiver is the farthest player from the center on his side of the field. The flanker is probably lined up just like a split end except that he is just behind the line of scrimmage, being in the backfield and not on the line.[6]

Slot receiver (Y or SL): A less-formal name given to receivers in addition to split ends and flankers. These receivers line up between the split end/flanker and the linemen. If aligned with a flanker, the slot receiver is usually on the line of scrimmage, and if with a split end, off the line of scrimmage. As with the flanker position, a featured receiver often takes a slot position with a split end to avoid jamming.[6]

Slot back: A receiver lining up in the offensive back field. Canadian and Arena football allow them to take a running start at the line. They are usually larger players as they need to make catches over the middle. In American football slot backs are typically used in flexbone or other Triple Option offenses while Canadian football uses them in almost all formations.

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

we talk about D Thomas being a bust, but he barely saw the field last year. Imagine the numbers he could have had if he took AREs place last year, he could have had 1000 yards easy. ARE is good for running that option pass play, thats about it. Start D. Thomas next year, if Malcolm is healthy start him too.

Posted by: iH8dallas | July 29, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Isn't D'Angelo Hall a punt returner?

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:27 PM

Not anymore. He hasn't returned a punt in 2plus seasons...

Posted by: 4thFloor | July 29, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ToddStinkston | July 29, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

LOL thats a funny name

Posted by: iH8dallas | July 29, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

He can call himself: "Dickey Two Slaps" and everyone would just have to accept it and get over it.

Posted by: RedDMV

But then you might sue him for copyright infringement.

Posted by: TheCork | July 29, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

we talk about D Thomas being a bust, but he barely saw the field last year. Imagine the numbers he could have had if he took AREs place last year, he could have had 1000 yards easy. ARE is good for running that option pass play, thats about it. Start D. Thomas next year, if Malcolm is healthy start him too.

Posted by: iH8dallas | July 29, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse


There's a little something wrong with your logic.

D. Thomas wasn't even good enough to supplant ARE in the lineup. Part of what makes him a Year 1 "bust" was his apparent inability to even earn/work his way onto the field.

Posted by: p1funk | July 29, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Now I'm just cutting and pasting:

http://www.kffl.com/article.php/73828/488

Positional Breakdowns: As is evident from the general features, the quarterback is the key to a West Coast offense. You can't run this type of offense successfully with a quarterback that can't make quick reads and sharp, precise passes. As a result, certain quarterbacks in the league aren't suited for - and as a result should never play in - a West Coast offense. While they aren't necessarily but can be the main focus of the offense, running backs and tight ends are also key as they are relied on to catch a lot of passes more so than other schemes. These positions might not be main targets (or hot reads) on every play, but they must run routes and are often used as fallbacks or check-downs in case the hot read is not open.

The focal point and key to a successful West Coast offense, though, is the wide receiver position. Unlike other offenses, wide receivers fit into a different terminology of positions on the field. West Coast receivers have to be excellent at gaining yards after the reception, something that made retired NFL great Jerry Rice such a lethal wide receiver for the better part of two decades. They include:

Split End: This position is generally reserved for a more possession-type receiver that has a good release off the line, because the split end must line up on the line of scrimmage on the weak side of the field.

Flanker: This position gives the receiver more freedom, since he doesn't line up on the line of scrimmage and can go in motion to the weak side of the field. An illegal formation penalty will be called if there is not a wideout on the weak side of the play, whereas the tight end on the power side is on the line of scrimmage. The flanker is not technically reserved for a speedy receiver, but it does give smaller, speedier receivers more room to work.

Slot: The newer versions of the West Coast offense often use a third receiver placed in the slot instead of a second tight end. Slot receivers are generally smaller, speedier players that have trouble beating press coverage. However, some teams may use bigger players to offset this.

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

There's a little something wrong with your logic.

D. Thomas wasn't even good enough to supplant ARE in the lineup. Part of what makes him a Year 1 "bust" was his apparent inability to even earn/work his way onto the field.

Posted by: p1funk | July 29, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse
Easy fix. Scream in his face , tell him to quit being a jerk off and get on the field. It sucks when you have starting receivers the size of horse jockeys. Get his tall a## out there and throw the ball at him. If he doesn't want to work have Sellers punch him in the face

Posted by: iH8dallas | July 29, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

the mayor needs to support his opinion with facts. The mayor says randle el had "a down year" well if the mayor checked the stats, it took me 5 minutes on my I phone to confirm what I already suspected. Randle el had career highs in receptions and receiving TDs. The mayor translates this to a down year?

