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Campbell's Making Strides Early In Camp

Al Saunders calls the quarterback position "the most complex and the most demanding position in professional sports."


For Saunders, the complexities and demands of the position come down to decision-making.

The quarterback must read the defense at the line of scrimmage, plan for adjustments and make the right throw at the right time.

Learning this takes time.

Which brings us to Jason Campbell, the Redskins' 6-5, 232-pound starting quarterback.

"When Jason played last year, most of the time we had seven- and eight-man protections," Saunders said. "It's a numbers game and when you're blocking seven or eight offensive players, there are fewer receivers actively in the pass routes.

"So the better the quarterback can handle the decision-making process, the more you can expand.

"From a technique standpoint, Jason has improved dramatically--his command in the huddle, his voice inflexion, his enunciation of the plays and his direction to the other players has taken a step in the right direction.

"His decision-making is better, but he has a lot going on in his mind right now."

Saunders is cautiously optimistic about Campbell's prospects. He believes he has all the intangibles to be a very good quarterback.

Adds Saunders: "But he's a long way from where we want him to be in every phase and the decision-making part of the game is the part that will be an ongoing process."

This is a quarterback with just seven NFL starts to his credit, after all.

For Campbell, decision-making is just one skill he expects to add to his repertoire. As the Redskins' primary cause for optimism heading into the 2007 season, he wants to be a complete quarterback.

All he needs is experience.

During training camp, Campbell told reporters that he has made strides as a vocal leader.

"I'm able to be more vocal and outspoken, because I understand the offense better," he said. "Before, I was indecisive about the things I was doing as a quarterback because I didn't know the whole playbook. It was hard to tell everyone else to pick it up.

"Now that I know the whole offense and I've had a whole offseason to prepare, this year feels different. I can be more outspoken--and I feel my teammates are looking to me to be a leader."

Along with the coaching staff, Campbell has helped set the tone of training camp.

"There's a really different attitude this season," said the young quarterback the Redskins drafted on the first round (25th overall) three years ago. "You can feel a different vibe about our team."

Campbell explained it this way: "Going 5-11 last season doesn't sit right with anybody. It's definitely something we talked about as a team. We don't ever want to go through it again."

Campbell's first test--beyond the rigors of going up against his own defense in training camp--comes this Saturday when the Redskins visit Baltimore at 12 noon ET in the annual scrimmage against the Ravens.

It'll be another opportunity for Campbell to evaluate his decision-making and establish his leadership.

Said Saunders: "Last year, he was looking at film of Mark Brunell and Trent Green in this offense. Now, he's looking at himself and how he performed in a game environment against outstanding defenses that put tremendous pressure on him."

Look for Jason Campbell to see plenty of preseason action against the Titans, Steelers, Ravens and Jags in further preparation for his eighth NFL start on Sept. 9 versus Miami at FedExField.

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