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Teammates Want Campbell to Unleash Himself

By Andrew Cameron - Reuters

Listening to the post-game comments of Jason Campbell's teammates, two things seemed clear.

1) They want to see him unleash himself, for lack of a better word, and

2) They want him to know that he has their confidence.

Dealing with the first point first, Sonny Jurgensen--who had called for Campbell to be benched--told Santana Moss during a postgame interview on ESPN 980 that Campbell can't keep taking the checkdowns.

"Exactly, you can't take the checkdowns," Moss agreed. "I mean, that's not gonna get us wins. And he threw three picks and we got a win. So I'm not sure if that's something that he's gonna be good [with] and be able to sleep with, but I think I sleep well with just knowing that he took a chance he gave us the opportunity to make a play. Whether we was there or not to make it, we all get a chance to see it and correct ourselves, but all we need is opportunities."

"No matter what he do, we're with him," Clinton Portis said. "And I think today he realized that, so now he can go out and play balls against the wall and carry this team."

Campbell, too, talked about freeing himself up to take chances and go long.

"After the first fumble of the game, when I got hit and fumbled, the first thing that go in your head is, "Oh, you need to protect the football, need to protect the football,' " Campbell told Jurgensen. "And that causes you to be just a little bit tentative, and a little bit conservative. And then I was like, 'Forget that, that's not helping us, that's not gonna win the game.' I was like, 'Just take some chances.' "

That, I think, is what most fans would like to see; Campbell slinging the ball, as Portis would put it, and not settling for the underneath stuff. As for the confidence stuff, I'm going to use the quotes in a second. But really, are we still at the point where teammates need to tell Campbell they have confidence in him?

Here's the deal: there are 32 teams in the NFL. Seventeen of them started a quarterback with less NFL starting experience than Campbell in their last game. Sure, there are injury issues that forced some of these changes, but the number is the number. Campbell is no longer one of the least experienced starters in the NFL. The "we believe in you" stuff gets unnecessary at some point, right?

"I told Jason to keep playing, keep throwing the ball, don't worry about it, we'll take care of it," Albert Haynesworth said. "You're not gonna have a great game every time. He'll be all right. He'll come back next week."

"That was the best thing that happened today, seeing Jason throwing the ball around and having turnovers and bouncing back and continuously fighting and everyone kept fighting with him," Portis said to the radio crew. "You know, to see him overcome four turnovers and throwing three picks and still slinging the ball. I think he made an excellent throw to Santana, and earlier in the season he couldn't recover from [the turnovers]. You know, today just everybody pat him on the back, 'C'mon man, don't worry, we're gonna make a play."

"I mean, he got a lot of guys around him that just gonna stay on him," Moss said. "Whether we cussin' or fussin' or just motivating him him, we're there. We're not gonna let that guy fall, because we know that he's playing his heart out. That's one thing about Jason, you don't hear a lot from Jason, he don't say a lot. He take a lot, and he just keeps it in. And all he can do is go out there and play the way he plays. I mean, regardless of it's good or bad, we've got him. Because at the end of the day, it's not about him making every play, it's about him giving us a chance to make the plays.

"And that's what I told him about those picks, I said, 'Hey, the only way you'll know if you did a good thing or a bad thing is by taking a chance.' So you see, the pick happened because you took a chance. That's the only way you're gonna learn. If you don't throw it, then we wouldn't know what outcome happens."

Sure, part of this is just guys coming up with something to say, and part of me writing this is just me trying to fill blog space. But it just seems like as Campbell continues to climb this list, the confidence has to be a given at some point. If it's not, that's a problem. Here are the total NFL starts for the most recent quarterbacks to start for every team; I'm awarding Rodgers and Favre starts on Monday night.

1. Brett Favre 273
2. Peyton Manning 180
3. Kerry Collins 168
4. Tom Brady 115
5. Drew Brees 110
6. Kurt Warner 104
7. Marc Bulger 90
8. Jake Delhomme 84
9t. Eli Manning 75
9t. Ben Roethlisberger 75
11. Carson Palmer 69
12. Philip Rivers 52
13. David Garrard 50
14. Tony Romo 43
15. Jay Cutler 41
16. Jason Campbell 40
17. Kyle Orton 37
18t. Derek Anderson 28
18t. Matt Schaub 28
20. Trent Edwards 27
21t. Joe Flacco 20
21t. Aaron Rodgers 20
21t. JaMarcus Russell 20
24. Matt Ryan 19
25. Matt Cassell 18
26. Shaun Hill 14
27t. Seneca Wallace 14
27t. Mark Sanchez 4
29. Matthew Stafford 4
30. Kevin Kolb 2
31t. Chad Henne 1
31t. Josh Johnson 1

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 5, 2009; 2:47 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Closing the Nats Season With Two Donkeys


All things being equal it's worrisome. But factor in the ownership shopping JC in the offseason and the offensive (in both sense of the word) struggles of the team, I understand why JC might feel better with some verbal encouragement from his teammates.

