Tag Archives: Jason Campbell

Jason Campbell on cover of Sports Illustrated

There’s a game after the game in the NFL—former quarterback Bernie Kosar used to call it the fifth quarter—in which the starting QB is supposed to send an upbeat signal to the press and the public. Watching Campbell work the crowd at Redskins Park, you’d think he’d majored in Fifth Quarter at Auburn.

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Need a reason to smile today?

Photo by the Washington Post.

Jason Campbell visited a school in Virginia yesterday for the “NFL’s Take a Player to School Sweepstakes.”

By the end of the assembly Campbell had a group of kids, including Taylor [Dehaven, the winner of the contest], chanting “War Eagle!” for his beloved Auburn University. They in turn made him chant, “Roadrunners!”

Click here to read today’s Washington Post column.

Click here to see the heartwarming video.

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Thom Gossom’s “As I See It” — Tennessee edition

Remember Jason Campbell? Yes! Did you see him this past Sunday handle the Dallas Cowboys, arguably the best team in the NFL? According to the television announcers, Jason, is rapidly becoming one of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks. Why? Coaches have gotten him to adjust his throwing motion. Also according to his coaches, Jason is incredibly bright and is a team player. There’s more. According to an analysis by the NFL announcer on the Washington-Dallas game, “When the quarterback has the confidence of the play caller, it’s amazing how well he can perform.”

Flashback a few years to Campbell as an Auburn sophomore and junior quarterback trying to learn the game. The news reports then, were that Campbell was an erratic passer and couldn’t learn the system. Every mistake he made was magnified. Before long he was battling his competition some guy named Daniel Cobb, and his own self-doubts. It didn’t matter that he had a different offensive coordinator each year. The doubts were created by continual punishment and demotions for every mistake and by not giving him the opportunity to work through his mistakes.

Now, flash forward to Kodi Burns, Chris Todd and the Auburn offense of today. Auburn has scored three offensive touchdowns in the last three games. Two of those games, Kodi Burns didn’t even play. One, LSU, was a close loss where perhaps Burns could have made a difference. The offensive woes (one offensive touchdown) continued against Tennessee this past weekend. Because they get paid big money, I’ll use the words of the analysts on the nationally broadcast Auburn-Tennessee game. On several occasions, the announcers pointed out that the offense was not clicking because Todd is not a runner and because he is injured, his arm is not strong.

“He lobs the ball, shotputs it,” one said.

“You can’t lob the ball down the middle,” countered the other.”

The polite criticism went on.

“If he’s hurt why is he in there?”

“Todd is really struggling.”

“Auburn is having trouble running without Burns.”

“You can’t be a little bit in the spread, It’s like being a little bit pregnant. You can’t hide the quarterback.”

“There are murmurs of discontent.”(referring to the crowd).

“To say it (the offense) is a work in progress is a little bit obvious.”

“It won’t work.”

When Kodi Burns was finally inserted into the game, there was a cheer from the Auburn crowd. A short drive, two missed passes and a missed field goal resulted in excitement from the crowd and the team but no points.

Later Burns was again substituted for Todd to the delight of the crowd. However, the three meaningless plays that were called for Burns did not use his ability. The analyst also picked up on this; ”Kodi Burns was very upset when he came out of the game. Burns seemed to say, ‘If you’re gonna let me play quarterback, let me play quarterback.’

With a final chance to prove himself, Burns did just that by throwing on the run to clinch the first down that sealed the victory. It was not a homerun play but it was a game winner and a play Todd could not have made.

When Auburn decided to go to the spread, the excitement among the Auburn faithful was off the charts. With an offense that was advertised as no huddle, speed against the play clock so as to run more plays, wearing down defenses, scoring in the second and fourth quarters, full of trickery, blah, blah, blah.

But, as of Monday morning we’re back to the same old, same old. Todd has been named the starter for Auburn’s next game against Vanderbilt. I have nothing against Chris Todd. I think he’s being put into a no win situation. He’s not playing well. If he’s injured he shouldn’t be starting. And it’s obvious right now to fans and television announcers that he’s playing in front of a guy who is better than he is. The quarterback position was supposedly so close you could flip a coin. But after starting the first game, and getting injured, Burns is now a distant second in the competition.

