Second-year quarterback Jason Campbell has been ensconced in the Redskins' playbook this offseason as he gears up for the 2006 season. He spoke with Redskins.com and media following practice during Redskins Mini-Camp:
Q: How is your preparation for 2006 going?
A: "It's a whole new learning experience. Last year, you learn the markings and how things tighten up, whereas this year, you have an opportunity to move yourself up on the depth chart. Right now I just have to keep working hard. The main thing is learning a new offense. Every year has been a new offense for me, for the last six years. You really have to make sure you study the plays and prepare yourself. I feel good about our offense and I feel like I'm getting better every day. I'm learning something new."
Q: What's the main difference between Al Saunders's offense and the offense you worked in last year?
A: "The main thing that's different about it is that the quarterback has to get the ball out of his hands. The way the receivers run their routes, it's all about timing. If you are off one step, it could be a bad play or an interception. You have to make sure everything is on time. We watch film of his [previous teams] every day, like some of his previous offenses in Kansas City and everything they did. For certain situations that we go through, they have a film that is cut out for it. So as you learn, you are also seeing it. That's a good thing for us."
Q: What has been the biggest thing you have had to adjust to for this offense?
A: "Well, just getting the ball out of your hands. As the quarterback, you have to put it in certain areas or spots and you have to believe and trust in your receivers. I think we have a great group of receivers here. It makes our job that much better. You see all these guys you have around you and you just have to give them the ball and they will make plays."
Q: With all of the wide receivers on the squad, plus tight ends and running backs, is there any concern about spreading enough passes around?
A: "I always tell them there is only one ball, so we have to make sure we make the right reads and get the ball in the right person's hands at the right time."
Q: In terms of football, what do the receivers do that makes them different?
A: "All of them do something different. One guy may bring more speed, one guy may have quicker agility, and one guy may just run better options. So they all bring something different, and that makes it better. It's hard for a defense to just key on one guy because of all the different types of receivers we have here."
Q: How is your comfort level compared to last year?
A: "This year, it's kind of different because of the fact that you know you are going to be put in different kinds of situations. In preseason, you get a lot of opportunities, so right now I would say that getting comfortable is the main thing. Every day we are running something new. It's never the same thing every day. It's a continuing process. Once you get everything in before training camp, then you sit down and review stuff. I feel confident in what I'm doing and I feel comfortable with the guys around me. When it comes to confidence, I feel like I have all the confidence in the world to do what I have to do to help the team."
Q: What have you done off the field that has helped and prepared you?
A: "The main thing is that I am always in my playbook. I take at least an hour and 30 minutes to two hours at night to take time to make sure I go through everything I need to go through for the next day. We learn new plays every day, so that's the main thing. You have to set aside time to go through your playbook."
Q: How has Mark Brunell helped you in your learning curve?
A: "Mark has been good. He's a learning a new offense too, but you have to consider that he has been through some of these offenses before. Everything comes easier to him. He has been in the league for 14 years and he understands the different teams and things they throw at you."
Q: How well do you deal with pressure?
A: "Everyone keeps asking me that. The main thing is you have to stay yourself and be yourself. You can't get caught up with everything that is being said. When you play the game, you have to understand that you play the game to have fun and to win. You're going to make mistakes, but you have to learn from them. I just feel that you have to have fun."
Q: After mini-camp is done, how will you continue your training?
A: "I feel like wherever I am training at in the offseason, I'm still going to work hard, open my playbook up and continue to study. The main thing you want to do as a quarterback is to know everything you need to know by the time training camp arrives. Training camp will be the grind. You will be tired and sometimes you won't feel like opening up your book. You make sure you approach everything with the right mindset. Everybody says there is an offseason, but there really is no offseason. If you want to be a great athlete in this league, you have to prepare yourself every day."