Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Play-Action: An Aid For Campbell

Ladell Betts has established himself as a presence in the ground game in recent weeks, and on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, it benefited Jason Campbell in the Redskins' passing game.

Campbell used play-action effectively to attack the Saints' defense early in Sunday's 16-10 win at the Superdome.

Late in the first quarter, Jason Campbell sold the play-action to lead the Redskins to a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

Following a 44-yard catch-and-run by Chris Cooley, the Redskins had the ball at the Saints' 31-yard line.

Campbell faked a handoff to Betts and rolled right. He threw a deep pass to Santana Moss, who had a step on cornerback Frank Thomas. Moss hauled in the pass in the back of the end zone, ahead of Thomas and cornerback Mike McKenzie, for a 31-yard touchdown catch.

"It was a play where we take a shot to the back of the end zone," Campbell said. "If you throw it short, it could be intercepted, so I just threw it to the back and gave Santana a chance to catch it."

The sequence highlighted the improvement that Campbell is making in his first extended stretch of action as a pro.

Campbell finished the game completing 13-of-28 passes for 204 yards along with the Moss touchdown pass.

"You see a guy start playing and there are a lot of things that you learn," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "Each week is kind of like a new chapter for him. Mentally, he is ahead of where I thought he was going to be. There are plays that he would like to have back in there, I'm sure.

"What he has showed is that he can step up in the pocket, he can make plays that are off schedule, he can see things and he can be strong and big in the pocket. I don't think he has any fear. Certainly, being the competitor that he is, stepping up in the pocket and making things happen has been a real plus for us."

In last week's 21-19 loss to Philadelphia, Campbell threw two costly interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown. On Sunday against the Saints, Campbell did not turn the ball, although he and center Casey Rabach had trouble on the center snap exchange on two occasions. The Redskins recovered the loose ball both times.

"The game has slowed down in a lot of different ways," Campbell said. "I am seeing a lot of different things. I feel like I am getting back into a groove of playing with some of the throws I am making and I feel like I am building chemistry with my receivers. I am adjusting to their speed."

He added: "Each game I play is another learning experience. Right now, I am trying to take that approach into each game and to go out and play to win.

The play-action allowed him to get into a rhythm against the Saints and establish a rapport with receivers Moss, Cooley Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El.

Cooley led receivers with four catches for 80 yards, followed by Moss with three receptions for 37 yards, Lloyd with two catches for 30 yards and Randle El with one catch for 14 yards. Betts also logged three catches for 43 yards.

Campbell is eager to improve his timing with the receivers.

"Some throws I can make before the receiver makes his break," he said. "Right now I'm still feeling them out. You can adjust to one or two receivers, but you have so many here, and they can run so fast, you have to get used to all of them. That's something I'm improving on.

"It's something you want to work on in the offseason--even if you don't see the receiver sometimes, just knowing he's going to be in that right spot is big. That comes from being in an offense and working with receivers for a while."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.