Sunday, April 25, 2010
He's No Charlie Whitehurst
You are going to have a hard time convincing me that Charlie Whitehurst is a better starting NFL quarterback than Jason Campbell.
Now, or ever.
And yet here's the tale of the trade tape.
The Chargers got a 2011 3rd round pick, and moved up 20 spots in the 2nd round for Whitehurst - a 3rd stringer who had never started a game.
The Redskins got a lone 4th round pick for Campbell.
This is what happens when you paint yourself into an obvious corner of trade weakness. Mike Shanahan isn't so much worried about cleaning up after Joe Gibbs mistakes. He just wants to bury them and move on.
Hold on to your hats, people, but the Raiders just made the steal of the off-season.
And I say this as a guy who had become convinced that Campbell was never going to be a franchise player. I say this as a guy who thinks the McNabb trade was a sensible upgrade.
Still. A fourth? That's it??
As I went to tally up the relevant numbers for this Campbell farewell, it started to dawn on me that there's a 30% chance this becomes the most debaculous trade in Redskins history.
Campbell was coached entirely by doofuses here in D.C. The systems he was in, were constantly changing. Gibbs made him entirely too timid. There was never a proper #1 WR weapon, much less a good #2.
And the Danny-Vinny dynamic at the head of the organizational depth chart made any true leadership from Campbell almost impossible.
Gibbs saw a lot in Campbell. Enough to trade an extra 3rd and 4th to jump back into the first round and get him with a second #1 pick they didn't have at the time. Why then did he let him fester for almost two seasons as Mark Brunnel slowly decayed?
His offense was a joke. He wouldn't even use the shotgun formation his first year back from retirement. Laveranues Coles had 90 catches for LESS than 1,000 yards and just 1 TD in 2004, the first year under Hall of Fame Joe.
This was after a 82-1204-6 season the year before under Spurrier.
Yet they thought it was Coles' fault, and so they swapped him for Santana Moss!
Coles caught 90 balls, and I would bet 83 of them were 4 yard hitches outside the numbers because either a) Gibbs was too scared to throw anywhere else or b) Brunell couldn't get it anywhere else consistently.
So by the time it was simply too painful to ignore, Gibbs was forced to bring in Al Saunders to look over his shoulder, changing the offense again!
All the while, Campbell persevered with dignity and diligence.
For the last two years, Campbell tried his best to make a ham sandwich of Jim Zorn's version of the “West Coast” offense. I say we don't appreciate how hard that actually was.
Zorn was a tool. His offense blew transvestite monkey dick. One of his supposedly “innovative” ways to coach was to throw blocking cushions at Campbell to simulate dodging rushers.
I am not making this up.
We all know about the bamboo-shoots-under-fingernail painfulness of watching of Zorn's scheme. That's why the clown above him, Vinny, brought in Sherm Lewis from the bingo hall. (Note: Worked great, just like we knew it would. Thanks for asking...)
So now that Campbell is gone, for nothing much more than the next weakside linebacker from Utah State in the 2012 fourth round (live on ESPN 9 in primetime!!) here is what Raider fans need to know.
You are getting a quarterback who would be working on his 52nd straight start if not for Adewale Ogunleye and Mark Anderson blowing up his knee on Sunday night a few years ago.
Campbell's accuracy has gone 60-62-64% the last three years.
Campbell's touchdowns have gone 12-13-20 the last three years.
Campbell's passer rating has gone 77-84-86 the last three years.
Noticing any trends?
He's 29 years old, and oak tree strong. Depsite that knee injury in 2006, he took what looked for sure like a season-ending, 4-ligament, direct nuclear shot from Brett Keisel of the Steelers in the same pre-season. Shook it off and didn't miss a start. Amazing.
He's earnest, hard working, humble. Smart. Not the kind of guy to end up in Milledgeville.
He's everything Jamarcus Russell is not. The only things they have in common, are that they are both about 6-5, black, and come from the SEC.
Perhaps he's too quiet. Perhaps not emotional enough. Perhaps not enough of a leader.
But again, it's hard to tell. You can't lead any team that has a clown car of personalities like Snyder, Cerrato and Zorn calling the shots. Especially not when Clinton Portis is given a doggie door to practice so he can come and go as he pleases.
Now that it's over, I must admit that I wish we could have seen Campbell with an offense that fit HIM, not a timing scheme that kept his deep ball arm in the garage on most plays. I wish we could have seen Campbell with a sound coach and GM above him, with team rules applied evenly and sensibly.
Call me a hypocrite, but I am now wishing we could have just seen one more year of Campbell here under Shanahan.
Go back and look at those numbers again. He doesn't suck. The right scheme and good coaching might have made a world of difference.
And yet this is how the game works. A new coach doesn't give a shit about the 1st, the 3rd and the 4th round picks we surrendered for Campbell 6 years ago. He's not even concerned about maximizing value for the asset now. All he knows, is, “that's not MY guy. That's somebody else's guy.” So we put him on the curb like a lawnmower that might just need an engine tuneup.
The slim 4th rounder feels like a coupon for small fries.
Even if Campbell never once replicates his production here in D.C., you can rest assured Raider Nation that you have not been ripped off. But then again, he's no Charlie Whitehurst.