If there’s one thing that Redskin fans are used to, it’s the quarterback controversy. Too many times, with far too many coaches, Washington has what seems to be a love affair with arguing about who their starting quarterback should be. Refreshingly though, that doesn’t seem to be an issue this year. Rookie head coach Jim Zorn seems completely comfortable and confident in starting quarterback Jason Campbell’s adaptation to his west coast offense, and team owner Dan Snyder is finally doing what he does best – staying out of the way of on-field decisions. But Washington may be facing another, yet slightly tamer quarterback fight—this time for the number two spot.
When Jason Campbell went down last December with a dislocated knee cap, many of the Washington faithful were praying that back-up quarterback Todd Collins remembered how to throw the ball. It had been five years since Collins last threw a touchdown pass, and three years since he had attempted a pass in a game. The silence was so solemn at FedEx Field that it brought a much colder chill to the 19 degree Landover, MD evening. After Campbell was carted off the field, the perennial understudy Todd Collins went to work. Collins hurled two TD passes to lead Washington over the deteriorating Chicago Bears 24-16, ending the Redskins' four-game losing streak. Collins went on to lead the Redskins to four straight wins, and losing to Seattle in the first round of the post-season, averaging 231 passing yards per game (surpassing Jason Campbell’s 216 ypg). It was all too clear that in 2008, Todd Collins was the heir apparent should Jason Campbell go down to injury again. And then came Colt Brennan.
The 24 year old out of the University of Hawaii knows exactly what it is like to wait for his turn. At Mater Dei High School in California, he was Matt Leinart’s back-up until Leinart’s graduation. He went on to Hawaii, after a brief stop at University of Colorado, and surpassed almost every NCAA record a quarterback can hold (with the exception of career passing yards). But critics and supporters alike were unsure if his hip-slinging style would translate in the NFL. Last Sunday during the NFL’s annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Brennan proved the skeptics wrong. The sixth round (186th overall) pick went 9 for 10 with two touchdown passes, leading the `Skins to a 30-16 defeat over the Colts. Does this one preseason showing give Collins any reason to worry? It shouldn’t. Does the possible decision to put Brennan at the number two spot keep Jim Zorn up at night? I doubt it. But, two back-ups competing for the number two slot can be a very healthy thing for a team if approached the right way. Barring a serious Jason Campbell injury, I doubt that either Collins or Brennan will see much playing time, but if the occasion does arise, the decision of who to take the next snap is not as easy as it was August 2nd.