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QB Initials Fight! JC vs. MB

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Not really. But I did want to take a brief statistical look at the differences in pass selection between the two quarterbacks. Post motivated by this Examiner piece that is applauding our new deep pass philosophy (thanks to Jason Campbell). Hat tip: DC Sports Bog.

I wanted to check the numbers to make sure that we really are going deep with anymore statistical significance under Campbell than we were under Brunell. More specifically, I'm testing Campbell's willingness to throw deep vs. Mark Brunell's. Here are the numbers:

Mark Brunell passing splits (numbers are the length the ball travels in the air, not completion):
260 Total Attempts
189 Attempts Behind LOT or 1-10 yards (72% of all passes)
44 Attempts 11-20 yards (17% of all passes)
19 Attempts 21-30 yards (7% of all passes)
7 Attempts 31-40 yards (3% of all passes)
1 Attempt 41+ yards (less than 1% of all passes)

Jason Campbell passing splits:
150 Total Attempts
91 Attempts Behind LOT or 1-10 yards (61% of all passes)
35 Attempts 11-20 yards (23% of all passes)
11 Attempts 21-30 yards (7% of all passes)
6 Attempts 31-40 yards (4% of all passes)
7 Attempts 41+ yards (4.5% of all passes)

This only measure attempts, so it ignores the effectiveness of the passes regardless of distance. But even incompletions thrown deep have an effect on the opposing team's defense. Stacking 8 men in the box is a strategy employed by teams that know the QB cannot or will not throw deep. What I see is that in 9 starts and 260 passes, Mark Brunell threw exactly one pass that traveled 41+ yards. I have to assume that opposing defenses know that fact as well since they gameplan around him. Doesn't that effectively eliminate a gigantic chunk of the field that defensive backs can ignore without consequence?

What I see from Jason Campbell is that, in fewer starts, he's thrown 41+ yards 7 times as often. Whatever else happens on any given Sunday with this Redskins offense, when Jason Campbell is in the game our opponents respect the deep ball because it's a legitimate possibility. When Santana Moss streaks toward the endzone they pay attention.

All of this changes the way they play against the run as well. When the back of your secondary is vulnerable (or at least in play) it makes the decision to stack 8 on line dangerous. Coaches don't want to give up the deep, demoralizing pass play and thus might be reluctant to crowd the line.

All I'm saying is, we're averaging over 150 rushing yards per game in the Jason Campbell era. That's Redskins football.