The mayor is just making stuff up. I hate that. The mayor makes a negative comment based on opinion. What exactly is the mayor the mayor of...making stuff up town? Cmon mayor can you try a little harder than the last jerk who made unsubstantiated negative comments

Posted by: pabrian2003 | July 29, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

down year, career year ... you're both wrong. Career year on # of receptions and TDs ... down year on receiving yards and and average yards per catch.

http://www.nfl.com/players/antwaanrandleel/profile?id=RAN399604

Posted by: dcsween | July 29, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Only thing that worries me about our "D" is the high expectations. Don't forget, we lost a couple key players and team chemistry is sooooo important. That said, if we can get a .500 start the first six games, our "D" should improve the rest of the way and maybe we can make a run for the playoffs. Wouldn't it be nice to see the ofense do something on opening day against the giants that they didn't do all last year.....score 30!?

Posted by: vegasskinsfan | July 29, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: Gweez | July 29, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

ARE didn't have an "off year" last year. He had the most catches in his career and accumulated the third most yards. However, it will be interesting to see how he measures up this year.

I think Moss will be the starting Z and Thomas the starting X ; with ARE, Kelly and Davis alternating in the slot???

What I didn't like were AREs punt returns -- there were too many fair catches (21) and too much lateral movement. Hopefully there will be serious competition in camp this year, although the Skins might be able to fix the problem by significantly improving the punt blocking schemes and execution...

Posted by: siris | July 29, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

This is a team to be proud of, from the head coach down, no head cases. As for Portis, it is better to just laugh at him and not take him too seriously.

Posted by: yondego | July 29, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

What's with the Randel El bashing? He's saved us many many times in a role he wasn't brought in for.

Thomas should have still been in college last year. He understands he has to try now. Kelley apparently gets that he needs to take care of himself and both now have an axe to grind. Feeling pretty good about the receiving corps actually.

Mike Williams seems to think RT is his - "at 342!?" was his response to whether he had a shot at starting. Heyer is no slouch and he's not exactly a rookie.

Where does Bridges fit into all this?

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | July 29, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Can Redskins Insider get on facebook?

Posted by: bmerrion | July 29, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: SkinsneedaGM | July 29, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Mike Williams seems to think RT is his - "at 342!?" was his response to whether he had a shot at starting. Heyer is no slouch and he's not exactly a rookie.
Posted by: BrooklynSkins | July 29, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

__________________________________________


There is a reason why Mike Williams was picked #4 overall out of TEXAS in 2002 and Heyer was an undrafted FA out of MARYLAND. It's called talent... I just don't know all the details as to why he failed so bad in the NFL the first time around ... Laziness, injury, technique, etc.

Posted by: tony325 | July 30, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

"With the exception of Santana Moss, Campbell had no viable downfield options"

I think the same could be said last season about the other NFC East clubs, except for Dallas. And this year it could be said about Dallas, too.

IMO it wasn't another downfield option that we craved last year; it was the big receiver that Malcolm Kelly was drafted to be.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 30, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

p1funk: "Anyhow, isn't the whole 2-TE set stuff really predicated more on the play of the O-line and less on the emergence of Fred Davis?"

Well, you do need two receiving TEs to run it. Cooley's not particularly fast, so it helps if the other TE is. Yoder wasn't a candidate.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 30, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

"...doesn't this mean that a slot receiver is just the crappy receiver who only gets the ball underneath when manned by a safety or linebacker?"Posted by: ZardsFan1

No.

I'm sure lots of others have taken a shot at this, but here goes my simplified version:

A slot receiver is the WR who lines up farthest inside before the snap (sometimes he's on the line, sometimes not.)

The term has become associated with the 3rd best receiver, but in reality, teams will put their top guy in the slot on certain plays, in order to get a mismatch.

A slot receiver can be a smaller, quicker guy like Randle El, or occasionally a big guy like Devin Thomas, depending on the mismatch the team is trying to create.

You're most likely to see somebody in the slot on a long passing down. You're correct that the idea is to isolate the receiver on a LB or safety, but that's the goal of almost all secondary patterns -- to exploit a weakness in coverage.

Randle El is a good slot receiver because he's very adept at running after the catch. He's less effective as an outside receiver, where he has to deal with a CB.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 30, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

"There is a reason why Mike Williams was picked #4 overall out of TEXAS in 2002 and Heyer was an undrafted FA out of MARYLAND. It's called talent... "Posted by: tony325

Don't forget Joe Jacoby and Mark May. At first the fanz thought May was a bust because he was getting outplayed in camp by this hulking undrafted FA. Later they realized what they'd lucked into with Jacoby.

IMO Williams struggled with two things: weight and motivation. He started gaining almost as soon as he hit the pros, and never managed to regain complete control. That struggle may continue this season, too, which is why we shouldn't put all our eggs in that basket.

He also seemed to lose his desire to play football. It's not all that hard to understand; a lot of these really big guys are fairly placid personalities who miss the more nurturing college environment. It's a big change from BMOC to BDID (Biggest Disappointment In the Draft) and maybe that premature retirement was the best thing that ever happened to him.

You know, Michael Oher sort of reminds me of the young Williams...

Posted by: Samson151 | July 30, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

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