A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
Game 12 - Philly. No biggie. Just a season in the balance ...

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  1. #1

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    Default Behind Enemy Lines: A Good Man

    Since Easter I have spent a good bit of time reading more than my fair share of media and fan comment about everyone’s new best friend, Donovan McNabb. I have to say I have not heard this much hype about a guy in Burgundy and Gold taking snaps from center since . . . well . . . since Campbell took over the starting job from Brunell.

    Before I elaborate further, I have to admit to you all that I am a Jason Campbell fan but I did not start out that way. I was against drafting him when...

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    This column sums my feelings exactly. Campbell, throughout it all, has been nothing but the most professional, loyal, and dignified player a fan could ask for. I may be one of the very few in this town that hoped he would be our starter for 2010.

    I am also one of the very few (apparently) who just can't get that excited about an Eagle who hasn't even played one snap for the Burgundy, White, and Gold.
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  3. #3

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    I can certainly understand your admiration for Campbell. I like the guy too. I know this is not an especially popular position but I don't feel that the team has treated Jason unfairly at all.

    He was drafted highly, paid well and inserted into the starting line-up. Only 32 of those position exist in the world! What else exactly does the team owe him? Because he's a nice guy and carries himself well we should sign him to a lifetime contract? Sorry, I'm not buying that. Stats be damned. If the people running this organization thought he was the right guy to lead this team he wouldn't be on the way out. If other team looked at his skill set and though he could help their team, they would trade for him. To this point none have. That tells me a lot.

    The NFL is a bottom line business. Jason simply is not the right guy for this team, just like Patrick Ramsey wasn't the right guy. It remains to be seen if McNabb will be that guy, but you have to think his chances are better than Jason's. Before the McNabb deal many Skins fans I talked to were trying to figure out what college guy we could draft to be our new starting QB. If we're doing that then I respectfully submit that we don't have the right guy currently on the team.

    Let me address another issue while I'm ranting: Jason wasn't told we had traded for McNabb before a reporter got to the story and called him for a comment. So what? Would that have changed anything? Jason was the QB of this team for the past couple of season but calling this “his team” would be stretching it a bit I think. He hadn't even signed his tender at that point. Players are always the last to know about that kind of stuff, that's nothing new or sinister. It's just the way it is and it's certainly not exclusive to the Redskins organization.

    I seem to remember Shanahan saying all positions were open for competition anyway. If Colt would have come out of the first mini camp as Shanahan's favorite to be the starter would people still say Jason was being disrespected? Come on. I think most people would be ecstatic.

    I think some folks are just looking for reasons why Jason should be insulted or made into some kind of a martyr for the teams recent mismanagement. I think that's the wrong way to look at this. Jason has been a good guy and we all wish him the best. He will find another team and even if he doesn't throw another pass in the NFL he should have made enough money to take care of his family comfortably for the rest of his life. We should all be so lucky.
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    well put Hog.....
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  5. #5

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    Lots of good stuff in there. I'll confess, I have a lot of mixed feelings. Certainly Campbell is a good guy and seems to be a fine young man - maybe even exceptionally fine. I agree he's handled what at best has been challenging early career with class, grace, and unselfishness. He's improved. But I'm not sure his best year to date equals McNabb's worst.

    Is Donovan a better QB today than Jason Campbell? Yes, but I don’t know that it is as big a gap as many think.
    Statistically, McNabb isn't just a better QB, he's a dramatically better QB. That's true even in recent years. There are only a few arguments one can make to slightly undercut that assertion. One is if you believe McNabb is on the cusp of falling off bigtime. There's no evidence of that, and at 34 he could have another 5 years of quality play in him. The second argument, and probably the more reasonable one (although I don't believe it personally) is that McNabb is moderately talented and has only been a Pro-Bowler and likely HOFer because he had a great coach and stability.

    I certainly agree that having a great head coach and stability makes any QB much more likely to be successful. Where I may part ways is the idea that, had JC only had those things, he would have developed into 'the guy'. I think he lacks something fundamental in his personality/makeup/mentally that's really needed for a QB to move beyond 'talented' or 'promising' to a franchise QB. My sense is and always has been that he's a good athlete with a great attitude who will never be an effective perennial starter.

    I'm a little sad for Campbell, not because I think the Redskins did him wrong or that he's being robbed of an opportunity, but only because he is a classy, nice kid who cares about all the important things. It's impossible not to like and respect him. I don't like or particularly respect McNabb. But he's a much much better QB.

    Would I rather win with a guy like McNabb than continue to struggle with good guy Jason Campbell? I honestly don't know. I guess I'll tell you later.

    Nice piece Bob - glad somebody tackled the topic with all the focus on McNabb.
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  6. #6

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    I think the "potential" question as it relates to Campbell is definitely open.

