Through the haze of distance, I'm willing to bet all my chips that Jason Campbell returns as the starting quarterback of the Washington football team. This would have been rightfully assigned long odds earlier, but special circumstances seem to be accumulating which make this a fait accompli.
Campbell had his best season statistically in 2009, but finished in the middle of the QB pack and his team went 4-12. He has never looked comfortable in Snyder's spinning schemes, he has never delivered a meaningful game-winning performance and he has never given up. His status before the 2009 season was very tenuous before the team granted him a lukewarm vote of confidence.
Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2010, it seemed certain that Campbell would leave Washington where he neither flourished nor was appreciated. Many Sportsjacks have predicted that Washington would draft a QB with the number 4 pick.
And yet, those special circumstances ...
1. If no Collective Bargaining Agreement is achieved in the next couple weeks, Campbell (along with 212 other players) will lose his unrestricted status and become a restricted free agent. This will severely limit the movement of free agents this offseason. The draft becomes that much more important this year.
2. New coach Mike Shanahan is no spazz for free agents, and would instantly put his stamp on this team by not giving Campbell the boot. Shanahan is also no spazz for first round QBs, and seems capable of picking for true need: offensive line.
3. Trading for a QB, or losing our few remaining draft picks by plucking a restricted free agent, seems unlikely given Shanahan's character. There simply isn't a more proven talent available. And we're still paying draft picks for that old fucking Dancing Queen, I shit you not.
4. General consensus seems unanimous: "Campbell was set up to fail by an administration that neglected the offensive line for the better part of a decade." Shorn of Vinny Cerrato, Snyder will have trouble continuing to ignore the obvious. With a strong-minded head coach in charge, Snyder's role in football decisions will shrink, praise jebus.
Criticism of Campbell falls into two camps: lack of pocket presence and "he dont threw no deep ballls" [sic]. That he has been battered behind slumdog lines throughout his career is obvious: he has been sacked an average of over twice per game.
His pocket awareness has never been great, and one wonders if this is a skill that can be taught. However, cutting down on the number of sacks (and countless late hits) he receives will help to reduce his mortal terror, not to mention bad footwork.
As for the charge that he didn't throw the deep ball ... I'll let Campbell respond, as he did to Chief Idiot Peter King: "I don't know how anyone can say something like that. Don't you think I wanted to throw the ball downfield? By the time I looked up, I was getting hit."
Although Campbell lacks some innate intangibles (pocket presence, bellyfire), he's been the best Washington QB since Mark Rypien and no better option will be available in 2010. I am convinced that Shanahan is a smart coach and will give Campbell (who has only begun two seasons as the starter) another chance ... hopefully behind a better offensive line.
I agree that he will be back. Time and the NFL combines will tell whether he doesn't have a rookie QB with him in camp.
And where that QB is taken makes all the difference. If it is a Sam Bradford #4 overall pick, than Campbell will have to clearly outplay him in camp.
The problem is that in this draft, there are no outstanding offensive lineman to use with that fourth pick. Will they go RB, a position that has suddenly become a need? Who knows.
Regardless--I agree. Campbell is sporting maroon and gold (perhaps unhappily) in 2010.
Luckily, Shanahanagins does know how to build a good offensive line.
Okung is rated the highest O-lineman, but there's no guarantee he'll still be there at #4.
A much better investment than Bradford. Three other linemen could go in the first round. I'll take any of them.
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