Jason Campbell isn't just a pretty face on the cover of Sports Illustrated; he's also the focus of a Peter King profile inside. It pretty well covers the ground of the QB that Skins fans either seem to love or hate, showing both the good and the bad.
There's no doubt that there are fewer players with more pressure on them next season than Campbell. He's in the last year of his contract under an impatient owner who openly wooed a number of other QB options in the offseason. Another 8-8 season, and JC's on his way to Oakland or Tampa.
The SI article relays some of the criticism JC faces:
"The knock on Campbell has been his conservative decision-making; he knows he's going to have to be bolder. 'I don't like how few chances he takes in a business where quarterbacks have to take a few,' says an opposing coach."
Coming of age under an INT-averse Joe Gibbs and with Mark Brunell -- whose favorite play was the 1-yard dump-off at the running back's feet -- it's no wonder conservatism reins with Campbell. It's all he's ever learned.
Why go deep? Only bad things happen when you go deep -- especially with a banged-up Moss and a collection of slow-moving stiffs running down the field.
Even with some bad decisions, the article points out (correctly), that it's not all Campbell's fault.
If you're properly apportioning blame, give a huge chunk of credit to the offensive line.
"To illustrate the trials Campbell went through, especially late in the season when his offensive line was beaten to a pulp, Zorn showed his team a series of time-lapse photos of Campbell and the Ravens' Joe Flacco dropping in the pocket and setting up to throw. The images showed the rookie Flacco with at least three yards of space in all directions as he released; Campbell looked as if he was trying to throw in a phone booth."
Worse, King gets Zorn to admit that the team, especially in that second half, wasn't able to call slow-developing plays downfield because the line wouldn't be able to protect him.
So instead Skins fans got a lot of dinks and dunks and mid-range touch passes, some of which worked. Many of which didn't.
For Campbell to succeed -- and for the team to reach its potential -- the line's going to have to hold, and JC's going to have to condition himself to lob the ball downfield and to try for the big play.
If it works, great. If it doesn't, well, he's out of here anyway.