Redskins are eager to prove they haven't quit
Thursday, December 24, 2009
As he prepares for what could be his final home game as a member of the Redskins, quarterback Jason Campbell finds himself in a unique position. Life hasn't always been predictable in his five years in Washington, but the circumstances that have encircled the Redskins in the week before Sunday's Dallas game are unlike any Campbell has seen before.
The distractions and discord came to a head in Monday's 45-12 loss to the New York Giants, and players and coaches are hoping the problems dissipate before the Cowboys arrive in town this weekend.
Reflecting on Monday's loss, the most lopsided since Jim Zorn took over as head coach, Campbell said: "It's a total of everything we've gone through all year long. All the uncertainty, different questions, distractions, everything just caught up with us in that one game."
The team is trying to regroup in two key areas: playing and coaching.
The Redskins' coaching staff has been dealing with news that one of the assistants, secondary coach Jerry Gray, has interviewed for the team's head coaching job while Zorn is still under contract. While multiple sources have said Gray has interviewed for the position, Gray would not confirm the reports in certain terms Wednesday, saying, "Jim and I have had conversations, and the conversation is between he and I."
As for the players, Campbell came out of Monday's game questioning the effort of his teammates, saying some may have quit on the team. "I'll be honest, I used to be a guy who used to try to beat around the bush a little, but I'm going to be honest, I think some guys have," he told Comcast SportsNet on Tuesday.
In a separate interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, Campbell said, "Did some guys quit? You know, I always try to be positive and [think the best] about people, but I don't know. Like I said, something like that happens, it just makes you wonder about everything."
During his weekly media availability before practice Wednesday, Campbell seemed to back off of his strong comments, saying Monday's woes were more a "matter of everyone getting dominated in every phase of the game.
"Monday night, it just seemed like everything we've been going through just fell on us," Campbell said. "Nothing was going right, offensively, defensively, coaching, anything. Nothing was going right. Everything was in disarray."
While other players shied away from using the dreaded "Q" word -- quitting is a serious felony in the NFL -- they acknowledged that the effort in Monday's loss didn't match what the Redskins had put forth in the preceding weeks.
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall said the difference against the Giants was more attitude than effort, though he acknowledged that "from the outside," it might look like some players have given up.
"Because it does seem like that. You put out great effort after great effort after great effort and you come up short," he said. "And then you put out the kind of performance we put out on 'Monday Night Football,' which is supposed to be the biggest stage and guys are supposed to bring their A-game because the world's watching. When you put that kind of egg out there, it's hard for that smell to go away."