Jason Campbell and The Beastly Quarterbacks

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Jason Campbell and The Beastly Quarterbacks
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The only certainty about the Washington Redskins' upcoming season is that Daniel Snyder is disenchanted with his quarterback, Jason Campbell.

 

Campbell finished the 2008 season ranked 19th in passing yards, sandwiched between Carolina’s Jake Delhomme and Jacksonville’s David Garrard.

 

That was enough to drive Redskin owner Daniel Snyder mad…for Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez, both of whom would have single-handedly overcome late season breakdowns on the offensive line and the slow development of rookie wide receivers. Apparently.

 

Washington’s maneuvers raise a question. How does Jason Campbell compare to other NFC East quarterbacks at the same point in their development?

 

Mark him down for third place.

 

Campbell has started 36 games. In 2008, he completed 62.3 percent of his passes, with 6.4 yards per completion. He threw 13 touchdowns and six interceptions for an 84.3 QB rating. He has a 16-20 record as a starter.

 

Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb started his 36th game during the 2001 season. In that season, McNabb completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 6.6 yards per attempt. McNabb threw 25 TD passes and 12 interceptions for an 84.3 QB rating. He was 24-14 as a starter by the end of the season.   

 

Tony Romo has started 39 games for the Dallas Cowboys. His 61.3 percent completion rate for 2008 extends a three year decline in performance since 2006. His 7.7 yards per attempt, while impressive, also marks a steady decline from his 2006 high (8.6 Y/A). Romo threw 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions for a 91.4 QB rating. He is 27-12 as a starter.

 

Eli Manning started his 36th game for the New York Giants in 2006. In that season, he completed 57.7 percent of his passes for 6.2 yards per attempt. Manning tossed 24 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions for a 77.0 QB rating. Manning did not complete over 60 percent of his passes, or exceed a QB rating of 80, until the 2008 season. By the end of the 2006 season, Manning was 20-19.

 

Donovan McNabb benefited from the stability of a strong coaching staff and a powerhouse team in 2001. Eli Manning also benefited from a stable coaching staff. His biggest coaching adjustment came in 2006, when his quarterback coach, Kevin Gilbride, was named offensive coordinator under head coach Tom Coughlin.

 

Tony Romo won the starting job when head coach Bill Parcells finally tired of veteran Drew Bledsoe. When Parcells left the Cowboys in 2007, owner Jerry Jones tailored the entire offense, from talent to coaching, around Tony Romo.

 

Jason Campbell famously never had consecutive years in the same offense under the same offensive coordinator until this year. Teams making the changes that Washington did from 2006 to 2008 seek stability with a veteran quarterback. Washington’s turmoil defeated Mark Brunell. Jason Campbell got his start in the depths of a ruinous 2006 season.

 

His development tracks with Eli Manning, except for throwing touchdowns. Jason Campbell’s paltry touchdown production opens the door to Daniel Snyder’s dissatisfaction. A normal progression by Campbell this year could lead to 64 percent of passes completed, for 3500 yards, 20 touchdowns, 10 INTs, and a QB rating of 89.0.

 

That performance could make Campbell the third best quarterback in the NFC East. And it won’t satisfy Daniel Snyder.

 

Donovan McNabb enters 2009 as the best of the Beast quarterbacks after Philadelphia’s strong offseason. The Eagles loaded their offensive line with the addition of tackles Stacy Adams and Jason Peters. DeSean Jackson has a year under his belt at wide receiver.

 

The Eagles boosted talent at the position by drafting Jeremy Macklin. Rookie running back LeSean McCoy is expected to supplement Brian Westbrook.

 

Tony Romo is second best on this list. Everyone focuses on the departure of Terrell Owens. Here’s what that really means; the Cowboys will rely less on the passing game and more on its ground attack with Marion Barber and Felix Jones.

 

Beast teams win on the ground in December. Less dependence on Romo will lead to better results for the Cowboys.

 

Eli Manning finally achieved a top tier performance in 2008, but the Giants struggled late without Plaxico Burress. Until New York resolves that issue, the Giants and Manning are question marks going into 2009.

 

For Jason Campbell to lock his place in Washington, or ensure a starting role with his next team, he has to be a top three quarterback. That means he has to throw 30 touchdown passes, regardless of the play of the offensive line or of Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly. Thirty touchdown passes should lead to 10 or 11 wins and a first round playoff bye.  

 

A performance like that would drive teams to offer first round draft picks for Campbell, a development that should please Daniel Snyder.  

 

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