    In some ways, I wonder whether that's the same argument that people used for Patrick Ramsey once upon a time--i.e., that he had potential, but just couldn't deliver for reasons outside of his control.

    It's a bit unknowable--as even if Campbell gets better in some other system, the facts and circumstances will be sufficiently different that it'll be difficult to know whether we are comparing apples to apples and whether his success (or lack thereof) in a new environment will be due to his own merit or because of the situation in which he finds himself and the steps he's taken in getting there.

    There's no question that it'll be a combination of the new system and what Campbell brings to the table--but I have to say that in my own mind, I just don't think Campbell is really that good a QB. (I do, however, wholeheartedly agree with you Bob that he's an excellent person and has shown true grit and professionalism in the face of some pretty tough situations.)

    I look to what I consider his one really good season at Auburn and I attribute a lot of that success to the two NFL running backs that he had the benefit of--there just hasn't been that moment in his time in Washington where I felt like the rest of the organization was really the primary thing keeping Jason back.

    There were too many missed chances, poor decisions and other failures for it to be the rest of the organization that was primarily at fault for Campbell's lack of success--

    But there's a lot of people that agree with you Bob who think that the gap between McNabb and Campbell really isn't that significant -- and that the Redskins system (or the enormous variety of systems during the last four plus years) that Campbell's had to endure along with a woeful offensive line and underachieving wide recievers are really to blame for Campbell's lack of success.

    I guess the problem that I have with that is it becomes very difficult to separate cause and effect in performance in football -- i.e., whether the lack of production by the WRs had something (or maybe a lot) to do with Campbell.

    I just don't think Campbell has it as a solid-to-good QB in the NFL. Maybe I'm wrong though.

    One thing that is certain is that the guy is oozing with professionalism and charisma, both of which will serve him very well long after he's hung up his cleats for good.
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  7. #7

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    Hmmmm...I guess some further explanation is in order.

    First, this was not about whether the Skins have mistreated or been unfair to Campbell in some way, shape or form. He has received the agreed to compensation for his services. That is all that is strictly required to meet the definition of fair. I am fine with it.

    Second, it is not about whether he is the right guy or not. While I would like him to be the right guy because of the type of guy he is, I think it is clear that both he and the team will benefit long term from going different directions. Granted, I think his talent set works well with what I saw of Elway in the 90s and I was anxious to see him work in Shanahan's run heavy West Coast offense. Folks seem to forget that Campbell played great ball for the first 8 games two years ago when Portis was leading the league in rushing.

    However, neither of those things were what I was driving at. If I could sum up where I was going here it would be this:

    The Redskins are trading class and dignity for a perceived upgrade in talent at the position.

    I do not believe McNabb to be anymore in Jason's league when it comes to class and dignity than most here think Campbell is in McNabb's league as a QB.

    Consider for a moment John Lenon's comment about Pete Best vs Ringo Starr when asked if Ringo was as good a drummer a Best. He said, "Pete Best was a good drummer, Ringer Starr is a good Beatle."

    I think the same applies here. McNabb is a good QB. Campbell was a good Redskin.

    Furthermore, we just don't know if Donovan can be the QB here he was in Philly and we won't know that for some time yet. Even if he can be that QB, we don't know if he can do it for more than a year or two.

    I will take issue with the sentiment that the team didn't do anything wrong by not letting Jason know about the trade before he could hear about it from the press though. I believe that on a strictly human level they did indeed owe a heads up to him once that trade was done. While it was not a requirement from an employment aspect it was necessary in order to give a guy who has always done right by the team the chance to get his head around it before he had to face questions. In my book Shanahan and Allen goofed on a level much more important and profound than mere business by not doing it and have both lost a measure of respect with this fan because of it.

    Frankly, Campbell has been significantly more respectful of the team than has been returned to him and I believe someday soon we will all miss that quality in our quarterback.
    Last edited by Neophyte; 04-19-10 at 02:19 PM.
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  8. #8
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    As much as I like and admire Jason, not only as a person and a player. I regretfully have to disagree with you as it pertains to comparing him and Donovan.

    I feel your assuming that Donovan is not a stand up guy, to make that comparison. Where does that come from? What has he specifically done to warrant that? I think it's quite clear that his talent and ability as an athlete and a leader have proven to be greater that Jason's.

    "Consider for a moment John Lenon's comment about Pete Best vs Ringo Starr when asked if Ringo was as good a drummer a Best. He said, "Pete Best was a good drummer, Ringer Starr is a good Beatle."

    I think the above comment really speaks to how Donovan may be a better fit with us, rather than Jason. Not only is Donovan a better QB, given the opportunity he may prove to be a better team player. Only time will tell and we owe him the opportunity to prove it.

