Wednesday, October 20, 2010

McNabb = Campbell + 7 Years of Wear and Tear

Dan Steinberg writes for the Washington Post and writes a blog. He has a blog post today that highlights almost everything that I have been saying about the Campbell/McNabb "swap" since day one. What Stienberg does not say is that the Redskins basically swapped a young quarterback for an old quarterback who has historically performed as well as the young one at the same points in their careers.

We can talk all day about the leadership that McNabb brings to the table if you would like. The only leadership skills that are important in the NFL are the ones that put games in the win column, not taking responsibility for the team's shortcomings in front of the press.


Donovan McNabb got the ball at his own 38 yard-line on Sunday, with more than two minutes on the clock and three timeouts in his pocket, needing perhaps 30 yards to be in field-goal range. That didn't happen. Instead, the Redskins went 5-yard completion, sack, incompletion, incompletion. Not to go down this road for the millionth time, but I think we all know what the reaction would have been had No. 17 been responsible for that particular drive.

Now, as a card-carrying member of the Jason Campbell Haters Club, I was happy enough to meticulously run through Campbell's performance in clutch situations last season. (And I love Jason Campbell the guy, I just sided with many of his football critics.)

Looking at situations where Campbell got the ball back in tied games or down by one score with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter or in overtime, I found that Campbell was 44-for-86 for 584 yards and two touchdowns in 17 applicable games, not counting spikes and times he got the ball back with virtually no time left. He also had four interceptions, was sacked five times, and fumbled three times. That was good for a 61.4 rating. The Redskins were 4-13 in those games.

McNabb has already had seven chances at such drives with the Redskins, spread out over three games. The seven drives have produced two field goals, one missed field goal, one interception, two punts, and one turnover on downs.

McNabb's numbers in those drives have been, I dare say, Campbellian: 14-22 for 135 yards, with an interception and three sacks. The QB rating? Try a nearly identical 61.7. The Redskins are 1-2 in these games, rallying to beat the Packers while failing to come up in the clutch against the Texans or the Colts.

Krem's Sports also compared McNabb through six games this season to Campbell through six games last season. Might as well add Campbell through six games in 2008, too.

McNabb '10: 78.8 QB rating, 58.1 completion percentage, 1,561 yards, 5 TD, 5 INT, 0 fumbles lost, 3-3 record

Campbell '09: 82.9 QB rating, 65.6 completion percentage, 1,197 yards, 6 TD, 6 INT, 2 fumbles lost, 2-4 record

Campbell '08: 96.2 QB rating, 64.2 completion percentage, 1,262 yards, 6 TD, 0 INT, 0 fumbles lost, 4-2 record

Now I'll go ahead and quote Matt Kremnitzer, who exactly nailed my (Steinberg's) feelings:

I am in no way trying to say that I'd rather have Campbell as the quarterback of the Redskins than McNabb. McNabb simply brings things to the table that Campbell never will: better pocket presence, a quicker release, the ability to create plays, and being better at throwing deep passes. Simply put, McNabb's career numbers dwarf Campbell's, and McNabb is unquestionably the better quarterback -- not exactly a stunning statement. Still, the Redskins need McNabb to play much better than he has, meaning that he needs to do a better job of hitting open receivers and completing a higher percentage of his passes.

That seems like an accurate paragraph.

(And yes, this headline was just a cheap ploy to get angry comments.)

By Dan Steinberg October 19, 2010; 2:24 PM ET

The only argument I have with Kremnitzer is that it is unfair to compare the career numbers of two quarterbacks with a difference of seven years of experience. Compare them at similar points in their careers and you will find that Campbell actually has better numbers and he played for a team with less offensive talent than the Eagles had.


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