Never Mind the Nitwits, JC Is Still the One

jc-hoodie.jpgIt’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.

We’ve seen comments to the contrary, sure, but when the Post publishes a story on the subject, well, it’s high time to take a look (emphasis added):

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:

campbell-spreadsheet.jpg

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.

12 thoughts on “Never Mind the Nitwits, JC Is Still the One”

  1. @Chris Mottram

    Agree with the first sentence, but you also have to latch on the dopes who are already calling for Zorn to be fired. Those people can GTFO.

  2. Obviously Campbell can be successful in the NFL. And despite the impression my critisim may give, I want him to be successful, hes a great face for the franchise, seems like a good man and a stand up guy in the Metro Dc community, aside from just being the Skins QB.

    However, when an NFL offense scores an average of 9.25 points in its last 4 home games, despite having the league leading rusher, youve got to start questioning whats going on. A point was made yesterday that two WRs were drafted in the first round to make an immediate impact. Well Campbell was a first rounder, and would anyone say hes lived up to what one would expect of a first round draft pick? We all know hes played under 10 different coaches in 3 years and all of the other sundry peripherial problems.

    He still holds the ball too long. He still sometimes fails to look through his progressions, locking onto the #1 option. He still misses open men. He still throws into triple coverage. He still regularly over or under throws open men (Thrash and Randel El last week). And yes I know, all QBs do these things regularly, its the nature of the position, Campbell just seems to do it more than the average. I cant be the only person who sees this?

    Now, all that being said, Campbell has made some nice strides in improving his game and early this season, better footwork, quicker release, etc and I thought he had turned a corner, especially towards games 4 & 5.

    I would also hope a first round draft pick would make more plays than Campbell makes. And by make plays, I mean putting the ball into the end zone. I think we all thought, early on, as the Skins O was racking up yards in the middle of the field and not translating that into points, scores would eventually come just as a law of averages, but they never really did. And again, Im not saying he is incapable of making plays or hasnt made them. It seems this year, he is either not being put into a position to make plays by play calling or not ensuring he is in a position to make plays. Really, the only stat that matters, scoring, tells us this.

    I think my point is, there is just as much room for criticisim of Jason Campbell as there is for anyone else on the Skins, even though that 32 sacks figure is a stupidly fugly number.

  3. How many first down drops were there on Sunday? Off the top of my head:

    Santana – 1
    Kelly – 1
    Thrash – 1

    Randle El had a drop near the 35 that would’ve enabled us to go for a short fourth down instead of having to watch Muffin Top kick it into the end zone for a 25 yard net punt.

    Campbell is not the problem. Not even close.

  4. Look, it isn’t that hard. If the Skins continue to spend high draft picks on skill positions and not on the line, JC will get pummeled and not be able to look downfield. It’s pretty simple math.

    As for the red zone issue, without the tall receivers getting reps, you’re stuck throwing slants and crosses in tight spaces to small guys like Moss and ARE. The defense is obviously going to stack against Portis and double Cooley.

    JC will be fine if Kelly/Thomas can run some back of the end zone crosses (where they either catch it or it’s incomplete) or fades.

    Shit, the only football experience I have is Madden (’94-’08) and even I can tell that.

  5. There has only been one black starting QB to win the Super Bowl. We all know who that was. Lightning will not strike the same team twice!

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