ESPN's Jaworski breaks down the Redskins
Monday, December 21, 2009
MT. LAUREL, N.J. -- When the New York Giants visit the Washington Redskins, ESPN broadcasters will have the benefit of 29 cameras trained on every nook and cranny of FedEx Field. But a few days before rolling into town for "Monday Night Football," those same analysts rely on just two angles, coming from the same cameras that shoot the coaches' film that teams across the league rely on each week.
Last Thursday in Ashburn, the Redskins introduced Bruce Allen as general manager, charged with charting a new course for the future. That same day, about 175 miles northwest, Ron Jaworski was busy preparing, too.
"Oh, did you see that? [Stephon] Heyer just got nuked right there! Look at this," he said, rewinding the video for the thousandth time. "Look out, Jason. Here it comes again."
Jaworski, ESPN's veteran analyst who will be in the booth for Monday night's game, heads to his office at NFL Films' complex outside of Philadelphia and usually begins breaking down film mid-week.
Last Thursday, as the franchise tried to turn a corner from a news conference lectern, Jaworski was in his office reviewing footage from the previous week's Redskins-Raiders game. He'd already watched it a day earlier, and he'd likely watch it a couple of more times before Monday's kickoff.
Just like his days as an NFL quarterback, Jaworski's eyes usually start on the safety, but after watching each play at least a half dozen times from both angles -- one camera is a sideline view and the other is stationed in the end zone -- what Jaworski sees on video reveals something not just about the team that will take the field against the Giants, but it tells a lot about what kind of shape the roster is in going forward.
'You can win with this guy'
In the corner of his office sits a big-screen television. It's connected to a computer system that has access to thousands of NFL games. Jaworski could sort them in just about any manner -- third-down running plays, touchdowns of 20 or more yards, two-minute offense, tackles for loss.
As he combs through tape of the Redskins-Raiders, he's especially interested in Jason Campbell and the quarterback's continued development. When he first watched the tape, he was impressed with Campbell's performance out of shotgun and his success on first downs (93 of 145 with six touchdowns and a passer rating of 99.2).
The Redskins will have to decide at season's end whether Campbell figures into their plans next season. The fifth-year quarterback is a restricted free agent, which means Washington can match any other team's offer.
A year ago, Jaworski tabbed Campbell as an MVP candidate through the first eight games of the season. Despite a difficult final eight games last year and uneven play this season, Jaworski still likes what he sees, stating firmly: "I don't think you need to start over at quarterback. You can win with this guy.
"He needs a stable environment, he needs a better supporting cast. But as I look at some other quarterbacks around this league, the Redskins should be thankful to a certain degree that they've got this guy," Jaworski said. "Is he there yet? No. But you can see the fundamentals are in place; the clay is starting to be formed."
As Jaworski goes through the game film, two things stand out: the poor pass protection and the way Campbell consistently shakes off vicious hits. He still thinks Campbell has some mechanics problem and struggles to throw on the run. The quarterback is making better decisions than he has in the past but doesn't always make proper adjustments.