Commentary

Play calling not the problem in D.C.

Originally Published: October 23, 2009
By Ron Jaworski | ESPN.com

"Monday Night Football" analyst Ron Jaworski takes a look at the turmoil surrounding the Washington Redskins:

A lot has been said about the play calling for the Washington Redskins this year. Sherman Lewis has been brought in to handle these duties so Jim Zorn can concentrate on all the other things an NFL head coach has to deal with. To me, that's an overreaction. There is nothing wrong with the play calling in Washington. The problem is execution.

Quarterback Jason Campbell is not playing well. He is missing open receivers. Campbell right now is not able to clearly see what is happening when he looks over the line of scrimmage. It's a deadly situation for an offense when the QB is not able to read and react effectively. I've seen a lot of dropped balls, too.

Another problem is the regression of running back Clinton Portis. The offensive line is making good blocks and getting Portis to the second level of the defense. The old Portis would make an initial 3-yard gain into an explosive 20- or 30-yard play. He's not doing that anymore, so Washington's running game does not scare anyone, making it harder on Campbell and the passing game.

Lewis has been away from pro football for five years, and this is a game that changes weekly. To solve a defense week in and week out, you have to be intimately aware of your own offense's strengths and weaknesses. Lewis simply has not had time to even learn his own team. I don't see how his play calling will be significantly better than Zorn's. I see this whole thing ending badly.

Zorn is not blameless. The Redskins have talent and are a good team. But they are not playing good football. I watch the coach's tape each week for all the teams and see all 22 players on every play. Many Redskins players do not give a maximum effort. That is something to be laid at the feet of the head coach. I'd take him to task for that, not the play calling.

Ron Jaworski

NFL analyst / writer
Ron Jaworski is one of the most popular and knowledgeable analysts covering the NFL today. Since joining ESPN in 1990, the former standout NFL quarterback has covered the league from virtually every angle -- sideline reporter, game-site reporter, host and both studio and game analyst. From 2007-11, Jaworski occupied one of the most coveted positions in sports as a Monday Night Football analyst.