Hog Wire: Who is Todd Collins?

News Washington Commanders

Quarterback Todd Collins came off the bench Thursday night to go 15 of 20 for 224 yards and two Touchdowns; he earned a 144.6 QB rating and guided the Redskins to a 24-16 victory, to stay in the playoff hunt. On Tuesday Collins was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Bears. Like most backup quarterbacks in the NFL, Collins doesn’t get many “reps” during the practice week and spends most of his time on game day wearing a headset instead of a helmet. They get even less introduction to the fans. Now when mentioned he’s referred to as a career backup so this seemed like a good time to take a fresh look at how the quarterback that will be finishing out the season as the Washington Redskins starting QB has done up to this point in his career.

Todd Collins is a 36-year-old, 6-4/225 pound quarterback out of the University of Michigan. Collins has been in the league 13 years, after going undrafted in the 1995 draft, he signed with the Buffalo Bills. Collins was the backup to Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, and played in seven games each of his first two years in the league. (He started one game in 1995 and three in 1996). In 1997 with Kelly gone, Collins started thirteen games before leaving for Kansas City in the off-season. In the three years with Buffalo Collins started seventeen of the 28 games that he appeared in and completed 284 of 516 his passes for 3218 yards, 16 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

Collins did not play in any games during his first three seasons with the Chiefs and only played in twelve games during the eight years he was on the roster. Saying ‘on the roster’ seems appropriate considering when Collins went to Kansas City, the Chiefs had Elvis Grbac, Rich Gannon, and Steve Bono already on the team. Todd made Marty Schottenheimer’s team but Marty retired the next season, when Marty left his assistant head coach / wide receivers coach (Al Saunders) also left. In 2001 Saunders returned as the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs and Todd Collins was still there.

Saunders went on to build one of the NFL’s top offenses after he returned to Kansas City (ranked in the top five in the NFL from 2002-2005) before being offered a job in Washington. During his time with the Chiefs, Saunders “took a liking to” backup Todd Collins for his professional approach and dedication to learning his system. When Saunders moved to Washington, Collins came with him. Last year Collins was more than just the backup behind both Jason Campbell and Mark Brunell, he was more or less an extra quarterback coach while helping Al Saunders implement his new offense. During the 2007 pre-season Collins showed his grasp of Saunders’ offensive system, and many fans said he out-played both guys ahead of him on the depth chart. The Redskins coaching staff didn’t fully agree but named Collins as the number two quarterback for this season.

Collins is a fighter and knew from the start why he had been signed. Collins knew had a good showing during the pre-season but Jason Campbell had made progress picking up the system during the off-season and coach Gibbs’ hand-picked Brunell when he came out of retirement. Collins knew Saunders’ 700 page monstrosity of a playbook better than anyone if you ask Todd, but he also knew what he was up against. As off-season workouts were about to start, Collins went to coach Gibbs and requested that he be released if there wasn’t a place for him on the roster considering the draft and players returning from NFLE. Collins just wanted a shot to catch on somewhere else, but Gibbs told him, “I think you can play a valuable role for us.”

Collins will make his first start since Dec. 14, 1997 when he played for Buffalo; ten years ago almost to the day. In that game, he was replaced by Alex Van Pelt, in an eventual 20-14 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, (who were ironically led by Mark Brunell).

Down but not out:

Listening to the Redskins players and coaches, you can’t find many (if any) that have counted the team out of the post-season. So last Thursday night when the injury bug tried to hit the team, you can understand why a number of Redskins players brushed it off and continued to play.

Cornerback Shawn Springs had to find a set of equipment to play in prior to the game. The equipment manager did not set up his pads and gear, because Shawn was not expected to play due to his back injury. Springs dressed, and then went out and told the coaches that he felt good enough to play.

Around the same time, tackle Chris Samuels was telling the trainers that he had a burning pain in his foot and was uncertain whether he’d be able to play. The team determined that Stephon Heyer could move to right tackle, Jason Fabini to Samuels’ spot and DL Lorenzo Alexander would play Fabini’s guard position. After hearing the plan, Samuels played.

Before getting to the locker room running back Clinton Portis ate fried shrimp in the parking lot that his Mom had given him; it gave him food poisoning that affected him during pregame warmups, but Portis played anyway.

Tight End Chris Cooley suffered was hurt in the second quarter and went in for X-Rays before the half ended. When they came back negative, he returned to the field with the team for the second half of the game. After the game, Cooley said “I got kicked in the back of the leg and it got bruised,” he then added “I won’t miss any time, though.”

Cornerback Fred Smoot suffered severe cramps and was throwing up blood before he was taken into the locker room where they hooked him up to IV’s. He watched the fourth quarter from the locker room. Not liking what he saw on the tv, Smoot asked the trainers to go get something for him. When the trainers left, he ripped what was his fourth IV out of his arm and ran back out onto the field, telling the coaches he was playing.

