Redskins' Campbell, Snyder Meet to Clear Air Over Cutler Flap and Talk of Future
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Encouraged after his meeting yesterday with Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, quarterback Jason Campbell said he has put aside his frustration about the team's pursuit of Jay Cutler and is determined to become "the type of quarterback Mr. Snyder wants."
Several NFL sources said that Snyder, eager to finally solve the team's decades-long pursuit of a franchise quarterback, was the force behind the Redskins' efforts to acquire Cutler, who was traded from the Denver Broncos to the Chicago Bears on Thursday. Snyder called the meeting to clear the air about the team's attempts to replace Campbell, Washington's starter for the last 2 1/2 seasons, and attempt to move forward toward the upcoming season.
Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations, and Coach Jim Zorn also attended the meeting, which lasted about two hours, in Snyder's office at Redskins Park. Snyder and Campbell spoke candidly, Campbell said, and left the session on good terms, focusing on the future.
"I expressed myself, Dan expressed himself and we just spoke honestly about the whole situation," Campbell said. "It was good to just talk about everything and for everybody to just say where they're coming from. For me, I just wanted to express what I'm trying to do as the quarterback of this team: trying to get better every day to help us reach that higher level we all want to reach.
"I understand what Dan was saying and I'm glad he kind of wanted to talk about everything that's been going on, because it has been kind of crazy the last couple of days. With us all being in the same room and just expressing everything, I would say it was a very successful meeting because everyone expressed themselves and made it clear what we want to try to accomplish."
In addition to Washington's trade talks with Denver, a high-ranking Redskins official contacted another NFL team Wednesday about the possibility of trading Campbell for a second-round pick in the upcoming draft, one NFL source said. Speaking on behalf of Cerrato, team spokesman Zack Bolno denied the team had inquired about trading Campbell.
Cerrato declined an interview request yesterday. Through the team, he issued a one-paragraph statement about Washington's interest in Cutler and management's meeting with Campbell.
"We met with Jason today and had a candid discussion," the statement read. "We told Jason that when Jay Cutler became available we, like many other NFL teams, spoke with the Broncos. We are all on the same page and we are moving forward."
Snyder told Campbell he wants him to become a franchise quarterback, Campbell said, but he has not reached that level yet in Snyder's opinion. After the Redskins failed to qualify for the playoffs last season, Cerrato declined to commit to Campbell as the team's quarterback beyond the upcoming season.
Zorn has continued to publicly support Campbell, who in only his second full season as a starter last season established personal bests with an 84.3 passer rating, 3,245 yards and 13 touchdown passes while throwing only six interceptions. But Zorn, too, has stopped short of declaring Campbell a franchise quarterback.
"That's why I work as hard as I do, so I can reach that level," Campbell said. "I'm still a young quarterback in this league, but I think I'm getting better and better, and my best [years] are still ahead of me. I feel like I'm going to just keep improving my game, just keep doing what I have to do to be the right guy to lead this team to great things.
"No matter what Dan, Coach Zorn, the rest of the coaches and my teammates expect from me, I know I expect even more from myself. I know where I'm trying to get to and where I'm trying to help us get to as a team. I want to accomplish all those goals."
Concerned that Campbell could feel alienated, Zorn reached out to him Thursday. Campbell said that Zorn's support throughout the process means a lot to him.
"We have to get it done together and we know that," Campbell said. "I'm going to be in this offense for my second year. Coach Zorn has learned a lot, different stuff that can help us be more successful. I know we can do some great things as a team."