Friday, January 09, 2009

Let the Headhunting of Tavaris Jackson Begin!

I should declare, right off the top, that I'm not a big believer in Tavaris Jackson.  I haven't seen enough of him to really declare him a failure, though.  He's basically had 1 and 1/2 years of snaps in NFL games.  He's won some games (I remember him throwing for four touchdowns in a game late this year against the Cardinals) and he's certainly lost some games.  

The number of quarterbacks--great quarterbacks--who took 3 years or so to develop is long and plentiful. Elway was a disaster his first season.  Peyton Manning took his lumps.  Atlanta thought so little of Brett Favre that they traded him away for nothing (one the most unremarked upon moments in NFL history, by the by.  Imagine if Atlanta had had Brett Favre for the last 15 years!).

So, I'm not ready to close the book on Tavaris, necessarily.  I don't think he'll ever be a revelation at QB, but I'm not ready to say he's a disaster.  But other people are.  Boy, are they ever.  

Dave Myers, of the  LaCrosse Tribune is one of those folks, and his thesis, I think, is hugely flawed.  Here it is:   "The reality of the Vikings’ situation is they have enough playmakers on offense and defense to make a title run. But that isn’t true if they have to overcome Jackson’s play at quarterback."  

This is, to be frank, delusional.  Playmakers on offense?  Really?  I will obviously grant Dave Myers Adrian Peterson.  He's the goddamn Purple Jesus, after all.  But who else?  Bernard Berrian?  Great, when healthy, and willing to work to get open.  Who else?  Sidney Rice?  Bobby Wade?  Visanthe Shiancoe's Cock?  

I'm sorry, but "enough" playmakers on offense isn't just the best running back in the league, and a stable of kind of OK Wide Receivers.  Ask Barry Sanders about that--and truth be told--there is no one on the Vikings' roster that approaches the best wide receivers that Barry Sanders played with.

The Vikings defense has been overrated for the last three years--yes, they are great at stopping the run.  They've got huge fat guys who fart on the opposing offensive linemen, and let their linebackers stuff the run.  They've been great at it.  But they've got no real sense in the secondary, and their best players back there are getting older every year.  Darren Sharper had an unremarkable year.  Antoine Winfield is going to the Pro Bowl, which is comparable to Paul Newman winning an Oscar for "The Color of Money."   

Dave Myers, bless his heart, actually suggests that Kerry Collins would be a step up.  Really?  Is he bringing along Len Dale White?  To play a blocking fullback?  Kerry Collins has been for a decade and change, the exact kind of quarterback that Tavaris Jackson is now.  He's not a good quarterback; he's barely serviceable.  Current Vikings QB Gus Frerotte is a better option than Kerry Collins.  

I've personally witnessed 2 or 3 games in which the coaching of Brad Childress caused a loss, or at least, didn't lead to a win in a winnable game.  Before we poop all over Tavaris, how about we leave a little hate for the aging gay biker?    Brad Childress looks like an aging gay biker, you see.  It took Ryan Longwell overcoming horrible clock management by Childress and hitting a 50 yard field goal, against the B-Team of the Giants to even get the Vikings into the playoffs (and the shitty quality of the NFC North).  Plus... Childress  loves really shitty poetry.  Strike 1,2 and 3.

I'm not arguing that Tavaris is going to blossom into the next John Elway.  He may well blossom into the next Trent Dilfer or Jeff Garcia or Rich Gannon, though.  The Viking's problems go much deeper than just a young QB and anyone who suggests otherwise is either not watching the games, or  is looking for a scapegoat.  When Bobby Wade is your #2 receiver, you aren't just a QB away from the Super Bowl, and that is too obvious a point to belabor it any further.  

Hey, remember when the Vikings Front Office drafted Troy Williamson with the #7 pick overall, instead of Antrel Rolle, Carlos Roger, DeMarcus Ware, or Shawne Merriman?  Remember, in the same draft, when they picked Erasmus James, instead of Roddy White or Luis Castillo?

See?  Plenty of blame to go around.


Andrew Wice said...

Anyone want to crunch the numbers on whether African American QBs have a smaller window within which to prove themselves? Me neither.

Childress's mistake was to declare Jackson the starter even though Jackson was unprepared.

Jason Campbell of the Redskins had the best year of his career (in yet another brand-new offense), completing well over 60% of his passes, 3,000 yards and the fewest INTs in the league. Yet the sportsjacks want a new QB in DC.

Big Blue Monkey 2: The Quickening said...

But Jason Campbell only had 13 TD passes. Clearly, he's a huge failure, even though he's had to deal with 4 Offensive Coordinators in 4 years.

The Redskins know how awesome Gus Frerotte is, and yet, don't seem to be making a play for him. Harrumph?

Skins suffer from the same lack of WR talent that the Vikings do. Santana Moss, and then who? I predict Dev. Thomas will break out in 2009.

Big Blue Monkey 2: The Quickening said...

Oh, and I totally don't want to crunch those numbers.

The Black Freighter said...

Got to give a little credit to Chester Taylor who most definitely is an offensive weapon... poor man's Leon Washington perhaps? And Antoine Winfield is a stud... best tackling corner in the league.

I can't agree with you enough on Childress, though. Everybody bitches about Tarvaris, but Brad is the real issue. Play calling, clock management and a strange conservative approach ruined several games for the Vikes this year.

Although I think our defense is pretty stacked with playmakers (sans Sharper)... our offense could definitely use a game changing receiver or tight end... it would make a huge difference.

Much better analysis on the Vikes than last week. I knew you could do it!

Muumuuman said...

Gannon is definitely a step up from Dilfer and Garcia. NFL most valuable player 2002. 4 straight pro-bowl selections. And his aweful superbowl could be due to the fact that Callahan had not changed the Raiders playbook - including audible calls.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with some points of this post, but I would differ on your views on the defence and Berrian, Rice, and I guess Wade. Wade is a great slot receiver, except for a few times where he missed easy passes, he's a solid pass catcher. Not the person I would ever want returning punts again, fair catch anyone?

The Vikes D could rush the passer, sack the QB (pressure or sacking is good). The secondary played so much better this year it was unbelievable. I was bitching about Cedric as CB, he was playing soft the first few games, but then he really stepped up.

The comment that said we need a TE is probably the worst comment. Shiancoe floored me this year, I was fortunate to miss the locker room bit though, I was focused on Zygi....wandering eyes lead to bad things I guess.

But for someone to think that Shiancoe did not do his job this year is pretty stupid. He caught hard catches and got rid of his case of the droppsies this year. I would take Shiancoe any year, even if I don't know how to spell his name. I know that there are other TE's, but the chances of them being on the market is slim to none, Tony Gonzales will not be in purple anytime soon.

I actually thought that the playcalling was opened up a ton in the middle of the season, we were throwing deep, playing much more aggressive. It dwindled at the end of the year though, and especially in the game against the Eagles, we played way too conservative, all the way to the end of the game.

Tarvaris is an ok QB, I'm torn up this year on whether I want him back or not, previous years I wanted to keep him in, but the last game really threw me for a loop.