I will be doing a position-by-position 2007 Season Review of the Washington Redskins in the coming days/weeks/whenever-I-damn-well-feel-like-it. We'll start with the offense and then move on to the (yikes) defense. Enjoy!
The Washington Redskins began 2007 with Mark Brunell in a (we thought) revamped offense. Surely we were going to improve on a 2005 offense that was good enough to get us to the playoffs but bad enough to embarrass us in front of the world once there.
Not much changed besides the names on the backs of the jerseys. Despite being statistically sound, Mark Brunell was clearly not the answer at quarterback for many fans, myself included. I called for Campbell in mid November (though I'd been intimating as much by October) and was soon placated by news of Jason Campbell's emergence as the starter. After just nine games in 2006, Mark Brunell was replaced by Jason Campbell after a particularly subpar game against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 10.
Jason Campbell took over against the Bucs in week 11 in an encouraging debut where he went 19 of 34 for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns. And there was much rejoicing. I don't want to sugar coat the rest of his performance; which got worse and then steadily improved towards the end of the year. Jason Campbell completed just 53.3% of his passes and went 2-5. Brandon put it best:
Ok so we're both just being downers. Campbell clearly emerged as the starting QB and his play in 2006 was keeping me glued to the television even after we were eliminated from the playoff (I forget what week we were mathematically eliminated from postseason play, but I'm pretty sure it was... last offseason?) contention.
Among all the question marks on this team, quarterback in 2007 is one position where most Redskins fans stand united in support of JC. He is the starter of this team, earned that spot with distinction by reviving our offense towards the end of the year, and given Brunell's recent surgery, even St. Joe will have a hard time cock-blocking him Patrick Ramsey style in 2007. No, Redskins fans, Jason Campbell is Your Starting Quarterback no matter what. (By the way, according to DVOA, Jason Campbell is a better rushing quarterback than Vince Young. Don't shoot the messanger, asshole.)
Our backup QB situation is a bit more complicated. Mark Brunell is set to cost us over 6M in 2007 cap space which is about 4M+ too much for an injured, aging backup QB. The smart thing to do (and I like Mark Brunell) would be to cut him. What the Redskins will probably do instead is restructure his contract so that when we cut him next year we'll still have to pay his outrageous 5.2M base salary.
Behind Brunell is Todd Collins who is under contract through 2007 and a guy I happen to kind of sort of endorse as the backup. He has an understanding of the system, can coach JC, and with the return of the Betts/CP rushing tandem behind an unstoppable zone blocking scheme, might just be able to win us a few games if Campbell has to take a seat. He's also far more cost effective than Mark Brunell. I say, rather than indicting him permanently for a few bad preseason series, we view Collins as the legitimate backup of this team and worry about a third stringer in free agency or day 2 of the draft (next year for all I care).
So what you're saying is... Mark Brunell is out the entire offseason, perhaps some of next season, which apparently means he will remain a Redskin ad infinitum since he can't test the market and we are physically incapable of cutting him. Todd Collins is worth 1.5M as a backup but not as a third stringer. And restructuring Brunell is insane but we'll do it anyways for that precise reason. The good news is that Jason Campbell is young, is the subject of an admitted Skin Patrol Man Crush (did you know he's dating Miss District of Columbia? Curse you, Mercedes Lindsey), and has unlimited (though limited) potential in 2007. As his understanding of the offense improves so will the production of this offense. Hail to Jason Campbell.
2006 Position Grade -- B-
2007 Position Prediction -- B+ to A-