Chris Cooley on Jason Campbell
Washington Redskin tight end Chris Cooley was the guest host on NFL Total Access yesterday, so naturally Rich Eisen and company queried Chris on Jason Campbell.
Captain Chaos minced no words in backing his quarterback:
"Jason Campbell is the leader of our team. All the guys look up to him. He's the captain of our football team. And when he finally stood up and said 'hey listen, if you're not going to make me the quarterback, we're going to have problems,' a lot of guys liked what he said.
"We are going to rally around him. I was proud of the way he came into minicamp and really established what I thought was a good leadership position.
"And maybe it took a little bit to light a fire under Jason to say 'he listen, this is my team and I'm going to get it done.'
"He's our guy. He's had an outstanding minicamp and first OTAs' and we look forward to an outstanding season with him."
Rich Eisen wondered aloud if Campbell is really Jim Zorn's guy. Campbell was drafted by Joe Gibbs for a Downfield Offense.
Cooley reminded that the intent of hiring Zorn as offensive coordinator was to work with Campbell. Cooley says that Zorn and Campbell have had a lot of good talks with Zorn saying "Hey you're our guy. We want to win with you."
The Skins may have dodged a bullet with their quarterback situation. It seems the guys on the field have a higher regard for Jason Campbell than the people running the team.
The players without question would have rallied around Jay Cutler or Mark Sanchez if only to get the job done. But Cooley's remarks hint at the locker room disruption that would have ensued from a swap of the quarterback.
The situation is reminiscent of the loss of Ryan Clark in 2006. The Redskins felt they were on the verge of a Super Bowl run and went all out to bring in key players to put them over the top. To make room for Adam Archuletta, they released journeyman safety Clark.
Clark's skills were average, but he was a serviceable defensive back. In the post-mortem of the disastrous '06 season, it was found that Ryan Clark's contribution to the defense, his reads and reset of coverage, transcended his individual play. He also played pass coverage better than Archuletta.
Ryan Clark is the starting safety of the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Washington has not made it to the big dance in Daniel Snyder's ownership. Archuletta is out of football.
There's a lesson in there somewhere when it comes to Jason Campbell.
Chris Cooley appears on NFL Total Access on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 12 and 13, on the NFL Network.
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