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Campbell Part of the Problem or Solution? Bonus: The Problem-Solution Continuum

jc-towel.jpgSteinz doesn’t call anyone a dork on this week’s Redskins Insider podcast, but a good question is raised: Is Jason Campbell part of the Redskins’ problem or solution? All three experts — Dan Steinberg, Tracee Hamilton and Rick Maese — have different answers; Steinz goes with “problem,” Hamilton “solution” and Maese “both,” though I’m not sure what that means.

So I ask you, dear reader, which is it? Having watched JC’s progression — or lack thereof — the past three-plus seasons, is he adding to or alleviating Washington’s concerns? My thoughts on the matter are known, and they’re firmly in the solution/I don’t know bucket.

I’m hedging my bet a little because with this line and those receivers and that coach, I really don’t know. I would, however, rank the Skins offensive components this way on the problem-solution continuum:

  • Offensive line — big problem
  • Wide receivers — problem
  • Coaches — problem/I don’t know
  • Quarterback — solution/I don’t know
  • Running backs — aging solution
  • Tight End — solution

As you can see, it’s all relative, and we know which way Cris Carter thinks, but I’m curious to see what you all say.

D.C. sports fan and digital media guy that's been doing this since 2004. Once threw a football further than Chris Cooley.



  1. StetSportsBlog

    October 6, 2009 at 11:16 PM

    It almost like all of these are small sub-problems that are flaring up at the same time. No one would say Campbell is playing great, but aside from the last game, he hasn’t been horrible, either.

    The Raiders don’t have this. Everyone knows J. Russell is the issue. The Lions didn’t have it. Every knew it was Matt Millen’s fault. Tampa Bay doesn’t have it. Everyone knows they are rebuilding.

    Washington is the only team that is stuck in the middle of its own potential and lack thereof.

  2. CCC

    October 7, 2009 at 12:08 AM

    I think it is nice Campbell is finally in a system 2 years

    even though the coach calling the plays stinks

  3. dingo44

    October 7, 2009 at 1:11 AM

    It’s a good post, Jamie, and I think you’re dead on with most of the problems/solutions…

    Except for one: I think our coaching has been our biggest problem by far.

    I don’t mean what goes on in practice or what our coaches are actually TEACHING to our players; what I’m mainly referencing is our play-calling.

    I think Zorn’s ability to call plays is the worst in the league, by far. Sure, I think his ability to be head coach might not be all that bad (team philosophy, man management, etc.), but his offensive play calling is horrendous. Obviously we’re all fans, so I don’t have to bring up the OBVIOUS plays (which happen a few times a game now). Even some plays that our offense actually produces a few yards or even a first down I sometimes ONLY attribute to the talent of our offense. How many bum plays have been saved by a single player (Cooley finding space so much, for example).

    This was most obvious to me in the Lions game, when our QB and top WR put up fairly good numbers (340, 2/1 for Campbell and 178/1 for Moss) and Campbell was only sacked once. Obviously, those stats just didn’t seem to translate to the scoreboard. So I don’t think it’s so much the players…

    With the hiring of “offensive consultant” Sherm Lewis, I really think our offensive play will actually become “efficient” and “timely”. Hopefully we see the change sooner, rather than later.

  4. Krem

    October 7, 2009 at 6:58 AM

    The line is a huge problem. You know it’s bad when the quarterback has to say something like, “If you guys block here, this play will be a touchdown,” etc.

    Other than the line, I think things would be a little better if either Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas had stepped up by now. I know it’s only their second year, but how good are these guys? There has to be a reason why Marko Mitchell hasn’t gotten a chance yet — you’re telling me that he couldn’t have at least one catch for seven yards like Thomas has?

  5. chevychasenanticokes

    October 7, 2009 at 8:03 AM

    I don’t understand why we are trying to become a West Coast team. All the personal brought in by Gibbs (most of whom are still on the team or on the cap) are supposed to be pieces of a different style of offense. By the time we assemble all the pieces for a west coast style offense, it will be as dated as Joe 2.0’s “1991” style. Other teams have had success with modified old school offenses like the wildcat/single wing. Why are we chasing this west coast thing like it is the holy grail? We need a mix of innovation and old school with the pieces that we have. I’ve never played a down of organized football in my life tho, so whatevs.

  6. dcuntied

    October 7, 2009 at 8:15 AM

    Campbell isn’t the problem or solution- his performance is a symptom of the bigger disease that the Skins have. In a normally functioning organization that drafts well to put the right players around him, and that hires its coaches with some semblance of sanity, Campbell would be just fine.

    Considering the disaster that is the Redskins, I think he’s doing a pretty decent job.

  7. trumpyoc

    October 7, 2009 at 9:18 AM

    Solution. Number 5 is correct – its not even the individual play calls (all though they are often terrible), its the entire offensive scheme. Jason is 6’5 and is a prototypical old-school East Coast Offense (whatever that is – run the damn ball to set up play-action) quarterback. Zorn calls his scheme a hybrid system – it is predicated on timing, three step drops, and proper wide receiver routes. We do none of that well.
    Under the Gibbs seasons of 2005 and 2007, two things were present that are not now – an effective running game, and a believable play-action pass. Looking back at tapes of all three quarterbacks in that system (Brunell, JC and Collins), they were able to effectively mix play action pass because of the running game.
    Zorn’s arrogance in his scheme is part of the problem. This goes back to Snyder and Vinny choosing an offensive coordinator who wants to run the West Coast offense with Air Coryell personnel.
    My biggest fear is that Campbell will be a Free Agent after this year, and will absolutely thrive with his next team. I will be happy to cheer for him.

  8. Jake

    October 7, 2009 at 1:21 PM

    I don’t know. I agree with everyone else that the West Coast offense is not a good match for Campbell and one wonders why Snyder wanted to bring it here in the first place. Our offensive line isn’t good. WR’s not named Moss haven’t contributed. All true. But shouldn’t a good QB be able to overcome some of that? This is an offense that throughout Campbell’s career has struggled to score 20 points. You’d think, even with all the problems, Campbell’s natural abilities would generate some points but that really hasn’t happened. Other QB’s have had rookie WR’s and done well; other QB’s have had bad offensive lines and still put up points.

    I think the reality is that Campbell is a top 20 QB and nothing more. He’s good enough in the right system (aka not the current one) and he can manage a game decently but he’s not going to carry a team. In some organizations that would be ok but Snyder’s never going to be happy unless he has a star there.

  9. Terps77

    October 8, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    This is a great post.

    Not knowing what Campbell is at this point is a problem of/in itself.

    I think Jake (comment 8) hits the nail on the head when he wrote,”he can manage a game decently but he’s not going to carry a team.”

    I think Campbell has mechanics issues that would continue to hurt his game even with an improved line, good wide outs and improved play calling.

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