Before Cam Newton was an Auburn Tiger, Jason Campbell was an Auburn Tiger. Before Cam Newton won a national title at Auburn, Jason Campbell won a Sugar Bowl… This isn’t going the way that anyone rooting for the Browns on Sunday would want.
Newton was but a twinkle in Auburn’s eye back when Campbell graced the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium from 2001-04. Not yet the Under Armour wearing, scandal ridden Tigers of today, Campbell represented a simpler time in Auburn, Alabama. A time where Russell Athletic still made jerseys for teams that mattered. A time where Auburn still was able to go undefeated in one of the program’s crowning seasons.
That undefeated season was the culmination of a substantial amount of growth for the young Campbell, who struggled mightily early in his college career despite being a highly touted prospect from Mississippi. It led to him being the first round pick of the Washington Redskins in the 2005 NFL Draft. The Redskins were never wildly successful during Campbell’s tenure as the starting quarterback, but as is usually the case, it wasn’t all his fault.
He’s never had a particularly horrible season where it’s looked like he didn’t have a clue what was going on, at least statistically. Brandon Weeden has had two of those types of seasons in his two seasons in the NFL. Campbell is 31 years old and is in his EIGHTH season as a professional. For those who need to be refreshed, Weeden is 30 years old and is in the middle of his SECOND season as a professional.
None of this means that the Browns are actually going to beat the undefeated (?!) Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead on Sunday, but it appears that Campbell has the ability to give them a fighting chance. Hindsight is 20/20, but it’s simply astounding to look back and know how much of a sure thing it was that Weeden was the starter going into this season. We’ve since found out (some have just confirmed) that the 30-year-old sophomore quarterback has no business starting an NFL game.
Brian Hoyer proved this year that if the Browns have a quarterback at the helm that is at least almost competent and can move just a little bit, the offense has a chance to produce enough to get a win. Campbell can certainly move better than Weeden, and one would think that he is more competent after being able to keep a starting job for more than seven weeks during his seven-season career.
I miss Brian Hoyer.
Somehow, it’s exciting that Jason Campbell has just become the Browns’ 20th starting quarterback since the 1999 season. Somehow, it’s terrifying that it’s exciting that Jason Campbell has just become the Browns’ 20th starting quarterback since the 1999 season. We’re going to stick with just the excited part and believe in the mostly asinine theory that even a marginally better quarterback can result in an exponentially better offense.
Fozzy Whittaker is the new kick returner, Chris Ogbonnaya is still the listed fullback and the Jason Campbell era is about to begin. Everything’s fine, right? We’ll all be watching on Sunday.