Auburn has a good team that could be special and exciting. The rock solid defense has proven on every Saturday but one this fall that it can withstand some offensive mistakes and still come out with a victory. That said; why not go with the guy with the most ability. He learns, gets better, becomes a better passer, and maybe the offense lives up to its promise. Makes sense to me.

Is it personal that Kodi Burns does not play more? Go figure.

Thom’s book Walk-On, My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University, is available in Borders and Walden bookstores, J&M Bookstore and at walkongossom.com


Filed under As I See It by Thom Gossom, Post-Game

Sunday sanctuary sans spread struggles

By J.M. Comer

I’m afraid to commit my thoughts to words, regarding our 2008 Auburn Tigers as this season crawls along. I’m sure it would be a lot like peering into your Kleenex tissue after a sneeze — sure you made it, and it feels good after it is done, but it’s not a pretty sight.

I will say this: 2008 has not been “fun time” for me so far, even with one loss after five games. The only game I have enjoyed watching was our loss. Huh? How is that possible?

How can you brag about Auburn with a straight face at this point in the season?

And how is it that ESPN’s Gameday keeps following us around? (Next stop: Nashville?!?!?)

But I’ve found an escape. An immediate escape to my worried Saturday brow, my gnashing of teeth.

I spend my Sundays with J.C. and his crew. (And it isn’t Jesus Christ and his entourage of 12. Count me among the ranks of the Sunday mid-morning couch heathens.)

The Washington Redskins are winning big games and our Auburn alum are looking great. (And I apologize to those Auburn fans that love the Dallas Cowgirls. This observation probably won’t help you much … you blue-and-silver-T.O.-enabling-cow-pie-kickin’-hole-in-your-stadium losers. Also … HA! HA! HA! *deep breath* AhhhhhhhhHA! HA! HAAAAA!)

Redskins QB Jason Campbell is standing tall in the pocket and throwing laser beams to a wide assortment of weapons zig-zagging across the field.

And he took out the Dallas Cowboys and looked fantastic doing it. But Jason hasn’t had an easy time getting to this point. He has been maligned by Redskins fans after the loss to the New York Giants in the first game of the season. But Jason and his teammates have made slow progress … step by step … to a point where they can overcome obstacles like knocking off an undefeated, cocky Dallas team this past Sunday.

The Redskins are building off their progress. Growing as a team. Trusting one another.

On the defensive side, it appears that fellow Auburn alum Carlos Rogers is coming along as a force in the secondary. Finally. He led the team in tackles and had two big swats (I acknowledge they were close to interference. Close. But. Not. Interference.) covering WR Terrell Owens this past Sunday.

Sometimes … *sigh* … sometimes a coach comes right in and fills a vacuum and connects with his players. And gets his point across and communicates well. His system is solid and he brims with confidence.

(I’m attempting to draw a parallel here with the “offensive guru” and offensive coordinator of the Auburn Tigers, Tony Franklin, and ex-quarterbacks coach of the Seattle Seahawks, now head coach of the Redskins, Jim Zorn. If you can stomach it, please stay with me here.)

Jim Zorn is doing just what I described earlier with the ‘Skins. He seems, at this point, to be aggressive in his call playing. He focuses on finishing games well. He drills his methods (sometimes odd methods) into his players. His players have bought into his philosophy. And Zorn has total trust in the abilities of his athletes (especially Jason Campbell) and has opened up the playbook.

Two points separated Dallas and Washington at the end of the game Sunday. Two points separated Auburn and Tennessee on Saturday.

Jason Campbell and the Redskins are playing to win.

Our Auburn Tigers are playing not to lose.

And that’s just gross. And wrong. And not fun to watch. And probably not fun to play. Or fun to coach for that matter.

I can’t seem to remember the last time I’ve heard a Tiger gushing about Tony Franklin. Maybe I’m not paying enough attention.

I thought Franklin was a teacher and certified salesman of the spread or something. Right now, it’s like the bull is the proprietor of the china and rug shop:

“Welcome to The Big Steer’s China Shoppe! What can I help you with? I see that this vase has caught your attention madam … oh sorry about that. I walked right into that case of rare Star Trek collectible plates I was trying to sell. And it looks like I’ve destroyed another Persian rug with a big ol’ No. 2. *Sigh* Sometimes I regret leaving Wall Street for this place.)

So, for now, I’m getting my football enjoyment, my workweek escape, through the NFL’s Redskins and not the SEC’s True Tigers. And I never, ever thought I’d say that.

