Six Pack: Vikings
1) Redskins fans love a good quarterback debate. Todd Collins is enjoying an influx of goodwill, and deservedly so. He has guided the Redskins to three consecutive wins, completing over 75% of his passes in the wins against the Bears and Vikings. He's had one fumble, no interceptions and four touchdowns. His play has been impressive and has come at an absolutely crucial time for the Redskins. One would think that, alone, would make fans happy.
2) Alas, it is not. Questions are springing up over whether to name Collins the starter or who to bench when Jason Campbell gets healthy (if he can in time). We see two problems with this. First, while Collins' play has been tremendous, three games is a rather small statistical snapshot. That isn't meant, in any way, to demean Collins but he would not be the first backup to perform spectacularly for a stretch and then fizzle out. Ask the Eagles. We obviously hope that is not the case but the stories of career backups who lead teams to glory are, understandably, few. Does it happen? Yes. Is it likely? No.
3) The second issue we have is that having the debate leads to a dump-on-Campbell discussion. We find that stunning. During some of the Redskins losses this year, one of the things that consistently made us smile was the play of Campbell. Even with the fumbles and the picks and some bad decisions, we couldn't escape being thrilled that this talented young man was starting for the Redskins and the idea that he will for many years to come. Now a contingent of fans act as if the man spent almost 13 weeks doing a Heath Shuler impersonation.
4) We know fans are a fickle bunch but come on. We can tell you with absolute certainty that Jason Campbell is the best and most promising quarterback to play for the Redskins in 13 years, hands down. Yes, he's struggled at times and he's made mistakes but those are hardly the whole story. How many passes have Redskins receivers dropped since Collins started playing? How many did they drop for Jason? In the Packers game alone? Collins has been sacked four times in three games, Jason was sacked 21 times including, as you will recall, taking one that ended his season. And, let's be frank, that number would be quite a bit higher were it not for Jason's ability to move.
5) How many times did the defense give Jason short field position or fail to make a stop, putting the offense in a bad spot? How many crucial challenges did Jason win to negate a potentially game-changing turnover? Sports fans seem to have a need to find something about which they can debate, so Redskins fans are not unique in this. But it's this inability to see Jason's season in context that baffles us. In our opinion, part of being a good fan is the ability to have reasonable expectations. It seems Jason is sometimes held to a standard of a tenured veteran rather than that of a inexperienced player in an intricate offense.
6) So praise Todd Collins, he absolutely deserves it. Let's hope he guides the team to the Super Bowl, even if we think that to be pretty unlikely. But let's avoid knocking Campbell in the process, he's done nothing to deserve that. We firmly believe he will be the team's starter next season and many years after that. Besides, what if Collins is as good as he's been thus far? The Redskins would have a surplus of talent at the most important position on the field. We'll take that 100% of the time.
This article was released on 2007-12-26.
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