Standing up for Jason Campbell
I am going to defend Jason Campbell today in a season where nothing is going right — or even remotely right — for a Redskins team that looks flat, dazed and plays with so little emotion outside of a few guys that the hope, if there is any, is gone.
You’ll hear this statement a lot from experts, former players and former insiders in this league, and it’s pretty simple: Teams take on the personality of their head coach.
And right now, the Redskins players look exactly like Jim Zorn did Monday night — a coach who reflected a defeated man, looking as uncomfortable as a rookie on the first day of training camp. Looking for a word to describe it is hard because the whole situation was so odd, so out of place. A team in transition? No, a team without life.
But, Campbell and Santana Moss — two guys I saw who played till the end on this offense -- should be noticed. On a night when the Eagles literally physically beat Campbell by constantly attacking the ‘Skins offensive line, he never came out, never took a play off, and although the results haven’t been there when you compare stats, this guy still plays the game. That last touchdown drive? Sure, it really doesn’t mean anything to the NFC East race, but to this team — especially this offense — it should mean something because their real leaders, who are without question Campbell and Moss, played out the stretch.
I know that means nothing to ‘Skins fans after another loss that pretty much ended the season in Washington, but you have to appreciate that from pro players, who tend to shut it down in a moment like this.
Santana is a pro, and he always has been. He still ran routes and he still played like the game — which was out of reach — meant something. I like that as an ex-player, and I love that as an ex-Redskin, because there’s something to be said for this offense when it goes down the field and puts one in the end zone — while its feature back, Clinton Portis, is hanging out on the sidelines with a towel draped over his head.
Think about it: Jason Campbell was sacked six times and hit in the pocket countless times when he let go of the football. Was it worth it? Of course, because most likely, Campbell and Zorn — who seem to be forever linked in Redskins colors — will be gone after this season.
But Campbell will find a new team, and he will be able to sit in the pocket, use his running game and not feel that the world is coming down on him every time he drops back to pass.
I agree that he turns the ball over too much, and I also agree that he has bad feet in the pocket, but let’s give him a pass right now — because I don’t know if Peyton Manning could succeed in the situation Campbell is in.
I’m still a fan of Campbell, and Santana Moss, because they never quit. And that’s a lesson for the rest of the offensive players. I don’t know if it will get better, or if Campbell will make it through this season, but when you’re in a situation like this, look at the leaders — the guys who play hard no matter the score.
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