National Fun League, week 16 (1)
Tarvaris Jackson and the Playoffs
Tarvaris Jackson starts this Sunday (Star Tribune).
If the Vikings are going to win the Super Bowl this season, there will be three primary reasons:
1. The defense will dominate.
2. Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor will stay hot.
3. The team will get some lucky breaks.
And I'm starting to think that to contribute to those three causes, Tarvaris Jackson will be a better quarterback for the Vikings at this point than Gus Frerotte.
For one thing, Frerotte throws a lot of interceptions: even if the defense dominates, Frerotte often gave opponents direct points or a short field. Frerotte is also immobile: Jackson forces defenses to account for another element to the offense, and he can make positive plays in other ways. But Frerotte has also peaked. Tarvaris Jackson might just add a fourth reason the Vikings could win the Super Bowl: a young quarterback gets surprisingly hot. That alone wouldn't do it, but a productive Tarvaris Jackson, supporting a dominant defense, dominant running backs, and getting some lucky breaks, could push the Vikings far.
Yes, I'm probably delusional anyway, but what of it? Just maybe Tarvaris Jackson has improved, that Tavaris Jackson right now is much better than Tarvaris Jackson of weeks 1 and 2, and of 2007. And what else do I have but my hope? I'm walking around having unsought fantasies about a major Viking playoff push. My imagination is conjuring a Super Bowl, so I may as well try rationalize my imaginative wanderings somehow.
Is it just that the Vikings have been winning that the railing against Childress has tempered down? Yes, probably. But let's posit another thought: just as players can improve, coaches can improve.
Brad Childress today should be a better coach than Brad Childress in 2006 or 2007 or even early 2008. I think we have a tendency to view coaches as static, but in any field, experience usually brings improvement. Coaches too can change and improve.
One thing that makes Manning so spectacular is his downfield accuracy; he often hits receivers in precise spots 20 or 30 yards downfield. Last night he had some passes that he drilled right into gaps, right to the receiver's hands. I like watching him because he does take those mid-range shots regularly, and hits them consistently. Last night he had completions nine completions of 15+ yards: 41, 29, 23, 21, 33, 15, 18, 15, 21. That makes football fun to watch.
Word Choice in Headlines
USA Today has a blog post titled "Gus angry about Vikes' move to Tarvaris." And maybe Frerotte really is angry, and reporters could perceive that anger in their reporting. But in the quote provided, Frerotte says ""Obviously, I'm not happy about it." To me, being angry about something, and not being happy about something, are not the same thing.
A minor quibble, but attention to word choice is important--the English language has a big vocabulary, and a lot of words that seem similar but have nuanced differences.
Sammy Baugh (fuh- baw, Cold, Hard Football Facts, I Dislike Your Favorite Team).
Adrian Peterson and MVP (Star Tribune, Pioneer Press).
The Falcons rank #24 in CHFF's Hog Index (the Vikes rank #4).
Manning and MVP (Jason Cole, Mark Craig).
Adrian Peterson #1 on MVP ranks (Bucky Brooks).
Philip Rivers should have been a Pro Bowler (MJD).
Grant's Tomb on the Viking-Falcon game, Pat Williams, and Brad Childress.