Redskins v. Steelers – Pregame: Ron Jaworski on Jason Campbell

I had read where ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski had called Jason Campbell his mid-season NFL MVP, but I hadn’t had a chance to hear his reasoning behind it. So when I saw him on the field for pregame, after his appearance on PTI, I took a few minutes to ask him about it.

So did I correctly read that you’re calling Jason Campbell your mid-season MVP?

Absolutely, yeah.

Why is that?

When you look at the Redskins record of 6-2, I think he’s one of the main reasons for it. Clearly Clinton Portis is playing well, but when I looked at every game this weekend, I saw how much Jason has improved. And I saw the lack of mistakes he’s making orchestrating this offense. Getting them into the right protections, getting them into the right routes – very few quarterbacks in this league can handle an offense like that.

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Video Jason Campbell Quiets The Crowd Effectively, Is Appropriately Auburn

I mentioned a couple of times during the Rams game just how disconcerting I found Video Jason Campbell and his efforts to quiet the crowd. What I didn’t notice at the time, because I was behind the soundproofed glass of the press box, was that Video Campbell was apparently very effective at his job.

“It worked,” said Fred Smoot. “Normally our crowd don’t be quiet for no reason, but they kinda shushed for that one. It was pretty cool … we’re all Madden fans, you know?”

Actual Jason Campbell seemed fairly pleased with his pixelated counterpart. “He’s pretty cool,” he said. And was the quieting motion good enough? “Oh, most definitely. Just seemed like the war eagle, you know?” The knowledge that Video Campbell is familiar with the symbol of Actual Campbell’s alma mater seemed to settle the subject for him.

Mike Sellers had some further thoughts. “Why is it always the quarterback? You need a more imposing type person,” he said. And the war eagle flapping? “It didn’t have enough style, it was too mechanical.” Well, what would you do, if it was Video Mike Sellers? “I’d be like, ‘Just SHUT UP!'” He laughed, then said, “You know, with the fans, it’s always nice to have that, but sometimes they get too excited and you can’t hear the plays.”

Sellers had one other concern. “There’s some people that don’t know football, when you’re out there just like this” — he flapped his arms elaborately — “some people don’t know that means quiet down. He might just be flapping his arms.”

LaRon Landry was also enthused about being the video embodiment of getting the crowd fired up for defense. “That’s pretty cool, man,” he said, “In the game I’m focused on the game, but I look up at the Jumbotron to see what’s going on and I see myself on there.”

I thought Marcus Washington — himself a pretty animated dude — might have been jealous, but he supported the choice of Video Landry. “He’s a hyped guy – Dirty Thirty, we call him,” Washington said.” He’s always full speed so he’s definitely a good guy to use for that.”

“If it was me,” he said, laughing, “I’d probably be jumping around doing something spastic. I’m a big spaz sometimes on the field.”

Todd Yoder was the only guy I asked about this who had no idea what I was talking about. “I don’t think I paid any attention to that,” he said, so I guess what really surprised me in all of this was just how much the guys actually notice the stuff on the stadium Jumbotron.

“Oh, yeah,” said Washington. “My favorite is the one from Gladiator. I get so hype when I see Russell Crowe get on his horse and say ‘At my signal, unleash hell.‘”

One interesting note, though, is that it’s not Jason Campbell’s voice shushing the crowd during the Video Campbell clip — it’s actually Brad Baker, of TV. This is a fact that Actual Campbell found mildly disappointing. “It’s not me, but it should be,” he said. “I could do that.” Then he proved it: “Shhhh.” I found it perfectly convincing, anyhow.

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Making “The Mayne Event”

Kenny Mayne’s idea for his Mayne Event segment this week centers around the “Hip Hip Hooray” cheer, which appears to have caught the public imagination in a way that I couldn’t quite have imagined when Zorn first broke it out at the Welcome Home Luncheon.

As Mayne explained to me when I spoke to him, these shoots are not simple — this one includes a lot of players — but he manages to execute the actual shooting quickly and with an impressive minimum of fuss. Here, with the help of Redskins PR, he’s grabbed the first four guys he needs — Chris Samuels, Jason Campbell, Antwaan Randle El, and Colt Brennan — as they came off the field after morning practice, and he quickly gets them briefed on what they’re doing and set up to shoot the establishing shot of the segment.

EDIT TO ADD: We’re having some problems with the video; I’ll have it fixed as soon as I can. Fixed, hopefully.

