Flawless? No, but Campbell did improve

New Oakland coach Hue Jackson got us thinking Tuesday during his introductory press conference when he said starting quarterback Jason Campbell was “flawless” down the stretch of the season."



This is what Jackson had to say about Campbell: "He played flawless. He played almost as good as you can play as a quarterback in our league. Led us to some very impressive wins. And I look forward to him doing the same thing this year in our system, same system, opportunity to go out with the same teammates, OK, and go out and play the way we know he can play.”

Wow. Flawless? Almost as good as you can play as a quarterback in our league?

It made us curious. ESPN’s Stats & Information crunched the numbers to see if Jackson was just being an enthusiastic new coach and supportive of his quarterback or if Campbell really played at an elite level down the stretch.

The results? Settle down a bit, coach. Yes, Campbell was good, but he was mostly above average.

Let’s check out some of the numbers that ESPN Stats & Information came up with by comparing Campbell’s play in the final five games of the season compared to some of the better quarterbacks in the NFL:

Campbell completed 64.7 of his passes, had a passer rating of 96.4 and averaged 7.7 yards per attempt in the final five games. Those were all above the league average. His passer rating in the final five games was fifth in the NFL, but it was nearly 30 points lower than New England’s Tom Brady, who led the league during that time period.

Comparing Campbell’s statistics in the final five games to Brady’s and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers showed that Campbell was far behind both players in nearly every major statistic studied.

Still, Campbell improved down the stretch. His completion percentage, touchdown-interception ratio, passer rating and drop-back sack percentage (which were the second worst in the NFL in the first eight games) all improved in the final five games. Campbell also got much better with passes of 14 yards or fewer down the stretch.

There is reason to be excited about Campbell, but the notion that he was playing perfectly is a stretch. You can’t blame Jackson for pumping up his guy. But it would be inaccurate to believe that Campbell was playing as well as any quarterback in the league at season’s end.