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Redskins confident in play-calling routine
Redskins notebook: Team sticks with relay play-calling arrangement

Date published: 11/7/2009

By RICH CAMPBELL

BY RICH CAMPBELL

ASHBURN

--The Washington Redskins will put their new play-calling arrangement into action for the second time tomorrow when they visit the Atlanta Falcons, and they won't change much because they believe it worked well in its debut two weeks ago.

"It was flawless," offensive coordinator Sherman Smith said earlier this week. "We'll see if we can do it better, but we never got close to having a delay-of-game [penalty]."

Some players and coaches wondered aloud how the overhauled system would perform after having only seven days to install it last month. The Redskins lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-17, but execution--not play-calling--was their undoing.

To recap: head coach Jim Zorn had his play-calling responsibilities stripped by executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato after the Redskins' 14-6 loss to Kansas City in Week 6. Offensive consultant Sherm Lewis became the new play-caller despite having been employed by the team for only two weeks.

Lewis called the Redskins' passing plays from the coaches' booth using a color- and number-coded system because he is not yet familiar with the terminology of Zorn's West Coast offense. Lewis also decided whether to pass or run on each play. If he wanted to run, he told Smith on the sideline and Smith made the call.

Smith had never been so extensively involved in calling plays.

"It was cool," he said.

Smith relayed all the play calls from the sideline to quarterback Jason Campbell, who used a wristband to translate Lewis' calls into terminology he and his teammates have used since last season.

Campbell's wristband contained the entire offense.

"It was pretty cool because the play gets in a lot faster and we could get in and out of the huddle a lot faster," Campbell said. "It's like a book. You can flip the page."

Up in the booth, television cameras showed offensive assistant Chris Meidt helping Lewis on several occasions. Meidt declined to comment this week on how influential he was, and Lewis is not speaking to reporters.

Meidt, though, was pleased with the system's efficiency. He believes the process will improve over time.


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REDSKINS (2-5) at FALCONS (4-3)

WHEN: Tomorrow, 1 p.m. WHERE: Georgia Dome, Atlanta TV: Fox (channels 5, 35)

RADIO: WGRQ-FM 95.9