ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -No one is being watched more closely than Jason Campbell at this year's Washington Redskins training camp.
The verdict after nine days? He's OK at playing quarterback, very good at playing coy.
Campbell knew his every move would be scrutinized as never before in his first camp as starter in a football-mad city, but he's handled the frenzy with aplomb, dishing out a bit of back-at-ya humor on two off-the-field stories.
First, assistant coach Al Saunders revealed that he had Campbell enunciate ``every play, every formation'' during the offseason to help the quarterback improve his articulation. It seems that last year, when Campbell took over the starting job in midseason, some players had trouble understanding his Mississippi accent.
``We've got a shift that's called 'Falcon,''' receiver Antwaan Randle El said. ``He used to say 'Balco.' 'Falcon' and 'Balco'? I don't know. But he's country. We teased him about it last year, but he's gotten better at it.''
However, when asked about the diction lessons, Campbell would not give ground.
``Antwaan has little ears,'' Campbell said. ``He's got to get some bigger ears so he can hear.''
Asked how he hopes to improve communication in the huddle this year, Campbell said: ``I told them - just get used to my language.''
Campbell was even more evasive when asked about the commercial he filmed for's fantasy football game. In the ad, Campbell throws a football and then quickly throws another. The two balls collide in midair about 25 yards downfield, then miraculously land in the hands of two receivers.
It's a one-in-a-zillion moment. Trick photography had to be involved. No way it actually happened, right?
``It's an unsolved mystery,'' Campbell said with a smile. ``I can't tell you one way or the other.''
No matter how many times Campbell was asked, he wouldn't reveal how the stunt was staged - or even whether it was a stunt.
``Just go home and try it in your backyard,'' he told reporters. ``If you hit it, I'll give you 10 dollars.''
Campbell's congeniality is also of little help in solving the biggest mystery of camp: How will he play in his first year as a starter?
Campbell was missing receivers regularly during the first few practices - as if the pressure was getting to him - but he rebounded with some good throws in the following sessions and has since spliced good moments with bad. No real trend has emerged, and anyone looking for one in Saturday's scrimmage against the Baltimore Ravens went home disappointed when coach Joe Gibbs decided to sit Campbell and most of the offensive starters during the 11-on-11 plays.
Campbell did take most of the 7-on-7 snaps, but most of his passes were short because the Ravens had Washington's receivers blanketed downfield.
Asked for an evaluation, Gibbs didn't have much of one to give.
``For Jason, it's about getting the right reads,'' the coach said. ``He was checking down a bunch.''
The first good chance to gauge Campbell's work comes Saturday when the Redskins visit Tennessee in their preseason opener.
``We're happy with the progress,'' Campbell said. ``But we're not satisfied.''
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