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with Sean Jensen and Don Seeholzer

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Is Jackson ready?

Fans are going to get what they want.
Rookie Tarvaris Jackson will start Thursday in Green Bay, as the Pioneer Press first reported Tuesday night.
But everyone should temper their expectations.
Jackson obviously has a great arm, great feet and a feel for the game. But Jackson still hasn't had an opposing defense throwing everything at him yet. His 100-plus preseason ranking was against vanilla schemes, and his playing time in two games this season was when the opposing team was playing prevent defense.
So Jackson will have a tougher time Thursday, when the Packers are sure to try and confuse and pressure him into making mistakes.
Consider the first start of a couple of more heralded rookie quarterbacks this season.
Jay Cutler was 10 for 21 for 143 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 23-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. One of Cutler's picks was among the worst in the league this season.
Vince Young was 14 of 29 for 155 yards, with one touchdown and two picks in a 45-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Only Matt Leinart was somewhat successful, completing 22 of 35 passes for 253 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. But his team still lost, 23-20 to the Kansas City Chiefs, and he was sacked four times in that game.
But this is what the Vikings need to do. They need to see what they have with Jackson, so they can figure out what they need to do in the offseason.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Jackson's performance in these final two games will determine how much the Vikings need to spend at the most expensive position in football.
If they think he's ready to start next season, then the Vikings can find another discounted veteran, like Anthony Wright or Tim Rattay. But if they think he needs more time to learn, then the Vikings may have to splurge on someone like Byron Leftwich, Jake Plummer, Chris Simms or Matt Schaub.


Blogger Nate Diggity said...

Well said. T-Jax has tons of potential, but should by all accounts be much less polished than the other rookie QBs that have started for their teams this year. Jackson spent most of his time this year as a third string QB and was never expected to have to start and never practiced as if he would (until a few weeks ago). I think he has a bright future but he shouldn't be expected to throw for 3 TDs, 300 yards and no picks in his first appearance. Even Vince Young, with all of his recent wins, is still having major growing pains along the way and nobody should expect him to be Vince right off the bat.

11:49 AM  
Blogger mvikes said...


11:51 AM  
Blogger Vikes67 said...

Sean -

Who cares if Jackson is ready? I am much more willing to see a rookie make mistakes than see a veteran make mistakes. Further, Jackson does give the Vikings the best chance to win as his athletic ability gives them an offensive weapon, something they are clearly missing. Lastly, this move should have been made in the Detroit game as it would have been nice to see what Jackson could do the last quarter of the season. This is clearly not a playoff team, mathematically or not. I would also like to see Jason Carter activated and see the field to see what he can do, as I don't expect many of the current wide receivers back in purple next year. Skol in 2007!

1:24 PM  
Blogger Vikes67 said...

Another, and value option for next year at qb could be Damon Huard. If Jackson needs more time and they need a short range option, Huard would be a better value. I would not think he would be back with the Chiefs as they have Green and drafted a quaterback (I think Croyle) this year.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Gary Gross said...

I've posted about the upside of this decision here.

I'm not expecting to see a savior but I also don't see a downside to this decision, either.

8:25 PM  
Blogger John said...

If arm strength and touch were all it took to be a great NFL QB Arnold Schwartznegger would have won a Superbowl a long time ago.

There's a reason Jackson said these exact words a couple of weeks ago: "We still have a chance to make the playoffs, so we're still trying to do that. So it's obvious that Brad is still our quarterback so we can stay on that."

There's no defending Johnson's career low performance this season, that's for sure. But Johnson did have a 94.2 passer rating in the Jets game last week before he got benched. Then Jackson came in and had an 83.1 rating in garbage time, throwing a touchdown that was mostly all Mewelde Moore and also throwing an interception in the end zone.

I think it's the fact that after the Jets loss we don't have much of a chance to make the playoffs anymore, and the pressure from fans to see more exciting play that prompted Childress to put Jackson in. There's no doubt in Jackson's mind or most of the others on that team that Johnson gives them the best chance to win, but right now they are finally looking to the future.

10:53 AM  

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