To Analyze Campbell, 'Jaws' Goes Straight to Video

Greg Cosell, a senior producer for NFL Films, points out a formation to ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski as they watch film of quarterback Jason Campbell's performance for the Redskins against the Buccaneers on Sunday. It was Campbell's first start.
Greg Cosell, a senior producer for NFL Films, points out a formation to ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski as they watch film of quarterback Jason Campbell's performance for the Redskins against the Buccaneers on Sunday. It was Campbell's first start. (By Jim Graham For The Washington Post)

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By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 24, 2006

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. -- In the inner sanctum of NFL Films, former all-pro quarterback Ron Jaworski is performing video surgery on Jason Campbell, an intense battery of cuts, freeze-frames and rewinds designed to meticulously dissect the quarterback who now is the Washington Redskins' most important player.

Jaworski sits in front of a large television holding a laser pointer, reviewing the same game film used by all 32 NFL teams. For the next two hours, Jaworski, an analyst for ESPN and its "State Farm NFL Matchup," and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell, nephew of legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell, will deconstruct all 34 of Campbell's passes from Sunday's 20-17 loss to Tampa Bay, focusing on five key sequences. The session provides a rare glimpse into top-level evaluation and film study that is as illuminating for its exposure of the Redskins' flaws as a team as it is for its study of Campbell.

First and 10, Washington 26 13:21, First Quarter

On the Redskins' first play from scrimmage, Campbell fakes to Ladell Betts and throws 53 yards in the air to a streaking Brandon Lloyd; the ball drops through his hands. Jaworski shakes his head. On the first play of the game, Lloyd has left a big gain on the table, but Jaworski likes Campbell's poise.

"The good thing he does here is that he looks down the middle of the field and keeps the safety honest," Jaworski says. "A lot of young guys, if they're throwing the ball there, when the ball is snapped, they stare at him. . . . The term is, 'If the receiver beats the corner, the quarterback's got to beat the safety,' and he did that by keeping him in the center of the field."

The play is perfect, Jaworski says, but Lloyd has blown it.

First and 10, Washington 46 3:42, First Quarter

Play-action. Campbell throws to Betts for 14 yards. Checking down to a running back is the habit for which his predecessor, Mark Brunell, was vilified. But Jaworski loves it.

"Exact read, and a good, accurate throw. When I'm talking about quarterbacks, I'm not talking about a guy trying to go 8 for 8," Jaworski says. "I'm talking about what it's going to take to play at a championship level consistently. He makes this throw, and people say, 'Oh, nice throw.'

"To me, this is a great throw. He puts the ball on the outside hip, allows the back to turn up the field and get extra yards. I've seen this with quarterbacks and the ball is behind him. They have to stop. What should be a 10-yard gain becomes a one-yard gain because of the accuracy of the throw."

The coaches have discussed tweaking Campbell's throwing motion. Mechanically, quarterbacks are taught to begin their throwing motion at mid-chest; a big windup that starts under the belt is a red flag. Jaworski notices Campbell throwing consistently at about his belt or hip, which could cost his release critical milliseconds.

"I think he drops it a hair low here, but nothing I'd be overly concerned with," he says. "I played with Randall Cunningham for a few years, and Randall had a real big arc. . . . If you want to look at an elongated delivery, look at [Jacksonville's] Byron Leftwich. . . . This is not a major problem."

Cosell adds, "It's not like he drops it to his knees, like Leftwich."

First and 10, Tampa Bay 40 3:12, First Quarter

Trailing 3-0, associate head coach-offense Al Saunders goes for the home run.


CONTINUED     1           >

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