"He's a check down king". That' s what Bengals defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry recently said to Geoff Hobson over at Bengals.com when referring to recently-implanted Browns quarterback, Jason Campbell. Some might take that as a slight to the nine-year veteran, but given Campbell's play the past few weeks, there is no other way to take the comment than as a compliment.
He furthered that five-sentence compliment with some more thoughts:
He's not going to make any mistakes. He very seldom gets sacked because he's always throwing it away," Gilberry said this week. "Very smart in the pocket. We just have to take care of business on him.
While Gilberry's statement on Campbell is accurate, it's also the complete opposite of how Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been playing in that same stretch. Forcing throws and taking sacks have been the symptoms that have led to Dalton's fall from grace as the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for October. Sure, some of the turnovers have come by wide receiver assists because of drops, but a variety of reasons have both quarterbacks trending in totally different directions.
One of the biggest tools that Campbell has used in these is his 'tweener running back, Chris Ogbonnaya. One might remember him as the thorn in the Bengals' side from Week Four, where he had 27 rushing yards at five and a half yards per rush, along with five receptions and a touchdown. Though Campbell wasn't the quarterback at that time, he has used Ogbonnaya in a similar fashion. The fourth-year running back has 28 receptions on the year and eight have come with Campbell at quarterback. That's nearly 30 percent of his total catches thus far.
Aside from that, Campbell has used an array of escape tactics in the pocket and a little mobility to move the sticks and keep the Browns offense on the field. One of the most frustrating plays for a defense has to be when they have a play covered up well, yet the quarterback scrambles for a first down. Perhaps even more frustrating is when a quarterback is grasped for a sack and yet somehow throws the ball away. Campbell has done both of these while manning the quarterback spot and the Browns have been re-charged on offense.
Dalton might want to start taking a page out of the Jason Campbell guide to quarterbacking and begin to play it a bit more safely. Why? Look at when this offense and the team was playing its best football in Weeks 5-8. Sacks were limited, Dalton was distributing the ball to a plethora of receivers and he allowed said receivers to make yards after the catch. When something wasn't there, Dalton didn't force a ball and lived to play another down. This has been Campbell's M.O. the past two weeks. It's when he attempts to do too much when Dalton, and most every other NFL quarterback, gets into trouble.
Campbell will have a big test as well this week. Though he fared decently against a stout Kansas City Chiefs unit, this Bengals unit will bring the heat. Dalton will be feeling that same heat from a quality defensive unit from Cleveland and, as we said earlier in the week, it will come down to which quarterback limits their mistakes to get the win.