There are multiple takes, of course, but on the whole the process moves surprisingly quickly and the guys really seem to get into it.

The most unusual element of Mayne’s shoot, actually, turns out to have nothing to do with him at all.
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Jason Campbell Stops, Looks, Listens, and Raps

When I was a kid, I learned how to safely cross the street from an off-duty policeman and an aspiring folksinger (who set the words “Stop, look and listen before you cross the street” to the tune of Puff The Magic Dragon). In Canada, they learn the same thing, roughly, from Elmer the Safety Elephant. I suppose the messages stick — especially since I still remember that song — but the actual learning experience tends not to be so memorable.

That wasn’t the case for the students at Stuart-Hobson Middle School in Northeast D.C. yesterday, as Jason Campbell stopped by to lead a pep rally and teach a safety clinic on pedestrian safety. The event is part of the FedEx Ground and Air Players of the Week program, in partnership with SafeKids USA, and was held yesterday to get the students ready for today’s International Walk to School Day.

I had been told that it was a fairly low key event; Hines Ward recently did something similar in Pittsburgh, and it was apparently about thirty kids in one classroom, so that’s roughly what I was expecting here. I got to the school slightly late, misjudging the nightmarish DC traffic as I still always do, and walked into abject pandemonium. I don’t know if it’s the Redskins recent success or just an enthusiastic bunch of kids, but these people were excited.

And their excitement only multiplied when Campbell performed the safety rap.

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Portrait of the Captains as Young Men, or Gangsters, or Maybe Deacons

These are the captains of your Washington Redskins, serious-faced and well-dressed, in a portrait by team photographer Ned Dishman that now hangs outside the locker room. From left to right, it’s Rock Cartwright and Khary Campbell (special teams), Chris Samuels and Jason Campbell (offense), and Cornelius Griffin and London Fletcher (defense).

“I think Coach Zorn’s reasoning was just to show the presence of our leadership around here,” says Fletcher. “He didn’t want us to do just a normal picture – he wanted to show our presence and our seriousness, show how seriously the captainship is taken around here, and how serious he also takes his captains.”

And did it work? “You’re gonna get your jokes from some guys,” Fletcher says, shrugging, “but I think when most guys saw the picture, they wished they were in it.”

Fletcher might be some kind of a prophet: I ask Clinton Portis what he thinks of the picture, and he laughs. “I think it’s missing me.”

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Another Week, Another Vote: Campbell for FedEx Air Player of the Week

Redskins QB Jason Campbell has been nominated for NFC Air Player of the Week, to be determined by fan vote. (As noted by a commenter last week, I’m having some trouble with the voting links in Firefox, but they seem to work fine in both Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.) The other nominees are Tampa’s Brian Griese and San Diego’s Philip Rivers. Vote early, vote often.

Redskins v. Saints postgame – Radio Zorn

I’ve written a lot about Coach Zorn’s candor in his postgame interviews, but we’ve never actually gotten to see it in a victory that counts, just preseason wins and the loss of the opener. And it’s hard for a generally humble guy to be candid about a victory. So he did pretty much what you’d expect: looked like he wanted to burst out laughing with enthusiasm, and then shared credit all the way around, at one point stopping the press conference to talk extemporaneously about the plays and players that he had been most impressed with and what he considered “so incredible to watch.”

Maybe the most amusing revelation from Zorn’s talk was that he has a tendency to somewhat overuse the headset. “During a couple of the timeouts, I said, ‘Here’s what we’ve got,’ and called the play,” he said. “Then I’d call back and say, ‘Okay, remember, you got this.’ And then, ‘Okay, I’m being a nervous Nellie’ – which was the term I used – ‘but I also wanted to tell you, don’t forget this.’ I found myself a couple of times just laying it on.”

So I caught up with Jason Campbell and asked him about it. Actually, what I asked him was, “Was it like the scene in Swingers where Jon Favreau keeps calling and leaving messages?”

“Yeah,” Campbell said, “he kept saying ‘Sorry to bother you, but I’ll just leave one more message.'” He shook his head. “Nah, I was laughing — for some of them, he’d say, ‘Sorry, I just have to come back and tell you one more thing. For some of them, I’m just shaking my head, saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah….'”

Probably the first time you’ve heard the phrase “nervous Nellie” over the helmet radio, right? “Oh, yeah,” Campbell said. “Definitely.”