Chicago Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler left the Week 10 matchup against the Texans at halftime with a concussion. Jason Campbell was signed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract in the offseason exactly for these situations, except he didn't come through.
Campbell has extensive starting-quarterback experience in this league. He has started 70 games in his career and has won 31 with the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders. However, he looked like a quarterback who never played a down in the NFL Sunday night against the Texans.
The weather was poor, but Campbell still managed to throw 19 passes, completing 11 of them. The problem is, with that many pass attempts and completions, he only got 94 yards out of it—good for an average of 4.9 yards per attempt.
If you look at the numbers, Campbell was more successful than Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub, who had 40 yards and 95 yards through the air respectively. Where Campbell failed was in his inability to move the football down the field.
There were many instances where Brandon Marshall was downfield in single coverage and Earl Bennett was across the middle wide-open. Campbell just looked tentative in throwing the football and opted for the safer checkdown too many times.
He was able to shake off any apprehension he had and threw a terrific pass to Brandon Marshall for 45 yards. It was by far the best ball thrown that night by any quarterback.
It was obvious Campbell was playing it safe. He attempted only two passes that traveled 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. He also had a tough time picking up the blitz, completing only three of 10 passes when the Texans brought pressure.
Look, it is tough for any quarterback to come in halfway through the game in bad weather elements against a very good football team. Confidence and preparation will be the key for Campbell should he get the start against the San Francisco 49ers.
It will be vital for Mike Tice to put Campbell in comfortable situations. Three-step drops to get him in a rhythm will be ideal, especially against an aggressive 49ers defense. He still has the ability to be a successful quarterback and a fully capable backup.
Things could be a lot worse, Bears fans; it could still be Caleb Hanie.