Updated: 1:30 p.,m.
The Bengals aren't looking to unseat quarterback
After being selected in the first round by the Redskins in 2005 and making 79 starts in stints with four different teams, there isn't much Campbell hasn't seen.
"You always want to make the guy in front of you better ," Campbell said Thursday after passing his physical. "I've been a starter most of my career, but at the same time there was always a guy in the room, whether it was an older guy or a younger guy that you felt you played better as a quarterback if you were pushed a little more. I just want to help him. Push him to be the best he can be.
"Ultimately, if that position is playing well, then we're in a situation to win games. I'll do everything I can to help him. At the same time I'm going to be prepared if my number comes up and for some reason I have to go in there and help us win. I'm just looking to go to work."
The Bengals are on course to keep three quarterbacks for the first time since Dalton became the starter in 2011. Despite Thursday's signing, it is believed the Bengals are still going to be perusing the May 8-10 NFL Draft for a quarterback that can be groomed with extension talks for Dalton expecting to heat up at some point before the start of this season’s contract year.
Talk about coming full circle. It was Campbell’s shattered collarbone against Cleveland 48 hours before the 2011 trading deadline that opened up the Bengals’ trade of quarterback Carson Palmer to Campbell’s Raiders. It was Jackson, in his only season as the Raiders head coach, that pulled off the trade in a bid to get to the playoffs that failed by a game.
If it sounds like Campbell is Jackson's kind of competitive guy, he is. Campbell went 1-7 last season when he was third off the bench as the Browns starter, but his one win came against defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore and injected life into a listless franchise. One of those seven losses came resoundingly against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium, 41-20, back on Nov. 17, so he likes the look of Dalton and the defense.
"He's a winner. He wins," Campbell said of Dalton. "He's got a great group of guys around him and he's done a great job staying within himself to play effectively. He can throw it downfield and make plays. It's a big year for him and I'm sure he's excited about the opportunities that are coming.
"It's a smart defense and they know how to get to the quarterback. They're long and tall up front and get their hands on balls,' he said. "They're explosive like the offense….They've been winning and have won and it's a great environment from top to bottom."
Campbell is one of the eight quarterbacks who fell victim to the Bengals defense last season at PBS during his one year in Cleveland. At 31 and with those 79 NFL starts, he’s the most experienced quarterback to sign behind Dalton and the Bengals' most experienced backup since Jon Kitna relieved Palmer in the 2005 wild card game.
Given that this is a reunion with Jackson, it remains to be seen what happens with current backup
Campbell, released last week in the purge following the purge of the Browns’ brain trust, threw 11 TDs against eight interceptions last season. That pretty much mirros his career passer rating of 81.8 that includes 87 touchdown passes, 60 picks and a 32-47 starting record.
But his winningest stretch came in Oakland when Jackson was his offensive coordinator in 2010 and head coach in 20011. Campbell had a record of 20-32 before he went 11-7 for the Raiders and his passer ratings in both seasons were 84-plus on 13 TDs against eight interceptions.
The lure for Campbell, of course, is Jackson. Although he hasn't looked at the playbook, he knows a lot it is going to be a mix of what Jackson did in Oakland and Baltimore. Jackson has said he'll change up the language a little bit but keep Jay Gruden's scheme relatively intact and Campbell said he can help Dalton with the Raider aspects Jackson installs.
"He likes to throw it down field. He likes to stretch the field," Campbell said of Jackson. "He likes to attack all areas of the game. He's not afraid. He gives his players the chance to make plays."
The 6-5, 223-pound Campbell has brains and mobility and in the week leading up to the Bengals-Browns game last year, Jackson, then the Bengals running backs coach, talked about how he used him in Oakland.
“He has great leadership. He'll take the cast of guys there and he'll get them to play well," Jackson said back in November. "Because he'll distribute the ball well, he'll manage the game, he'll make big throws, and he'll run with the ball, he's tough and he's smart.”
That’s when Jackson said Campbell's best attribute is his big arm.
"That's why he was playing for me," Jackson said. "He can throw it down the field. He's got a good arm, he's smart and he knows how to play the position."
According to profootballfocus.com, Campbell graded in the upper half of the league last year in the categories helpful for a guy coming off the bench. He was rated ninth as a runner, 16th throwing the ball under pressure, and 15th when he had 2.5 seconds or less in the pocket.
“Jason obviously has extensive playing and starting history,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis in a news release, “and as a back-up (to Bengals starter Andy Dalton), he can provide the stability and experience we’re looking for in that role. His experience will be a great asset to our other quarterbacks.
“He can play and win games for you if you need him. He’s got great stature (6-5, 230) and strength, the ability to stand in there under pressure and really throw the ball down the field.”