Quarterback School in Session as Campbell Gets to Work on '07
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
For Jason Campbell, the football season begins today. Only two months removed from his first season of actually taking the field and still four months from his first training camp as an NFL starter, the Washington Redskins quarterback will begin immersing himself in his craft at Redskins Park this morning.
Campbell, 25, started the final seven games after spending a season-and-a-half as the Redskins' third quarterback and showed flashes of why Coach Joe Gibbs was willing to part with multiple high draft picks to select him in the first round of the 2005 draft. His agility and mobility, arm strength, athleticism, poise and unflappability were among the few positives during Washington's season.
"This is an incredibly important time for Jason," said Al Saunders, the Redskins' associate head coach-offense. "There is nothing elementary to that position -- the quarterback position is probably the most intricate position on the football field for all the things you're required to do. And what Jason hasn't had is the same system two years in row. This is the first time in his career he will be able to be taught the techniques and fundamentals he can fall back on and rely on in times of stress.
"Now we have the opportunity for him to see himself on video in a competitive environment in the NFL, and work from the ground floor up. It's dependent on him, and dependent on the people around him, to devise the proper workload for him. And his will be a bit more extensive than most."
The Redskins look for an improved offense after a lengthy adjustment period to Saunders's playbook last year, and Campbell must know the attack as well as anyone. Saunders and quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor cannot begin hands-on work with Campbell until next week -- under NFL rules teams cannot begin voluntary offseason workout programs until March 19 -- but Campbell will begin working on fundamentals on his own this week, watching film and studying the offense. Plans call for him to throw regularly to teammates in April.
Campbell had worked under a different offensive coordinator and offensive system for six straight seasons, dating from his freshman season at Auburn, and said he is thrilled at the chance to spend a second straight offseason studying under Saunders. The opportunity to work daily with the first-team offense is a novelty as well. Campbell ran the scout team and threw to reserves before replacing quarterback Mark Brunell in November.
"What I'm really looking forward to is getting my technique down and getting a chance to work with the other receivers," said Campbell, who threw 10 touchdowns and six interceptions last season. "I didn't really have much of a chance to get the timing down with Santana [Moss] and Brandon [Lloyd] and [Antwaan] Randle El and those guys because I didn't really start throwing to them until I started some games.
"And the speed of everything is so much quicker with them, how they run their routes and the way they play and that's something we have to work on together. You can't just get that timing down in one week or a few practices or even over seven weeks like last year."
Beginning next week, Saunders said Campbell will be at Redskins Park at least four days a week for strength and conditioning -- like many other players -- and from Tuesday through Thursday he'll work with Saunders and Lazor, with Tuesdays and Thursdays designated for throwing to teammates.
"On the first day we can really work with him [next week]. We'll start literally with how you approach the center and take a snap," Lazor said. "It might sound funny, but that first day we'll make sure we address that and how the cadences go and what stance he should be in under center. We'll work through every single thing like that. It's a huge list of things to go over, and it's comprised of a lot of tiny details."
Campbell will spend two hours in the classroom each morning, an hour on the field and another hour lifting weights and working on conditioning.
"There are other things he'll do on his own to augment his skills," Saunders said, "and for us some days might be longer or shorter depending on what we're looking at. Depending on his interest level we could end up going a lot longer some days."
The plan calls for Campbell to spend April refining the decision-making process and in May, when the Redskins begin full team practices, the rhythm and timing of the offense will be emphasized.
Campbell has been working out three days a week since the season ended, he said, squeezing in a trip to New York, golfing in Arizona and spending time with his family in Mississippi. He plans to be at Redskins Park until mid-July, when he'll take a vacation for two weeks before the start of training camp.
"After those seven games, I got to learn the routine and know what to expect from the NFL," Campbell said, "and I've got a good feel for how to prepare myself and everything that goes into it. If I didn't have that experience, then I think I'd be kind of nervous about all of this, but for the most part I know what to expect and what's going to be asked of me."
Redskins Notes: The Redskins faced a deadline yesterday to exercise $5 million options on safety Adam Archuleta, according to league sources, and Lloyd. They executed Lloyd's option, but reached an agreement with Archuleta to push back his deadline. Both players are guaranteed the money in one form or another, but the decision to delay the move for Archuleta could be a bid to buy more time in order to trade or perhaps cut him. . . . Former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington is about a month away from being able to pass an NFL physical, according to his agent Kevin Poston, and intends to play next season. Arrington, who negotiated his release from Washington last year and was cut by the Giants after one season, still is recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon but has drawn some free agent interest, Poston said. . . . The Redskins re-signed defensive lineman Ryan Boschetti to a one-year deal for around the veteran minimum yesterday, according to sources.