Winning is important but not necessarily moreso than great facial hair. Despite not having done much of the former, Jason Campbell is accumulating the kind of effusive, gushing praise that gets me all riled up despite not being all riled up because Football Season is many moons away. Per the Times per The Steinberg (a media institution unto himself):
"Every time I look over my shoulder, Jason's here," said Saunders, who worked with Campbell three hours a day, three days a week leading up to the players' first days back on the field this week. "He's making progress. He's a wonderful kid to work with. He's extremely bright and has worked extremely hard on his techniques and fundamentals [with] a lot of film work, a lot of board work and a lot of understanding of what we are doing from a schematic standpoint."
Master4Caster piles it on with some additional man-love from Redskins.com as well as some quotes from a Comcast interview per Mike Sellers and Clinton Portis, below:
"You can tell the growth and maturity he's had." ~~ Clinton Portis
This is what makes a man. I think this is his actual profile picture at NFL.com.
What a nice contrast this heaping of praise is to the muted words offered around this time last year, combined with decisive action against the young man. For instance, how confident were we in JC when the team inexplicably made him the backup QB to backup QB Todd Collins? Or Michael Wilbon's September determination: "Jason Campbell might very well be the quarterback of the future, but there was nothing about his preseason performance that would lead any savvy observer to suggest the kid should be a starter this season." [Ed. Note: He followed that with a November article titled If You Don't Play the Kid, How Do You Know He Can Play? Because that's what you told us, Michael.]
Not that the recent panegyric surprises me. I've been selling JC (and his glorious facial hair) as the heir apparent of the Saunders' offense for months. I love this guy. I treat Football Outsiders as Holy Bible and they also love this guy. This is how those stat nerds express their tenderness for Campbell:
Perhaps I should temper my preseason adoration of Campbell -- and by proxy the Redskins -- given last year's debacle. Expectations soared to unreasonable proportions and Mark Brunell has the floor:
But the word on Campbell isn't nearly as discouraging or mentally anguishing given that it is individual unreasonable praise being heaped and not the kind that provides false hope. Hogs Haven happily welcomes ebullient praise of Jason Campbell comforted against a fall-from-grace in the knowledge that JC just wouldn't do that to us, man. Afterall, he has a killer mustache.