Update 7 October by Ben: ExtremeSkins poster Mad Mike has broken down another Jason Campbell mistake, this one to a wide open Malcolm Kelly on the next and final Redskins drive of this game, Malcolm has his man beat on the outside with a clear path to the end zone for the winning score, Jason instead throws a ball to a different receiver, a ball that is nearly intercepted. Evidence of a bunch of bad things coming together or more evidence that Jason Campbell does not have good field vision, take your pick.
Sunday night Tony Almeida came over to my house and we rewatched critical portions of the dismal game against the previously 0-19 Lions, he pointed out to me something I missed the first time through, did head coach Jim Zorn put the game in Jason Campbell's hands, and if so did he nearly screw it up? I referenced this sequence at the end of the Omnibus section of the gamewrap (op. cit.), and now with the power of NFL Game Rewind I can bring it in full color to the fans.
As the Redskins were driving in the fourth quarter with 2:47 left to go in the game trailing 19-7 first and goal from the Detroit five yard line, Jason looks to his left and to his right and flashes a hand signal to his receivers, it is the index and pinkie fingers pointed sideways, more familiar to some as the University of Texas Longhorns sign as seen in the image above.
The play is run, Jason can appear to find no easy route, he scrambles forward in the pocket before finding tailback Rock Cartwright in the end zone for a touchdown, the Redskins are then down by five points, 19-14 Lions. This would be the final score.
Note that as this drive entered the red zone, color commenter Brian Billick mentioned, twice, that Jason was running the offense:
And interesting, these are calls coming from Jason Campbell now, this is orchestrated from the sideline, this is part of the two minute drill sequence, these are calls [Jason] is going to come up with.
Then two plays later, immediately before the Rock Cartwright touchdown:
Again, Jason Campbell making all the calls here.
Then Rock scored, it was not pretty but it was a touchdown.
As the extra point team was setting up the camera caught Jason talking on the sidelines to a coach, perhaps offensive coordinator Sherman Smith, Jason is gesturing the signal he gave, both hands out with the Longhorns sign, he appears to be requesting validation from the coach, as if to say, wait this was the signal right? See below.
Immediately in from the left come Santana Moss (foreground) and Antwaan Randle El (background), Jason is flashing them the longhorn as if to say, guys this was the signal right? Note they are both contradicting Jason's signal, flashing the victory sign, first and second fingers in a V, see below.
After getting it from both Santana and Antwaan, Jason hangs his head slightly, like my bad and flashes the victory as if to say ok I got it, see below.
Jason then walks away and the extra point it kicked. The camera picks up after the PAT and catches head coach Jim Zorn appearing not to be too happy with his quarterback. Coach Zorn says something I could not lip read and with closed body language allows Jason to walk past him, see the three image sequence below.
Note in the picture above as coach Zorn is lecturing Jason on the way by that Jason is flashing the longhorn with his right hand as if to say, coach I thought that was the sign.
As Jason continues to pass his coach, Zorn is still talking at him (at left in image below) even as Jason walks away, that is never good as far as mentoring goes. At this point Antwaan Randle El reappears and in what looks like a very unhelpful teacher's pet kind of reaction attempts to reinforce to Jason that the signal was actually victory, not longhorn, see below.
At this point it looks like coach Zorn might not be satisfied with his quarterback walking away, Jason whirls around as if to say What?! as coach Zorn reappears in frame at left, see below, Jason is clearly looking at coach and coach is not looking at either Jason or tight end Chris Cooley.
It then appears coach is giving Jason the cold shoulder as Zorn focuses on Chris and Jason sort of stands there, see below.
Jason then separates and comes back, there is a quick huddle between Antwaan, Jason, Chris and coach Zorn then the camera cuts back to game action.
Am I reading too much into this? Possibly, it sure looked like Jason screwed up a signal, causing his receivers not to run the play Jason expected. Jason appeared either to make up a signal that did not previously exist, in which case his receivers should have known what he meant, or else he actually called a different play and got them mixed up.
This a week after we learned following the Rams game that Jason is constrained in the red zone and in certain game situations not to change the play ever, last week he knew the wide run left to Clinton Portis would fail and ran it anyway, this week coach said ok let's do it your way, gave him control and he screwed it up, they scored on that play but it is pretty clear that Rock Cartwright was not the hot route.
The gang that can't shoot straight.
All images are screencaps by me.