- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2008

Jim Zorn barked a play call into the headset of Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell on Sunday afternoon, but his words started to run together. But Campbell waved off his tongue-tied coach and interpreted the play call correctly.

“I had a fumbling of the mouth, and he was like, ‘Be quiet coach. I’ve got it,’” Zorn said Sunday after the Redskins’ 24-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

And for the second straight week, Campbell and several teammates had “it,” allowing the Redskins to head to Dallas next weekend with a 2-1 record.

Looking ahead to the NFC East road games, the first thought is: The Redskins might have a chance against the Cowboys and Eagles. They’re playing turnover-free football and getting their playmakers plenty of touches while making the most of their opportunities on defense.

Q: The Redskins swept their two-game homestand. Was Sunday’s win more impressive than last week’s win over New Orleans?

A: Yes, because the Cardinals are a better team than the Saints. Arizona was great against the run (limiting Clinton Portis to 3.2 yards a carry), and Kurt Warner showed he can still sling it. It’s a solid home victory because it’s another strong step forward. With the game on the line, the defense overcame adversity (field position), and the offense again averaged 5 yards a snap. Santana Moss and Chris Cooley each caught seven passes, and Redskins fans should want to see that every week.

Q: Campbell and Zorn seem to be on the same page. What stood out about Campbell’s performance (22-for-30 for 193 yards and two touchdowns)?

A: The efficiency. He was 6-for-6 on the first drive, the Redskins were 3-for-3 in the red zone and he continues to improve his decision making. He even ran four times for 26 yards. One thing Zorn pointed out last week was how important it would be for Campbell to put together back-to-back-to-back games. Sunday was his second consecutive solid game. Campbell has never won three straight games as a starter.

Q: Was Reed Doughty on the sidelines for the rest of the game after Larry Fitzgerald’s 62-yard touchdown?

A: Nope, Doughty’s last play was when he guessed Fitzgerald would do a deep out route and instead went straight down the seam. Chris Horton handled the rest of the snaps alongside LaRon Landry. After the game, Doughty wouldn’t go as far as to say he was benched, but he has to be concerned about how much playing time he will be losing with more mistakes. Doughty probably will remain in the starting lineup because of his smarts, but Horton will see increased time.

Q: Other than that Fitzgerald play, the Redskins’ secondary seemed to hold up well. How surprising was this?

A: A little bit because the Redskins had only one pass interference call; their corners are usually good for a few flags against great receivers. Considering Greg Blache’s game plan (no blitzing), the Redskins opted for a flood-the-zone philosophy, refusing to let Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin beat them deep. Shawn Springs, Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot are all quality tacklers. Boldin had only three catches for 25 yards.

Q: Two Zorn related nitpicks: the play-calling on the final first-half possession and the decision to try a 52-yard field goal late in the game leading by seven. Agree with those calls?

A: Nope. The Redskins led 10-7 and took over the ball at their own 28 with 2:37 remaining in the second quarter and all three time outs. Their plays: Portis for 7, Portis for 2 and Portis for no gain. Second-and-3 would have been a great time to take a shot downfield. On the field goal call, the miss gave Arizona possession at its 42. The play should have been for Durant Brooks to punt the ball through the end zone and make the Cardinals go 80 yards or try to kick a high hang-time punt and pin the Cardinals inside the 20.

Q: Now that the Redskins have taken care of their first two home games, has the outlook of this team changed heading to Dallas?

A: Not really. When the schedule came up, many people were saying, “Lose to the Giants, beat New Orleans, beat Arizona.” The Redskins’ offense needs to get more production out of the running game because teams will begin basing their plans on Moss and Cooley. The punting/holding situation also bears watching. Even if the Redskins are 2-3 after this road swing, that wouldn’t be unexpected considering the schedule.

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