Our Auburn Tigers need something to build on. Some feather to put in their hat. Last year, that stepping stone was the win against Vanderbilt at Jordan-Hare. Let’s hope like hell that this Saturday, against a #19 ranked Vanderbilt Commodore team, with the nation watching (I can’t believe it either) that this team can find a way to improve, learn and trust each other.

I’d suggest looking to J.C. for your inspiration.


I just remembered an e-mail that I got last week from Ike, a reader and friend of TWER. Thought you might enjoy this:

On Sunday [Sept. 21, after the LSU game], rather than watching Falcons or Tampa Bay, I went to Buffalo Wild Wings in Auburn to watch the ‘Skins game. They had it up on one TV, and the only other folks watching the ‘Skins game were Al Borges and his little boy. We were all rooting on Campbell. He’s a super nice guy. He was still dressed up in an Auburn sweatshirt and his boy had on an Auburn shirt too.


Filed under General

An Honest Assessment of Nick Saban, Part 1

By J.M. Comer

Nick Saban.


Oops, sorry about that. Back it up. False start! Let’s try it again.

Nick [reverent pause] Saban.


The University of Alabama’s head football coach. Author. Husband. Father. The Lord of Sabanation. The Sabanator. Saint Saban. The $4 million man.

A man of few words and seemingly fewer suits.

But what is a man? Some say it means being prepared to do the right thing, whatever the price. Jeffery Lebowski, co-author of the original Port Huron Statement, jests it takes that and a pair of testicles.

What makes a good coach?

A curtailed look at Nick Saban’s years as a head football coach offers us this information:

* Entering this weekend’s game, his overall coaching record stands at 98-46-1.

* Before becoming head coach this year at Alabama his college coaching stints were at Toledo (1990), Michigan State (1995-99) and LSU (2000-04). As the coach at Michigan State, his record against rival University of Michigan was 2-3. His record at LSU against Auburn was 2-3.

* Saban left LSU in 2004 and took a job with the Miami Dolphins. He coached the Fins to a two-year record of 15-17.

This series of short columns will examine the opinions of those who have taken Nick Saban into the fold and those who have examined his ideas, vision and successes and failures on the football field. These football experts will offer us Auburn Tiger fans an idea of what makes Alabama’s new coach tick. What stirs Saban’s passions? His soul? Does he lie awake at night in fear? Or would his posed restlessness be a product of the anticipation of rewarding days ahead? Days rich with riches and richy richness.

Who is this leader of the Capstone?

In order to get a clear idea, separated from the passions and biases of the college football world, I first decided to try and look at the opinions of fans, media types and coaches in the world of the National Football League. But mostly, this examination should focus on the words of the unbiased fans of the Miami Dolphins and their two-year relationship with Saban. Surely they still view him as a true master of the gridiron.

Nick Saban, in a word or two

“Liar,” said ESPN’s Pat Forde.

“A mediocrity as a coach,” said respected sports journalist Frank DeFord of Sports Illustrated and contributer to National Public Radio.

“Greasy, dishonorable and cowardly,” said Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald.

Hall of Fame Coach Don Sula in an interview agreed that Saban could be described as “a raging fraud.”

These are just four examples of the multitude of glowing terms by respected men in media and the NFL football world.

But what does the average Dolphins fan think of Saban?

Sadly, my search quickly was ended by the exuberant language of Dolphins fans, which cannot be properly displayed on this family Web site. But we at The War Eagle Reader will try to cultivate a civil representation of their words in some fashion before our two-week celebration of all things Iron Bowl draws to a close.

The eye of the eagle sees all!

War Eagle, dear reader!

A side note: Two reasons to watch football this Sunday

1) Redskins QB Jason Campbell will lead his tribe into Dallas-Arlington-whatever to play the Cowgirls. It could get ugly. Or, or! our boy J-Cam could lead his team to glorious victory in the face of overwhelming odds.

2) Brodie Croyle will start for the Kansas City Chiefs this week against the … wait for it … Indianapolis Colts. I, for one, plan to wear my Roman toga and drink my Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA from a gold cup. Croyle will be thrown to the wolves for my pleasure.

“Wight! Take him away! I want him fighting wild, wabid animals within a week!”


Filed under Diversions / Investigations, Pre-game Notes, Tigers in the NFL