Posted by: tundey | October 5, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Jason was terrible yesterday and we won, granted.

But the problem with your logic here (and most jc critics in general) is of the qbs with more experience, that's who Campbell is mostly compared unfavorably against. No one below him, except flacco, Rodgers and Ryan, would I trade straight up. Unless you're suggesting we get rid of him for one of those guys, I'll pass.

Posted by: AdamCr | October 5, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

How ironic that JC stands at 16th on the NFL starts list and 16th on the QB rating list.

With Start Nos. 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 14 ranking behind him.

As they say, you can look it up:

Posted by: WebberDC | October 5, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

How many times must we hear about "poor Jason" being because because he's on some sort of metaphorical leash -- or listen to the patronizing chattering about his fragile psyche and the unconditional support of his teammates?

And then we're asked to look beyond the multiple picks and fumbles when he is "unleashed" as if they are some sort of aberation -- when in fact, it's about as good an indication as any why they must "keep it simple, stupid" for "poor Jason."

Unfortunately, this mentally and physically challenged excuse for a worthless QB is about as good as he'll ever be and the sooner that he is gone, the better. The ownership knows this already; but the coach continues to dream on... Mr. Mediocre indeed!

Posted by: Vic1 | October 5, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

The explanation above sounds like Campbell is internalizing the lesson of staying medium.

Posted by: dcsween | October 5, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Brett Favre takes a lot of chances. He gets picked a lot. He wins lots of games. Because he takes chances.

Posted by: dcsween | October 5, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I want to Unleash the Fury....thursday. Of course that would mean the Caps would have to stop blowing each team out. What a predicament.

Posted by: fushezzi | October 5, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Its really sad that Collins has 64 more starts than Warner.

What's his record after 40 starts? Bet it isn't that bad compared to some more tenured QB's.

BTW -- Skins fans haven't REALLY rooted for a Redskins quaterback since Sonny ...

Lots of fans hated Joey (the I love Sonny/Billy crowd), no one wanted Doug Williams, Rypien was really disliked and they all won Superbowls.

There is a long list of QB's that have failed to garner the support of the skins fan base.

Jay S. - (who threw 5 picks in both the NFC and AFC championship games) Conklin, Jeff Hostetler, Rich Gannon, John Freiz, Gus F., Schluer, Jeff George, Tony Banks, Shane Mathews, Danny Wooful, Patrick Ramsey, Mark Brunnell .... not that they deserved it in many cases.

The only two decent QB's the skins have had since '91 were Brad Johnson and Trent Green - Johnson was never a star and we lost Green during the ownership change ...

OMG - no wonder we've been middle of the pack for a decade and a half!

So fans should at least give this guy the rest of the season and see what happens ... there are a bunch of other QB's out there who skins fans can boo but not many that have been as classy or that seemed to have as much locker room support as JC.

The past 17 years have proved that multiple times.

Posted by: theclevz | October 5, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse


I couldn't agree more with you.... People assume that if we have a new/different QB that that person will perform better than Soups.... As I've said many times "Be careful what you wish for"....


Posted by: michael_b_clegg | October 5, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Shaun Hill, baby! M-A-R-Y-L-A-N-D, Maryland will win!

Posted by: Lindemann777 | October 6, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Many problems exist on our beloved Skins. I'd say in regards to Campbell its the shuffling of the different offensive coordinators, quarterback coaches, systems etc that has this guy a little messed up. Think about all these other quarterbacks some of you are clamoring for. Most or all of them have been in one system with the same coach, coordinator etc.

Next since Gary Clark retired I don't think we have had a receiver on that side of the field that have provided any production. Is the lack of receiving talent Jason's fault too?

Posted by: TheBeatDontStop | October 6, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

its like we have to keep affirming and defending and excusing. Kinda like the president. Like some greater statement is being made and all the pressures of the suggested percieved negative conitations. there is no shame in trying and failing. your still a good dude you just did not do this job very well but no one owes you anything. JZ is sticking with JC cause he knows what a QB has to go through. Find they can both leave if we dont get results. I am only so patient.

Posted by: Rvf0509 | October 6, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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