If the Mark Brunnell of 10 years ago had been on the Redskins the last few seasons, I might not be so quick to celebrate seeing him replaced as a starting QB for an NFL team. Sadly though, the last few seasons haven't been that good for Brunnell and he is definitely showing the wear and tear that was heaped on him over his career in the NFL.
Personally, I think Joe Gibbs made a huge mistake bringing Brunnell to the Redskins. He had an adequate starting QB in the form of Patrick Ramsey, but he didn't like Ramsey or at least didn't have enough confidence in him and went out right away to get a seasoned veteran QB that would be at worst a backup, at best the starter. Big mistake. He shook the confidence of Ramsey, who was already perhaps a bit gun-shy because of getting driven to the turf numerous times during Steve Spurrier's reign as coach.
Soon after handing the job to Brunnell, Brunnell got hurt and/or played so poorly that Ramsey had the job again. He started a new winning streak, played well enough that headed into the next season (last year) that he was handed the starting job, but then lost it when he was injured roughly 1 quarter into the new season. Once Brunnell had the job again Gibbs refused to bench him no matter how badly he played. Now, I'm not saying he played horribly, but he never -- I repeat NEVER -- really demonstrated that he still "had it" and could still throw a deep ball.
The off-season passed, Ramsey's cap number was coming up, and the Redskins traded him for whatever they could get. He eventually was sent to the New York Jets for a draft pick that will probably not even result in a useful player for the Redskins. Now he sits on the bench there, waiting for an opportunity to play.
Meanwhile, the Redskins brought in a new offensive coordinator, the offensive genius behind the Kansas City Chiefs. They left Jason Campbell sitting on the bench for another year (or at least started to) and kept the creaky old guy in at QB with the coach still singing his praises and saying it was most definitely not his QB's fault that the team stunk.
What the coach seemed to miss is that the old QB wasn't capable of tossing the ball more than about 5 yards down field. Maybe 10 if lucky, and 20 if you had a few years to wait for the ball to get there. Actually that's not really fair. I did see Brunnell toss a longer pass along the way, but not very many and not very effectively. Much less effectively lately.
Over the course of the season the teams that played the Redskins saw the lack of deep threat and started stacking up against the run and in turn against the short pass. The Redskins Offense became offensive in a bad way. Short plays were all they could complete and generally not even those on a consistent basis.
Well, times are changing quickly in Redskin land. There's a new guy behind the line and he has the arm and legs to boot. He can toss a 30+ yard pass. He can bob and weave and dodge the pass rush. Or at least the fans hope and think he can. We'll see this weekend, and over the rest of the season. Hopefully it's not too little, too late, to actually have something better than a losing season this year. I'm not talking playoffs (insert sound bite of Jim Mora: "Playoffs!?!"), I'm just thinking of preventing a losing record. Anything better than that is gravy.
It could be a very bumpy ride, and I hope it won't be, but I am much more willing to be patient with the new QB than I was with the old one.