FanPost

More on the Backup QB Situation

[editor's note, by Skin Patrol] Speculation abounds over our strange backup QB situation. I promoted this diary because it is the first coherent, plausible explanation that doesn't require me second guessing our coach. Great diary, BandG.

I wanted to expand on Skin Patrol's earlier post about who would fill in under center if Mark Brunnell gets hurt, or should Joe Gibbs find him unable to perform.  This is a particularly important decision for Coach Gibbs since neither case is terribly unlikely, which is why many of us are scratching our heads at his decision.  As Skin Patrol notes, The Washington Times reported the following:

Scenario A: If Mark Brunell goes down during a game, veteran Todd Collins will be the reliever.

Scenario B: If Brunell gets hurt and can't play the next week, second-year player Jason Campbell will be the starter.

If this sounds strange, that's because it is definitely unusual: "Gibbs said it is the first time he has used such a system."  So the obvious question is why devise such a scheme?  I'll get to that in a bit, but let me first address the much more important issue: the starting quarterback position.

It's no secret that the Redskins passing game suffered towards the end of last year's regular season and into the playoffs, and Brunell has not looked sharp this preseason.  Furthermore, if Jason Campbell's band of second- and third-string receivers had caught a couple more of his passes, we would have a full-blown QB controversy on our hands.  That didn't happen, so we are left with a starter with dubious credentials and a bubbling question: when will Campbell take over?  Gibbs' announcement yesterday effectively shifted the focus to the backup quarterback controversy between Campbell and Todd Collins (New axiom: a player cannot be a involved in both a backup QB and starting QB controversy).

With this decision, the Redskins reiterated their confidence in Brunell as the starter, but also recognized that Campbell is their (second) best chance of winning.  So why is Collins a part of the equation?  Quite simply, a game plan designed for Brunell would fit Collins much better than it would Campbell.  Another bonus: this arrangement will allow Campbell to focus all of his energy on learning the game and on his fundamentals, without wasting week after week studying Al Saunders' nightmarishly complicated game plans - plans that he will not be a part of.

There's no shame in being the guy with the clipboard on game day, and Campbell will certainly get his chance if Brunell flounders.  And there's always the off-chance that Gibbs abandons Brunell as he did Patrick Ramsey last season.