Image Courtesy of theHogs.net
Through July, I will be running positional breakdowns for the Washington Redskins. Each assessment will be broken down into four areas: Past Statistics, Experience/Potential, Positional Competition, and Intangibles.
Today we begin with the quarterbacks. The Redskins enter the 2009 season in virtually the same position as the prior season, but with a little more pressure on Jason Campbell. There are many reasons to believe that Campbell is not the answer at quarterback for the organization moving forward, but many argue that he deserves at least one more season to prove himself. A great deal of this preview will talk about Campbell, as we have little knowledge of how Todd Collins (haven’t seen him since ’07) and Colt Brennan would perform in a game situation right now.
Campbell seems to be the fourth-flashiest starter in the NFC East. While he managed to survive the first-half of last year without an interception, he only managed to 13 touchdowns on the ENTIRE season. Only two quarterbacks from playoff teams (Kerry Collins/Gus Frerotte with 12 each) threw less touchdowns (13) during the regular season, and each of those teams bowed out in their first playoff game. Campbell was middle-of-the-pack in yards (16th), completion percentage (14th), and 1st downs (13th). Some concerns were found in his big play ability (27th in plays over 40 yards) and sacks (4th most with 38). Overall Campbell’s statistics say that he is a middle of the road quarterback that had trouble with pass rush last season. Can we chalk that up to a patchwork line? Probably. Can we put some of the blame on a two-man receiving corps (referring to Cooley and Moss)? Definitely. However, Campbell’s play seems to have AVERAGE written all over it.
At 27, many people believe that it’s time to put up or shut up for Campbell. He is now entering his fifth NFL season, having played in three of the first four(with 36 games started). While many people believe the third year is the most important developmental year for a quarterback, Campbell has had to learn a new system three times since graduating college. His potential is hard to judge because he has been in a constant state of fluxthroughout the last several years of his career. I believe that this year is his biggest opportunity to prove that he is a viable NFL passer. If he fails to impress, we may see #5 hit the field in mop-up duty in November/December. Campbell has a relatively big arm, but he seems to overshoot his receivers quite often. He’s got a great chemistry with TE Chris Cooley, and he will have to ride Captain Chaos to the top if he plans on improving his stat line this year. Jim Zorn’s system will somewhat skew Campbell’s statistics, but they must see some big play ability out of him, and see it soon.
As stated before, Campbell has started 36 games, and about 2 ½ seasons. Colt Brennan and Todd Collins will be competing for the no. 2 quarterback spot this offseason. Collins has the edge in experience, having led the Skins to the playoffs in the 2007 season. Brennan has an awkward throwing motion, and too many pineapples to count, but many fans were impressed by his confidence and moxie during last season’s training camp and preseason. I believe that Collins has seen the last of his playing days, and Brennan will beat him out for the backup spot. The only problem with this will be that fans will be calling for him as soon as Campbell falters. How JC handles that will determine a lot of his success this season, which leads us to…
Campbell has the full confidence of his teammates, even after several botched attempts to trade him by Vinny Cerrato in the offseason. As mentioned before, Campbell really hasn’t had a fair shake during his time in the District, including coordinator carousel as well as the relatively poor choice of weapons he’s had around him. I believe that people have been a little hard on him over the past 3 years. He's a great role model and member of the DMV community, and he's shown a genuine love for the city, even if its fans haven't always reciprocated the love. I really liked the poise he showed through all the controversy this spring, and I expect him to come out with a bit of a fire in his belly next year. He has the exceptional work ethic and character that could potentially take a team to the Super Bowl (note: I’m not predicting that)...eventually.
I believe that the Redskins have a capable backup in Colt Brennan, who they will continue to develop, and will eventually contribute on the field or in a trade. Jason Campbell has all the physical tools to be a top-10 NFL quarterback, but I don’t believe he did a lot to disprove his detractors last season. I do believe that he does have the ability to come out and have a great season, especially playing a 4th place schedule. He should play with a chip on his shoulder and a much better knowledge of Jim Zorn’s offense, and based upon that, I believe he’ll do just enough to keep the heat off himself in 2009.
What do you think? Should the Redskins have pulled the trigger on a Campbell trade or do you think he still has a shot to be something special for the organization. Let us know in the comments section!