It’s been a hard row for the Skins these past four games, what with lopsided losses to Pittsburgh and New York and a close one to Dallas. Jason Campbell in particular has had a rough go, what with only two scores versus four picks. But at no point has it crossed my mind to call his job into question, now and hopefully for the next decade.
Frustration among fans — not to mention sports radio and television pundits — boiled over after Sunday’s 23-7 loss to the New York Giants. Callers filled talk radio programs with attacks on Campbell’s performance, with many saying he should be benched in favor of backup Todd Collins, who led the Redskins’ late, four-game winning streak that resulted in a playoff berth last season after Campbell was lost to injury.
As Skins fans, we’re forever indebted to Todd Collins. He was thrust into play with last season on the brink and guided the team to a far-fetched, much-needed Wild Card in the face of tragedy. Hell, my buddy Andy and I even drink what we’ve dubbed a Todd Collins (bourbon and ginger) or 10 whenever we watch the Redskins together, but still. He’s a system QB and career-long 37-year-old backup whose last game wasn’t a good one.
Now let’s consider the alternative in Jason Campbell: a 26-year-old first-rounder who’s been forced to learn a new offense each season yet has also shown perennial improvement. And it’s that steady progression I’d like to focus on here. His 2006-08 stats:
Football Outsiders could do a better job of this than I (and they’re high on JC too), but what’s plain to see is improvement from Season 1 to Season 2, and even greater improvement from Season 2 to Season 3. His rating, completion percentage, yards/game, yards/attempt, TD/Int ratio, fumbles … everything is better this year than last, and just about everything was better last year than the one before it. And if it’s wins you want, Campbell was 2-5 as a starter in ’06, 5-7 in ’07 and is 7-5 so far in ’08.
He’s getting to be pretty good, and figures to get even better with time. Of course this recent stretch has been rough, but the pass protection and wide receivers are more to blame for that than the passer himself.
So chill out, people, and remember that Campbell’s first two quarters of this season were so good that Ron Jaworski called him the league MVP just one month ago. Have a little faith and hope that his — and his team’s — fourth quarter is more like those first two rather than this past one.
And don’t even get me started on Colt Brennan.