The Miseducation of Tarvaris Jackson

*Another spectacular editing job by your’s truly (from the album cover of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill).

This is my first and probably last piece dedicated to Tarvaris Jackson.  Oh the times we’ve had (video).  The 64th overall selection of the 2006 draft and prized project of the late (but still very alive) Brad Childress never really received his proper education.

Tarvaris Jackson was greeted as a rookie by fellow teammates and position-mates Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger.  Johnson had a serviceable career (his Super Bowl with Tampa Bay was as impressive as Trent Dilfer’s with Baltimore) and Bollinger was no better than a third-string quarterback.

After one year of “grooming,” Tarvaris saw the most extensive starting time of his career thus far.  He finished the season with 9 TD, 12 INT, and a 70.8 Rating.  Jackson led the Vikings to an 8-8 record.

In 2008, Jackson lost his starting job to Gus Frerotte after opening the season with two losses.  Frerotte had a decent run until getting injured leading to Jackson reclaiming his starting job.  Tarvaris redeemed his poor start with key victories pushing the Vikings into the playoffs.  The Vikings faced the Eagles, and Jackson was simply outmatched (see video link above).

2009 and 2010 marks the years of the Silver Fox.  One year was one play away from the Super Bowl, and the next year was and is a lost cause as Brett Favre could not duplicate his 2009 magic.  Jackson took over for an injured Favre two weeks ago against the Buffalo Bills.

Tarvaris Jackson was drafted out of Alabama State – not exactly a mecca for NFL talent.  Jackson was surrounded by an offensive minded coach (at least in theory), washed up quarterbacks, and no offensive talent aside from Adrian Peterson.  Every time Jackson was given the starting job, it was pulled out from under his feet with little time to prove himself.  He had two poor games in 2008 and lost the job to Frerotte.  The following year the job was all his until Brett Favre hopped off his tractor and started throwing to Mississippi high schoolers.

Now those may sound like excuses for his poor performances.  In all honesty they are.  However, they are a part of his history that cannot be ignored, and these elements have contributed to his miseducation.

Many thought learning under Brett Favre would be a good thing.  There surely are things to learn from a future Hall of Fame quarterback.  But ask yourself if the ole gunslinger can teach him how to be a good quarterback from a mechanics standpoint.  Favre is known for throwing off-balanced, throwing across his body, and holding the ball too long.  For the most part, it worked for Favre throughout his career.  Tarvaris Jackson is struggling with these exact issues.  His mechanics are awful.  Recall the last two weeks.  Jackson threw interceptions off his back foot, into double coverage, and simply ignoring defenders.  Jackson stood in the pocket too long, and showed he possesses no clock for when to get rid of the ball or even leave the pocket.  And although immeasurable, his confidence is fragile.

Tarvaris Jackson is a great guy and a quick learner (according to many former players and coaches).  But the ugly truth is great guys who work hard and posses lots of talent do not necessarily make good quarterbacks.

Tarvaris Jackson handled the Favre situation perfectly.  He has always worked hard, and stayed out of trouble.  But even when you do everything right, sometimes it doesn’t translate into success.

That is where we stand now in the miseducation of Tarvaris Jackson.

Quarter… Back to the Future

As the Vikings get ready for the Chicago Bears, one thing seems certain.  Joe Webb will be the only returning quarterback for the Vikings next year.  This all-but-fact is slightly unsettling.  As depicted in the picuture above my favorite options are either trading for Kevin Kolb or drafting Ryan Mallet (or Luck, Newton, or Locker).  Kolb is only 26 years-old, and reminds me of a poor-man’s Aaron Rodgers with high upside.  He almost would assuredly cost less than the rookie pool (1st round pick).  However, Mallet has a rocket arm, Newton is dangerous but has the most downside if he doesn’t develop, and Locker has his own question marks.  Luck will in all likelihood be the 1st overall pick in next years draft, which will be well out of the Vikings pick.  I will discuss Vikings future QB possibilities more in depth after the conclusion of the season.

*I do not have Winter Park this week, but I will write some Quickies to set up Monday nights game.  I will also be writing a piece on the Wolves and the Gophers Basketball team (I am going to the Gopher’s game tonight against Akron).

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