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Todd Collins vs. Mark Brunell

In today's paper, Jason LaCanfora wrote about the Todd Collins vs. Mark Brunell tilt for the backup QB slot. He wrote, as so many have, that Todd Collins has not started an NFL game since 1997, which is true.

Todd Collins, still smarting from 1997. (By John McDonnell - TWP)

Left unsaid was exactly what happened in Todd Collins's last start, Dec. 14, 1997. For starters, it came against the Jacksonville Jaguars and a young whippersnapper named Mark Brunell. Interesting notes from the game:

* Collins's final line: 13-for-26 for 107 yards. He was benched in favor of Alex Van Pelt. The Bills lost.

* Brunell's final line: 24-for-32 for a season-high 317 yards, plus 4 rushes for 10 yards and a TD. "So much for ol' conservative, throw-underneath, play-it-safe Mark Brunell," read one newspaper story.

* That was so long ago that the Jaguars featured Natrone Means, the Bills still used Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith and Steve Tasker and Andre Reed, the Jaguars were still covered by Pete Prisco, the Bills were still covered by Vic Carucci and Redskins DE Alex Buzbee had barely turned 12 years old.

* Here's a letter to the editor from the Buffalo News that week:

"Todd is not our man. His peripheral vision is non-existent. He can't handle the pressure. This causes him to make some very bad decisions. I can't understand how he can overthrow/underthrow receivers which are wide open every week." Like Prisco and Carucci, that letter-writer has also since been promoted; he is now an anonymous commenter on Redskins Insider.

* But in the "some things never change" category, here's one of the other NFL stories of that week:

[Bengals DL Dan] Wilkinson, whose contract is up after the season, was unhappy that his messy court dispute with a former girlfriend was reported in the Cincinnati media.

"This is small town, Cincinnati, and this place just thrives on whatever negativity it can get," Wilkinson said. "The people love to hear it, they like to read it.

"I've always hated the city of Cincinnati, since I was a kid. The people seem to be prejudiced and uptight and stiff. There's no flexibility."

* Here's what Bills Coach Marv Levy said after the game: ''Changing quarterbacks is always a moot question, it often doesn't help much. Todd [Collins] had moved the ball fairly well. But we hadn't scored a touchdown in a number of quarters." The Bills went on to have their worst record in more than a decade.

* And here's what the Buffalo News wrote following the season:

As any Bills follower knows, Collins' first season as a starting quarterback was, in a word, disappointing. He finished 29th in the NFL passer ratings. He got worse as the season wore on. He failed to spot open receivers. He too often failed to connect with open receivers he did see. He rarely made plays on his own when his pass protection was less that adequate -- which was often.

He heard the team owner express deep reservations about his future. And he had the starting job taken away from him twice -- first in the ninth and 10th games of the season and then in the season-finale against Green Bay....

The Bills' decision-makers refused to say they had given up on Collins. But their actions indicated they couldn't bear to see him start another game this year.

* PS: Here's what my colleague Norman Chad wrote about Collins at the time: "If Todd Collins ran an import-export business, I suspect there wouldn't be any imports or exports." Yeah, that's your next backup QB.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 16, 2007; 2:09 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Maybe they could reacquire Sage Rosenfels.

Posted by: Prophet | August 16, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I hear Doug Flutie is looking to catch on with a team...

Posted by: DC Transplant | August 16, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

How is Collins any worse than Brunell?

Posted by: Jerkus | August 16, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

It's not about who is's the Redskins, so when it comes to depth it's all about the competition to see who's the tallest midget in the circus. The anit-Top Gun: The best of the worst.

Posted by: Geoff | August 16, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Somewhere, Gus Frerotte read this and started banging his head against the wall.

Posted by: JP | August 16, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Funny, I mentioned the same thing on my site today (minus all the additional research and work)-

Posted by: Lee Gibbons | August 16, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

No one is better at importing and exporting than Collins.

No one.

Posted by: | August 17, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I played w Todd several years ago and i still cant believe he hasn't received another shot at starting since 97. He was a great young developing quarterback who came back too early from a shoulder injury. To this day he is judged on his performance while only playing at the best 70%.

Posted by: Tony | August 21, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

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