    Ultimately Jason had his opportunity. Whether it was fair or not is no longer relevant. Like it or not as much as we love this game and our passions run deep for it, it is a business. As we all know life isn't always fair, but at least Jason had his chance. That's a lot more than can be said for countless others.
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  9. #9

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    Fair enough Neo. I appreciate what Jason has done and how he has handled himself. He's acted like a professional, the way adults should act. What I don't get is how you think that makes him a better QB? That is the point right?

    Character is important, but character alone is not enough. Cutler has the arm but is clearly a doofus and I'm glad he's not a Redskin. Jason is a good guy but not an NFL starting QB. You can blame the offense or receivers or whatever you like but the Redskins aren't alone in thinking this. As for McNabb I've never heard anything regarding the way he's handled himself that would lead me to think he was a bad guy. In fact I thought he handled the whole TO thing really well.

    As to the heads up thing, we aren't going to agree on that. Just because Campbell has done what he was supposed to do as a professional shouldn't set him apart from any other player on this team. If we draft a Tackle in a couple of weeks should we have Stephon Heyer on speed dial so we can break the news to him? He's started the better part of the last two seasons and seems like a good guy too. But what if he wasn't a good guy? Should he still get a call? It's a slippery slope.
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    While I have been a JC supporter over the years, I agree that as a QB, Donovan McNabb is an upgrade. However, as a franchise, I believe that we do owe an obligation to the players who have worked to put a positive face on the team to inform them when they are being replaced just to let them know that they are respected for their efforts, even if they were not successful. Think about the future players. One reason players go to teams such as Pittsburgh and New England is that they get respect from the management, not just money. How many players have settled for a little less money for the opportunity to play for a winning team that expresses a bit of respect and obligation for that player?
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billfishead View Post
    I feel your assuming that Donovan is not a stand up guy, to make that comparison. Where does that come from? What has he specifically done to warrant that? I think it's quite clear that his talent and ability as an athlete and a leader have proven to be greater that Jason's.
    Like I said in the blog post, I don't feel like he thinks he is ever at fault for anything and I feel like he always has some of that "you think you know but you don't know" arrogance going on. I don't like either thing. I want my QB to stand up and say "I didn't get it done" and I want that to be the end of it.

    I don't once remember listening to Campbell and thinking he thought he was blameless while that is largely all I have ever thought about Donovan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Billfishead View Post
    Not only is Donovan a better QB, given the opportunity he may prove to be a better team player. Only time will tell and we owe him the opportunity to prove it.
    With all due respect Bill, it is going to be very, very tough to be a better team player than Campbell. Very difficult indeed. I'll give Donovan a chance, of course, but it is going to require more than just good play on the field.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hog Fever View Post
    Fair enough Neo. I appreciate what Jason has done and how he has handled himself. He's acted like a professional, the way adults should act. What I don't get is how you think that makes him a better QB? That is the point right?
    No sir, that was not my point. In fact, I stated that I think McNabb is the better QB. I just don't think he is better by the monster gulf so many others seem to think exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hog Fever View Post
    As to the heads up thing, we aren't going to agree on that. Just because Campbell has done what he was supposed to do as a professional shouldn't set him apart from any other player on this team. If we draft a Tackle in a couple of weeks should we have Stephon Heyer on speed dial so we can break the news to him? He's started the better part of the last two seasons and seems like a good guy too. But what if he wasn't a good guy? Should he still get a call? It's a slippery slope.
    While I understand where you are going, the reality is that as much as we want to the QB to be "just another position" on the team, a first among equals if you will, it is not. No other position in professional sports compares to that of being the starting QB of an NFL franchise and, even while the team has not been greatly successful recently, few starting QB positions in the NFL compare to being the starter in Washington.

    How thankful are we as fans that Campbell has a citizenship record off the field we can be proud of? As we sit here waiting to hear how many games Big Ben will have to sit this year because of his off field issues, I think this has relevance. I am sure most of our compatriots who cheer for the Steelers would trade Ben's off field behavior for Jason's in a heart beat and I am guessing Steelers management would do it faster than that.

    This young man has been the face of the franchise for 3 years and never made a headline for a bad reason that I can remember. Not once. I'm inclined to go a bit above and beyond for that kind of person, even in a business sense where it is not strictly required.

    And Gerald made part of my point too. Players take note of that sort of thing and treating them well in the human sense when you don't strictly have to will get you somewhere. This is a team that has had their pick of free agents because the checkbook was open. Now the checkbook is closed (or more closed than it was) and they are going to need more advantages. This isn't a team on the cusp of a Super Bowl appearance where guys will come to get the ring before riding off into the sunset.

    Respect is a powerful thing. I just think some has been earned by Jason and the bill came due Easter night but the Skins failed to pay it. You don't agree and you know what? That is just fine. If we all agreed about everything there would be no reason for BGO to exist.
    Last edited by Neophyte; 04-19-10 at 02:52 PM.
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