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JC - Beyond The Numbers

I'm a stats guy. I admit it. If you read my stuff you've probably already made that determination.

But I'm no Moneyball freakazoid. I'm a scout guy, also. An "eye" guy if you will. What you see means something, no matter what's in the box score.
And after reading all of the JC comments the last few days, and the calls from some bemoaning his numbers Sunday, I have to call a timeout here.

The kid looks like a winner. He plays like a winner. Everything that can't be quantified, he seems to have in bunches.

Now, I agree, it 's unfair to the young man and downright silly to get too carried away with what he has accomplished in two weeks. We can't make projections based on that. The future is still very much in the air. But to try to gauge what he has done in two games as anything less than overwhelmingly positive, I feel, is patently unfair.

Let's throw out the first game, because honestly, even the biggest Brunell guy would have to conceded the kid had a pretty flawless debut. Break downt he numbers from the Tampa game anyway you like, and Campbell still comes out with a highly effective outing.

Which brings us to Start No. 2. I've read the arguments about his 11-for-23 completion percentage, some balls he floated, the obvious interception, the fact he had scant passing yards before connecting with Cooley on a perfectly-thrown, game-winning 66-yard TD strike in the dying minutes of the game. I'll repeat that last clause in case some of you missed it: PERFECTLY THROWN, GAME-WINNING 66-YARD TD STRIKE.

Let's not nitpick.

Yes, Jason's accuracy was off. Guess what, same thing's been happening to Eli Manning and Mike Vick all season, and they were drafted even higher and have a 3-4 year head start on JC. Patrick Ramsey was still flinging the ball hopefully when he left town. It's part of the deal with a young QB, and given what Jason has shown I think you have to give him the benefit of the doubt that he will continue to get better with time. He's a hard worker who cares deeply about all of this and honestly is not wrapped up in his numbers at all.

So, yeah, there are going to be more days like that to come.

Butchaknowwhat? There are going to be more fourth-quarter rallies to come as well. The kid has lifted a moribund offense in the second half for two straight weeks against decent defenses, and given his team every chance to win games despite their current plight. Let's remember, there is no Clinton Portis for opponents to worry about and when Santana Moss finally did play against Carolina, he was clearly hobbled and not near his usual self due to the hamstring. Then you have Lloyd and Randle El, who have yet to be a factor in this offense consistently for a single game.

So Campbell gets it done with the tight ends. No shame in his game.

This is an offense that appeared downright hopeless much of this season. And now, sans Portis and (essentially) Moss, it is finally scoring third quarter TDs again and there is a threat that at any moment some kind of big play could turn things (don't forget about Lloyd's drop on Campbell's first pass as a pro). There is some resiliency there.

And for a novice QB to be a part of that - for him to be commanding the huddle of a slumping team that appeared on the verge of implosion - and getting results as well, to me, is what it's all about as you look forward. For him to go 53 passes before really putting one up for grabs. For him to already look the part of a leader. For him to have twice shown remarkable poise around the goal line and get the team in the end zone on third down. For him to have thrown 4 TDs to 1 INT?

You can't hate on that, peeps.

Come on. Give the kid a chance.

What were you expecting from his first home start with 85,000 people waiting breathlessly to see him live for the first time: 24-27 for 261 with one TD and no INTS? (Remember that line?). Trust me, he will have games much worse than what he did against Carolina. But if even when he's having an off day and manages to give his team a shot at a W - like a starting pitcher without his best stuff who stays on the mound through the 7th inning of a tight game while getting beat around a bit to save a worn out bullpen (Billy Beane, please invent a stat for that) - let's not be too harsh.

Even Coach Joe is borderline raving about him now. The experiment has been a success so far, and to couch it as anything less is irrational.

RANDOMS: I already was starting to worry about my mental health, then I had a dream last night about trying to get tickets to a Quiet Riot/Twisted Sister concert, and was being chased all over Baltimore by Dee Snyder. I really wish I was making this up. Is there a doctor in the house? ... Weekly obscure music suggestions:

Skatalites "Stretching Out" - If you have ever felt goosebumps listening to jazz. If you have ever been moved by Bob Marley. If you have any strong feelings about music whatsoever - you must own this CD. You can not trace back the origins of ska or reggae without landing in Jamaica in 1963 with these bad mamabajambas bringing the heat. I saw them live probably 10 years ago - when the Skatalites had to be pushing 70 - and it was one of the, if not the, greatest musical experience of my life. This disc was recorded live in 1983 at a reunion show, and runs like 90 minutes. It is free form, with some mind-blowing solos, and a sick rock-steady groove throughout. Forget downloads. OWN THIS ALBUM!

Refused "Shape Of Punk To Come" - The title says it all. They pretty much nailed it. Any metal/punk to come out in the last eight years stole something from these guys. Head-banging Swedes who actually played their final, spontaneous show in our backyard. They broke up mid-tour in like 1999, could only get flights back to Sweden from Regan National Airport, and played a final show in a dude's basement near JMU. Like 500 people showed up, cops had to literally shut it down. Near riot. The only way for these guys to go out. Hardcore to the bone.

Res "How I Do" - One of the best R&B albums to come out in the the 10 years that go virtually no attention from the media. Excellent lyrics, far beyond the trite stuff you hear on mainstream radio. Infectious beats. She even rocks out pretty hard on a few cuts. Download "Golden Boys" - a screed against Will Smith that has a sick jungle beat and killer chorus - and if you dig it, check out the entire disc. It's worth it.

Operation Ivy "Energy" - Any of you kids out there who like Rancid or god forbid, Good Charlotte (I feel a lil sick just writing that), please tell you have his this CD already. This is where a movement began that, alas, has gone awry. The energy of Minor Threat with the spirit of reggae. It's a classic. Try "Bad Town" "Gonna Find You" "Junkie's Running Dry." This album has something like 30 tunes on it. Plenty of goodness for everyone.

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 29, 2006; 11:37 AM ET
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Next: JC - The High School Years

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