Campbell struts as McNabb and the Skins stutter


(Here is a post from soon-to-be Riggo’s Rag contributing writer Sean Mathews)

Jason Campbell should be feeling at least a little vindication after the Raiders’ monumental come-from-behind victory against the AFC West leading Chiefs.  Though I doubt vindication is even on his mind, Campbell’s performance has clarified one thing for me; he should still be in a Redskins uniform.  While many in the world of NFL are musing over Donovan McNabb’s “unfair” treatment, few seemed to pay any notice when the Skins severed ties with the beleaguered Campbell.

When a football team does poorly, three individuals invariably come under fire: team owner, coach and quarterback.  Team owners are a non-factor because love them or hate them, they aren’t going away.  Coaches are an easy target and when the team already has well-established talent in place (think Dallas) the coach easily finds himself on the hot seat (think the Phillips formerly known as coach).  However, it is arguable that no other individual has as much visible and direct impact on a team as the quarterback.  When the quarterback suffers, in almost all cases, so does the franchise.  Brett Favre can attest to this.

Dan Snyder has certainly taken his share of ire from Redskins fans, but obviously he isn’t going away any time soon. To his recent credit he has shown he is willing to dish out serious money for players, albeit usually the wrong ones.  Jim Zorn was always on thin ice.  What recent Redskins coach besides Joe Gibbs hasn’t been?  His firing after a horrendous 4-12 season was no surprise.  Campbell however is a different situation.

In four years, Campbell increased his passing percentage from 53% to 64.5%.  He topped out with 3,600 passing yards his final season with the Skins, throwing for 20 touchdowns.  All this was in spite of an offensive line that caved faster than the French army.  Campbell was playing scared too often to truly attain his full potential.  The line did not make him look good in the eyes of many and forced his hand often.  Campbell was efficient at the short pass; however he just never had the time to set up for the long ball.  Many saw him as timid, and searching for answers the Skins parted ways with him to forge a bright new future.  It was a mistake.

After replacing the injured Bruce Gradkowski in week five, Campbell has taken the then 1-3 Raiders to a 5-4 return to grace.  Excitement has returned to Oakland while over in Washington, DC, many are wondering what the second half of the season holds for a team that has put serious questions into the minds of fans and players alike about the competency and integrity of the head coach and the reliability of its once vaunted quarterback.  The recent loss of safety Chris Horton doesn’t make the future look any rosier.

I personally would have liked to have seen Jason Campbell have a shot working with Mike Shanahan who prides himself for his ability to work with quarterbacks.  Alas, we will never know what could have been with Campbell.  But with rumblings of McNabb leaving for Arizona or Minnesota at the end of the season, we are left to wonder what will be for the Skins.  As for Campbell, only time will tell if he truly is vindicated, and if he even remains the starter when Gradkowski heals.  Right now though, I think he’s having too much fun to care.