Its. About. Time.
Now, I want to make it clear that I don’t necessarily think that Brunell was the main problem with the Redskins this season.
But it should be made clear that Brunell is not the solution.
Clearly, the offensive line has taken about three steps backwards this year compared to last. Is it because of the shift from the “ground ‘n pound” style from last year to “run ‘n gun” this year? I dunno. Maybe the flip-flop every two years (Marty = Pound, Spurrier = Finesse, Gibbs/Bugel = Pound, Saunders = Finesse) has hurt these guys, I don’t really know.
The offensive line struggles not only directly pervade the passing game, but indirectly affect it as well due to their inability to effectively rush the ball. How many times do we see the runner have to dodge somebody in the backfield, or get swallowed up at the line?
So what is the net result of this?
- Brunell can’t or won’t step up into the pocket. Samuels and Jansen struggle enough as it is, but when they try and push the speed rushers out wide, what does Brunell do? He fades backward, right into their path. If he could just step up (there is usually room) he could buy himself a little more time.
- Brunell throws off of his back foot. Coincides with the above… Brunell was never a strong-armed QB to begin with and falling backwards while throwing the ball is a recipe for disaster. Half the time he’s throwing off his back foot due to pressure he can’t escape, the other half he’s throwing it off his back foot due to pressure he could have avoided by stepping up.
- Brunell doesn’t throw over the middle. Some have said that he’s scared or incapable of throwing the ball over the middle. Maybe. But I also throw out there that the defense won’t let him throw there. All those linebackers who couldn’t care less about defending the run are flooded in this area. Which of course forces him to throw to the outside. And to the outside he’s limited in how far he can throw it because of his lack of arm strength compounded by his throwing off his back foot.
OK, so how is bringing in Jason Campbell going to help? Well, I’m not sure that the end result will be “better” (altho I hope it will be). I do think it will be different.
- Campbell has shown he will step up in the pocket, and even take off running. Add to this the fact that he’s taller and doesn’t have to worry so much about balls being deflected.
- Campbell has a stronger arm, so if he does get pressure and needs to throw off his back foot, its not as much of a liability.
- Campbell is young and stupid. And thats a good thing. He doesn’t know he’s not supposed to throw into double-coverage. He doesn’t know he’s not supposed to throw it over the middle.
I expect Campbell to make mistakes. I also expect him to take some risks. I expect him to make a bone headed play here and there, and I expect some turnovers as a result. I expect him to stretch the field and get defenders to back off just a little bit. And maybe that little bit will open up a few holes for running backs to get through.
And further more. We spent a crapload of draft picks to get this guy. I want to know if this guy is the real deal, or a bust. If he looks like the second coming of Heath Shuler, I want him out of town over the off-season. Take the first offer you get, I don’t care if they only offer a moldy ham sandwich. Take that ham sandwich and automagically turn it into another 1st round draft pick to get a real QB. And don’t mess it up this time.
I like Brunell, I really do. He’d make a GREAT backup. He could extend his career for another 5 years being the backup. But really, his journey as a starter has to be done. We can’t go any further with him at the helm. Lets see what the new kid can do.