Quotes and Notes:

— The Redskins released Linebacker Tyson Smith from the practice squad on Tuesday to make room for Quarterback Jason Fife. Fife was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Lions in 2004. He played college football at the University of Oregon. Fife was with the New Orleans Saints last training camp but was released prior to the start of the regular season, has also spent time with the Minnesota Vikings, and played for the Las Vegas Gladiators in the Arena Football League. On Friday Fife was released to make room for former University of Maryland QB Sam Hollenbach who was with the Redskins during off season workouts and mini camps but was released before the start of training camp.

— Linebacker London Fletcher and Safety Sean Taylor were honored Tuesday night at The Quarterback Club’s annual Player of the Year banquet. They were named co-recipients of The Player of the Year award for the 2007 season. Taylor was represented by his father Pedro and his fiancée Jackie Garcia.

— The Redskins placed guard Randy Thomas, on injured reserve Thursday, bringing his comeback attempt and season to an end. Thomas tried to play last week against Chicago but was unable to use his left arm properly and had to come out of the game. Randy suffered a torn triceps in week two but was kept on the active roster in the hopes he would be able to play during December and the post season (if the Redskins make the post season). The Redskins re-signed guard Rick DeMulling, who was with the team earlier this season, to take Thomas’s roster spot.

— The Washington Redskins – Minnesota Vikings game on December 23rd has been moved to the ‘Sunday Night Football’ slot and will start at 8:15 PM instead of the previous scheduled 1 PM kickoff, because of the possible playoff implications (regularly-scheduled game was Tampa Bay vs. San Francisco). Minnesota is one game ahead of the Redskins in the current standings. The Redskins must “win-out” and rely on the New Orleans Saints to lose at least one of their next three. The Redskins’ final three opponents have a combined 28-11 record, giving Washington the hardest remaining schedule among the top six Wild Card contenders.

— Wide Receiver Antwaan Randle El will be the third QB this weekend, He was a college QB at Indiana and has been working with quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor on fundamentals and handoffs.

— With John Eubanks unable to play this weekend veteran cornerback David Macklin will be the fourth corner. Macklin who signed a one year veteran minimum contract because he wanted to play for Joe Gibbs and is from the area has been on the game day inactive list most of the season.

Up Next:

The Redskins will face the New York Giants (9-4) on Sunday, Dec. 16, at Giants Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET. New York defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 16-13 at Lincoln Financial Field last Sunday. The Giants are led by Quarterback Eli Manning (75.2 QB rating, 2790 yards, 18 Touchdowns, and 17 Interceptions) and former Redskins Outside Linebacker Antonio Pierce (84 Tackles, 63 Solo/21 Assists and 1 Sacks). The New York Giants are ranked 17th in points scored with 290 points and the defense is ranked 12th in points allowed, giving up 270 points.

Complete Tale of the Tapes:

Total Offense: Washington is ranked 17th with 331.1 yards per game and New York ranks 18th with 330.5 ypg.
Rushing Offense: Washington is ranked 13th with 113.9 yards per game and New York ranks 7th with 126.2 ypg.
Passing Offense: Washington is ranked 15th with 217.2 yards per game and New York ranks 19th with 204.2 ypg.
Total Defense: Washington is ranked 11th giving up 317.8 yards per game and New York ranks 7th with 302.8 ypg.
Rushing Defense: Washington is ranked 6th giving up 94.8 yards per game and New York ranks 7th with 96.1 ypg.
Passing Defense: Washington is ranked 23rd giving up 222.9 yards per game and New York ranks 10th with 206.8 ypg.

Injury Report:

QB Jason Campbell (knee) is listed as Out
Campbell has a sprained MCL and dislocated left knee cap and will be out at another three weeks.

CB John Eubanks (infected toe) is listed as Out
Eubanks has been wearing a boot on his left foot all week and has not practiced.

DT Cornelius Griffin (Back) is listed as Probable
Griffin returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday with the flu.

WR James Thrash (hamstring) is listed as Probable
Thrash returned to practice for the first time in a month and will be a game time decision.

DE Phillip Daniels (Knee) is listed as Probable
Daniels did not practice Wednesday but returned on Thursday and is expected to play

Injured Reserves:

The following players are done for the 2007 season:

FB Broughton, Nehemiah (Knee)
TE Ecker, Tyler (Groin)
WR Espy, Mike (Knee)
WR Harris, Steven (Knee)
WR McAddley, Jason (Hamstring)
OL Tucker, Ross (Neck)
OT Jansen, Jon (Ankle)
CB Carlos Rogers (Neck)
RG Randy Thomas (torn triceps muscle)

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Bernie Marshall

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