Interesting article here from si.com re Tarvaris Jackson and Minnesota. Obviously, this guy doesn’t like T-Jack or the Vikings approach – which it’s safe to say, is the consensus opinion.
As many of you know, I think Tarvaris Jackson is good with the potential to be, yes, great. And while I think Brad Childress sucks as a coach, I do agree with his decision to give T-Jack a chance (though I don’t agree with him having a publicly fluctuating confidence in him – you either believe in your guy or you don’t). Now, I can admit, T-Jack’s start to 2008 was weak and he was less than impressive against Philly in the playoffs. But he turned it around later in the season when he got the opportunity. T-Jack finished the year, despite having to average in a weak QB rating in his first three games, with the 5th highest QB rating in the NFL at 95.4. He also finished with 9TDs and only 2 INTs. It’s not a stretch to say he was a key factor in GETTING the Vikes to the playoffs last year with his big games against Arizona and Detroit. (And he did this all with what I still regard as a weak WR group to throw to.)
When Gus Frerotte took over after the 3rd game of the year, he did go 8-3 as the article points out, but that is a statistical anomaly because Frerotte did everything he could possibly do to try to lose games for the Vikes – ending up with 12TDs and 15INTs and a dismal 73.6 rating (which was some 22 points lower than T-Jack’s 2008 rating).
Look, I’m not stubborn enough to say that T-Jack should be the unquestioned starter every year until he retires. He needs to improve and he especially needs to work on his consistency and accuracy if he is going to merit the starter nod going forward. But he should be the starter this year for sure as Sage Rosenfels is not a great alternative. (Sage was brought in for the same reason Mike Sherman often brought people to Green Bay – he played well in one game against the Vikes last year …otherwise, he has been a mediocre-at-best fill-in guy throughout his career.)
I do think one major issue for Tarvaris is not only that his coach is bad, but that his coach just doesn’t have the stones to declare that T-Jack’s THE Man – like Holmgren did with Favre years ago. Now, no, I’m not saying T-Jack is the next Favre, I don’t want to get silly. But I do want to point out that early in Favre’s career, a fair number of Packer faithful were asking for him to be benched due to the interception problem. In Favre’s second year, he had 24 picks to 19 TDS, and a weak 72.2 QB rating. There were lots of people concerned about whether he was good enough to be the QB on an otherwise quality team. But Holmgren, who is/was a stubborn man, stuck with Favre. I think for Favre and the rest of the team, knowing that Holmgren had Favre’s back ended up being a significant psychological factor in Favre eventually leading the team to a Super Bowl victory.
If I were the Minnesota coach (thank God I’m not), I would declare T-Jack the unquestioned starter this year and let him play out the 2009 season. It’s a better approach for T-Jack and for the team too. If he plays like crap, Chilly will lose his job – but Chilly has to know the odds are against Sage Rosenfels coming in and saving the day. What I bet will happen though, is that Tarvaris will play reasonably well but have a bad game or two and Chilly will bench him because he coaches scared and then Sage will come in and have one good game and everyone will think he’s the bomb only to have Sage puke up the rest of his starts leading the Vikes right out of the playoff chase and Chilly right out of a job anyway.