Update [2006-11-13 17:31:8 by Skin Patrol]: Confirmation per this article.
Update [2006-11-13 17:5:57 by Skin Patrol]: Joe Gibbs just announced a change at QB. Jason Campbell will start for the Washington Redskins this coming Sunday, backed up by Brunell, backed up by Collins. The link for the press conference is here. Click "LIVE Broadcast: Watch Now".
Perhaps it was time October 15th when we lost to the then 0-5 Tennessee Titans. If not then, surely it was time in the final quarter of the Colts game, where we hopelessly flailed through the final minutes of the game with Mark Brunell, chasing nothing.
And now there should be little debate as to who the quarterback in Washington needs to be pronto. Jason Campbell should immediately take over offensive duties for Mark Brunell.
First, let's partition out some blame. Claming that JC deserves the start over Brunell is not an attempt by me to ignore the multitude of faults on this football team. The QB does not play defense, does not give up big passing plays, does not fail to stop the run, does not fail to place pressure on an opposing QB. Mark Brunell is not to fault for Nick Novak's missed field goals (although his intentional grounding did take us out of range yesterday) or Derrick Frost's punts.
What we know is that a very poor Redskins defense held the best offense in the league to 21 points, or over a field goal less than they've averaged all season. We know the defense did all that despite a freak fumble that ultimately went for a touchdown, and despite a potential fumble call on the two yard line going the other way. This defense was outplayed, but it was not routed.
Offensively we scored 3 points, which is exactly how many points this offense scored against Dallas at Texas Stadium, and the New York Football Giants.
What we know about this football team is that it's barely a 3 win team. By all indications we could more easily have been 1-8 given a Jacksonville OT coin flip or Dallas successfully kicking a field goal that is likely a 90% success rate play. Despite all that, the Redskisn approach the QB decision as if changing the person under center is equivalent to giving up on this season. But what are we giving up on? A 3-6 team that, by all indications, couldn't win 7 games a year let alone the next 7 we'd need to win for a Wildcard spot?
The only decision that is correspondent to "giving up" is refusing to make the changes necessary towards winning. Repeatedly throwing this offense into games against quality opponents with Mark Brunell is simply refusing to acknowledge that the season has already gone horribly, depressingly sour. Whatever we might hope for as fans -- a 7 win stretch to carry us into the playoffs for instance -- is simply untenable. Or at least untenable given the current personnel.
Despite all the criticisms the 700 page playbook has received, has there been any doubt that much of it is mute not because of conceptual fault but because it cannot possibly account for endless dumpout passes to running backs in the flats? Can Mark Brunell accurately throw the ball down the field far enough to make the 700 pages work?
We have an amazingly talented offense. Santana Moss, who was hampered by injury this Sunday, is still one of the best receivers in the league. Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle-El have not shined this year, but they haven't been given many opportunities to do so either. Ladell Betts, our backup running back, is 2 receptions short of Lloyd and ARE's combined total.
How can a passing offense with Moss, ARE, Lloyd, and Chris Cooley be ranked 22nd in the league? Our rushing offense has been outstanding. Despite playing so many games from behind, the Redskins are 8th in Rushing Yards Per Game and 6th in YPC. How on earth can such a talented offense, with such a respectable run game, average a miserable 4.1 yards per pass against Philly?
At the end of last year if you had told me that the Redskins would be 30th ranked defense and the 22nd ranked passing offense in the league, I would've been more shocked by the former. But our cellar dwelling defensively is at least attributable to a profusion of causes. Injuries, combined with poor personnel decisions (we would have been better off with Ryan Clark than Adam Archuleta) have turned a stalwart defense into a very bad one. But there is no magic pill to cure our entire defense; replacing Warrick Holdman with Rocky McIntosh will not instantly transform this into the 2005 defense.
But where we've seen positional downgrades on defense we've seen the exact opposite on offense. Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle-El are unquestionable talent upgrades over the people they replaced. No one, offensively, became so old over the course of last year to decline significantly (well, maybe one person did). Al Saunders has achieved more success with less tools elsewhere. Given the state of change on this team perhaps the 22nd ranked passing defense is both more shocking and unacceptable than our dismal defense.
All of which points clearly and unequivocally to one thing; Mark Brunell cannot lead this offense. One must wonder what on earth it would take for Brunell to be successful again. What receivers could Redskins fans realistically expect to have? If he cannot succeed with so much talent at our skill positions, who could he succeed with?
Enter Jason Campbell. He has an arm, and the legs to make plays when the pocket breaks down and to stand firm and deliver when it doesn't. He can put the ball places on the field Brunell is either incapable or unwilling to throw to. His mere presence increases drastically the amount of offensive options we have on any given down as teams are forced to defend against more than just the run and the dump pass.
We have just seven games remaining on this schedule and will need to win each one of them to make the postseason (which is essentially a pipe dream at this point). Refusing to shake up this team is commensurate with giving up on the season, and the fans. There is exactly one position on a football team whereas a dramatic shift can permeate the entire team's performance and transform a losing attitude into a winning one.
Either admit that you made a horrible decision in bringing Jason Campbell to this football team or give the kid a chance to operate one of the most talented and well coached offenses in the National Football League. If Jason Campbell's time isn't now it is never and we all might as well prepare ourselves for Mark Brunell/Todd Collins in 2007.
It is time. Give us Jason Campbell.