Mellow to a fault. That's the way to describe Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn and quarterback Jason Campbell.
One of these guys needs to be a real fire-breather.
When you get one of those low key, even-keeled, polite personalities leading a high pressure organization, that person needs an alter ego who's the in-your-face, tough-as-nails butt-kicker to energize the group.
Bush had Cheney. Eisenhower had Patton. Butch had Sundance. Starr had Lombardi.
Zorn and Campbell? A pair of real nice guys. Not soft, mind you. Just too polite. Unfortunately, their personalities parallel when they should complement each other.
Zorn the medium
Zorn is roundly criticized for playcalling as the factor leading to a 2-5 start. That's Daniel Snyder's belief, which means it's wrong. Playcalling was never so bad that it alone led to five losses.
The Redskins play like they are still preparing for the season's start. Something about preseason and training camp was lacking.
John Keim touched on that point yesterday in The Washington Examiner . He wrote:
"The Redskins practices have been criticized by analysts when they’ve visited. There’s a feeling by them that Washington lacks a sense of urgency in practice.
"Their training camp was not as strenuous as previous coaches...nor as many around the league, according to media who see many teams’ camps.
"Oh, and some of those analysts have not liked the music played before practice. It just does not send the right message."
We saw this before in Joe Gibbs' 2006 training camp before that year's disaster. The emphasis then was on not getting hurt instead of toughening up. (Sigh!)
When we are past the Snyderratto misdirection and get to the root cause of this year's debacle, here's what we will find. The Redskins lost the season before it began. There's a price for staying medium.
Campbell the nice
I was certain that Jason Campbell would silence his critics this year. Instead, he's silenced his supporters.
Campbell is playing better than last year, yet it's not good enough to get a franchise contract...from anybody.
He has two or three games to turn things around. What we need to see from him is fire as much as firepower.
Campbell is a high-class guy who doesn't seem to assert himself. Maybe he does in the locker room, but we never hear whispers of player reluctance to face Campbell when they miss a block or run the wrong route.
Neither Joe Gibbs nor Jim Zorn asked Campbell to be the playmaker. Campbell has to morph to that right now to save his career.
So yes, he does have to catch his own touchdown passes if no one else will. And he has to shove that back across the goal line. Campbell has to do this by force of will.
The clue for whether Campbell gets it will come during his comments at ESPN 980's A Night Of Quarterbacks later today.
Jason Campbell has to stop the nice talk about what "we" ought to do. We already know what the Redskins need to do. The question is what's Jason going to do?
Elite athletes are criticized when they proclaim their abilities. It sounds egotistical, but they are programming their unconscious minds to accomplish goals.
Consciously declare yourself and your unconscious mind will drive the body to sign the check you wrote.
I want to hear Campbell speak in declarative sentences what he's going to do to overcome all the team's problems and beat the Falcons.
More egotism works for Campbell who has to show NFL GMs that he should have a shot at leading their teams. That's the same group who would not give up a second round draft pick for Campbell last spring.
Campbell's nice guy personality would complement Bill Belichick. Campbell has Zorn instead. It would be best if Campbell ignited his tonsils and belched some fire from now on.