- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The rookie quarterbacks looked good this week: Vince Young of the Titans and Bruce Gradkowski of the Buccaneers led their teams to victory, and Matt Leinart played well enough to win in a heartbreaking loss for the Cardinals.

Sophomores Alex Smith (49ers), Charlie Frye (Browns) and Andrew Walter (Raiders) run their team’s offenses, albeit with marginal results.

And each of the members of the first-round quarterback class of 2004 — the Giants’ Eli Manning, the Chargers’ Philip Rivers, the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and the Bills’ J.P. Losman — holds a firm grasp on a job as a starter.

Jason Campbell, meanwhile, continues to wait. And wait and wait. Campbell now is 22 games into his NFL career and still has not taken a snap, much less completed a pass, for the Redskins.

“Just running the scout team,” Campbell said the other day in the locker room. “After practice, we run through the [game plan] so I can throw to the receivers.”

Campbell can take all the work he wants during and after practice, but it’s impossible to gauge his progress. The only way to know whether he’s the guy to lead the Redskins into the next decade is by putting him into a game.

The fans at FedEx Field on Sunday made it clear that’s what they want. Sure, as coach Joe Gibbs often says, the No. 2 or 3 quarterback is No. 1 in the fans’ eyes.

But the Redskins are 2-4 and Mark Brunell looks every bit of his 36 years, so many fans want the quarterback of the future to play now — even if it means sacrificing the rest of a season that appears to be going nowhere even if the Redskins upset the Colts on Sunday.

The case for Campbell

1. Experience the growing pains now

This depends upon the Redskins losing to Indianapolis on Sunday.

If they lose, Gibbs should announce Campbell as his new starter during Monday’s press conference, a decision that would allow him 13 days, including the bye week, to prepare for the Nov. 5 game against the Cowboys at FedEx Field.

The Titans and Cardinals took this approach earlier this month, deciding to go with Young and Leinart. Those moves likely won’t pay off with a lot of victories immediately, but the Titans and Cardinals will be better off next September for making the changes now.

If Campbell makes nine starts this season — including four road games — he’ll be better prepared for next year. And a Week 1 start next year — who knows, it could be in an NFC East road game — would be a tougher spot to make an NFL debut than midway through an already lost season.

2. Find out if he’s the guy

Story Continues →