Cheap Seats: A QB Switch Brings Perspective
Joe Gibbs' decision to shake up our QB depth chart (have you heard?) has changed the way Skins fans are going to view the rest of the season. Question: How do you get Washington to follow the remainder of a (seemingly) lost season with as much interest as they would have for a playoff team? Answer: Jason Campbell
The Brunell/Campbell controversy of 2006 will go down as yet another episode for a city that isn’t known for perspective when it comes to a quarterback debate. Perhaps it’s simply that we’ve had our hopes dashed and our hearts broken too many times by a promising backup or draft pick failing to become the next Sonny Jurgensen (a subject of controversy in his own time).
A change at quarterback is likely the final nail in the coffin for the 2006 Washington Redskins. Of course, one can make the claim that this season was over as early as Week 2, after the loss to Dallas, or perhaps after the Week 7 loss to Indianapolis. We have endured "boos" and demands to see Campbell ever since the preseason (including "We Want Campbell" T-shirts sold to tailgaters at FedEx Field).
Not everyone shared these views at first, but as the season progressed it became harder to imagine a Brunell-led Redskins team competing in this postseason. However one views it, even the most optimistic of fans (and I count myself among them) now recognize that January will likely be an idle month for the Skins.
For those fans who have any hope left (and are wondering what to do with it), next year is looking like the smarter investment, should we want a return on our effort. Gibbs himself has said that the decision to start Campbell is both to try and get more production from the QB but also to “get some answers” when it comes to Jason’s future in Washington.
This is not to say that I have given up all hope -- after all, we will continue to be in playoff contention as long as we keep winning. Granted, it is possible that, even if we make a 7-0 run, our early losses in the NFC will hurt us in tie-breaker situations. One need not describe how much of a long-shot this scenario is, but here in the Cheap Seats we know that crazier things have happened.
Eternal optimism notwithstanding, the shift at quarterback has ensured that most Skins fans will now shift their focus in watching this team. The rules of fandom have modified to fit the situation: a loss isn’t entirely a loss anymore, as long as we see something good from our young QB.
Flashes of greatness will assure us of next year’s possibilities. Playoffs in 2006 would be nice, but soon enough they will be entirely beside the point. Our questions will now focus on how well our QB is playing and developing.
In fact, if the Redskins can simply survive to the end of the year, playing hard, developing chemistry between Campbell and the rest of the offense, and if some players on our defense will step up and start making plays … perhaps staying home for the playoffs might not be so painful.
Truth be told, it probably wouldn’t be a bad way to pass the next couple of months. Think of still more possibilities: Gibbs is sticking around until next year, Clinton Portis is going to rest and get healthy for next season and Saunders won’t have to hear as many jokes as he labors to fine-tune his system in D.C.
Best of all, Washington has one of the most exciting things in football: a young quarterback, with class, who is going to show us what he is made of in the next seven weeks. There is no better symbol for potential and hope than a young QB coming off of the bench.
In the final stretch Washington’s fans are going to use a new set of eyes when looking at this team. The hope that a quarterback shake-up brings can help to cure whatever bitterness remains from the season thus far.
Don’t count us out yet, though. Seven in a row: impossible? Nah.
Be sure to check out the view with us here in the Cheap Seats.
- Daniel Coleman
This article was released on 2006-11-15.
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