So, let’s get this straight: he is a rookie quarterback yet to take a regulation snap in the NFL. His team is 3-6 and praying its playoff hopes don’t head to Cancun for Christmas.
Somehow, he knows that opposing defenses are going to bring the corner blitz, the safety blitz and the blitz blitz.
Somehow, he’s sure, they are going to attempt to pressure him to the point where every snap is a life and death situation.
And under those typical circumstances, everyone should expect new Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell, promoted to the starting lineup after the benching of Mark Brunell, to look and play like a chump.
Yet, for some bizarre reason, Campbell isn’t too worried. Nor are the Redskins.
Could it be because the Skins like their chances with Campbell against the Bucs?
Ouch, now that hurts.
“I think I can help stretch the field with those down-field throws,” Campbell told reporters in Washington. “The more I play, the more comfortable I’ll get, and the better I’ll become from week to week.”
Maybe Campbell, who the Redskins traded three picks in order to move up to draft, has some of the supreme confidence-soon-to-become humility that first-year starters have.
Maybe Campbell is one of those one-in-a-million guys who can pretend to be at ease publicly, while his stomach is a Universal Studios ride privately.
Or just maybe Campbell has DirectTV and has looked at film of the Bucs defense and decided to go home early to watch the rest of Survivor.
“What we’re going to do is give Jason every opportunity,” Gibbs said. “When we drafted him we felt like we had a very talented person. Certainly, when we give him the starting job, we are going to do everything we can to support him. Hopefully, it’ll be something that he takes and makes the most of. He spent a year and a half preparing for this.”
That’s coach speak for “we like our chances.”
“When you’re a backup, you have a lot of time to study,” Bucs defensive end Dewayne White said. “We expect him to play like a veteran. We’re going to give him that respect until he proves us wrong.”
Man, there were times when the concept of starting a rookie quarterback against the Bucs defense was as insane as joining the Taliban.
Sure, some teams had to do it. But they weren’t doing it to inject new life into their team. Their teams were already dead.
Not any more.
Maybe, just maybe, the ‘Skins have taken a gander at the injury list and figured out that with Simeon Rice and Ellis Wyms questionable, Shelton Quarles banged up and Brian Kelly out of the picture, they like Campbell’s chances of completing balls on a secondary that has played wretched all year.
But what really makes matters worse is that the ‘Skins appear set to unleash the unproven one at a time when their running game is also down under.
This is all you need to know: Clinton Portis is out with a broken hand and the ‘Skins are going with Campbell. Either Brunell is horrible, or Gibbs thinks his rookie can play and gain some confidence Sunday.
Which is it?
"Jason is a hard worker," Gibbs said. "He cares a lot about it. He was here for a long time (Wednesday) studying and taking notes.”
If you’re the coach, do you bench your veteran for a rookie quarterback against the Bears or the Ravens? What about against the Patriots or the Broncos?
But against the Bucs? Well, what the heck?
“It’s a challenge,” cornerback Juran Bolden said. “No one wants to get a rookie come in and showcase his talent against you, so you just kind of lick your chops. You just want to get out there and compete hard against that guy to induct him into the NFL.”
Careful what you ask for.