Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Quarterback Quiz: Washington Redskins

First of all, I have to express my amazement that in this day and age of lily-white political correctness, a professional sports team is still able to get away with having this name. You have people raising the hue and cry about Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians (and I for one am a little edgy on that) but this name? Sheeeee. I guess their only redeeming factor is that their logo isn't as offensively stereotyped as Cleveland, otherwise the ACLU would really be unleashing the lions.

Washington Redskins (9-7): Jason Campbell

Although 37-year-old backup Todd Collins led the 'Skins to a 4-0 record (and a wild-card playoff loss in which Seahawks defensive end Patrick Kerney got to be extra special friends with him) in Campbell's injury absence, he'll open next year as the starting QB once his knee is better. And if he has another season to grow and mature, he'll fit that role just fine for a competitive team in a tough division. The 26-year-old Auburn product led the Tigers to an undefeated season in 2004, was named MVP of the SEC Conference Championship Game, the Sugar Bowl, and NFC Offensive Player of the Week, and was taken 25th overall by the Skins in the 2005 draft. It took him a year to nab the starting job from Mark Brunell, but after a 3-6 start in 2006, Joe Gibbs gave him the nod. Campbell finished his first season as a starter with 110 completions in 207 tries for a 53.1 completion percentage, 10 TD/6 INT, and a 76.5 passer rating.

He improved on those numbers somewhat this year, making 13 starts before having his season prematurely curtailed with a dislocated patellar ligament in his left knee. Still, he had trouble keeping a good TD/INT ratio, as he threw 12 passes for scores but 11 that ended up in the hands of the other team. He finished 250 of 417 passes for 2,700 yards, a good 60% completion rate, and a 77.6 rating. He's still young, and has time to continue to mature, and he'll need to grow into the role of leader for a team that will have a different coach than their Hall of Famer Gibbs next year. The 'Skins have questions now that Gibbs has resigned from his head coach post -- in the eleven years he was in between coaching stints, they qualified for the playoffs once, in comparison to twice in the four years of 2004-08 and 4 NFC East titles in the 12 years before that, along with only one losing record (7-9 in 1988). His style of play could compensate for not having a Hall of Fame-type quarterback in the pocket (The Hogs and the triple tight end set) so Campbell may have to learn a new type of offensive schematic and the Skins weren't particularly successful without Gibbs. (He will, however, stay on as special adviser).

The 'Skins are also still emotionally rocked from the traumatic shooting death of Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor. They'll have to deal with head coaching questions, personal tragedy, and the still-evolving maturation of a young quarterback in a different system in order to compete in the tough NFC East next year. If Campbell can step up and make this his team, in the way that the Patriots, Cowboys, Packers, Colts, etc are defined by their signal-caller, that has a much better chance of happening.

1 comment:

styg50 said...

It is pretty interesting, that angle on the 'Redskins' still titling a team in this day and age.

My highschool had a mascot called a "Savage" replete with full indian paraphenalia. It was in Idaho, which is a crossroads for many, many different tribes, and one of them (a sect of the nez perce, I believe) came to our scool and asked us politely to change our mascot. They gave a big presentation and put there case forward quite rationally. They even had suggestions for us to change it to.

In the end we kept the "Savages", with our reasoning being that it had always been savages, and nothing else sounded right. Honestly, the Indians that talked to us that day had nothing to fear with being confused with any stereotyped 'savage.'