Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cycle of Life

When Brad Childress finally benched Brad Johnson in favor of Tarvaris Jackson, the Metrodome crowd cheered. It was more a cheer for a change than a clear celebration of Jackson.

I think Childress will eventually bench Tarvaris Jackson this season, whether for Gus Frerotte or John David Booty depends on circumstances. And I predict we'll see either Frerotte or Booty during a road game first. Childress won't want fans to cheer the benching of Jackson, neither to put Jackson through that nor to give fans the chance to indict Childress' earlier choice.

I admit it: I've given up hope in Jackson. I wanted him to succeed, and I thought it possible he could take strides this season. But he so regularly throws passes that are wildly inaccurate. If he just made questionable decisions (which he does), or if he just looked uncomfortable in the pocket (which he does), I'd think those are areas he could improve. But can he stop throwing passes that are far off-target? I don't see that changing: I see it as a flaw in his quarterbacking abilities. If he struggles Sunday and his struggles are preventing the Vikings from scoring touchdowns, I hope to see Gus Frerotte come onto the field.

"Vikings run QB option" (Star Tribune)
"Childress discusses Jackson" (Access Vikings)
"Tarvaris Talk" (Access Vikings)
"Viking coach Brad Childress not as firm in commitment to Jackson" (Pioneer Press)


  1. Where does the problem really lie? My vote is that the problem is Childress first and Jackson second. Terrible play calling and a patchwork OL is handcuffing any chance (however slim it was) Jackson had.

    Purple Kool-Aid

  2. Does anybody really believe that with Frerotte the offense will suddenly start to move the ball? Changing to a career back-up level QB doesn't mean we'll start seeing intermediate pass routes, receivers getting open or creative play calling.

  3. When I try to think Jackson could be alright, I just start remembering all the horribly inaccurate passes Jackson has thrown. The playcalling has been questionable at best (I want to see more first down passes and third down runs), but I'm not sure what playcalling is going to make Jackson suddenly become an accurate passer.

    And blaming Jackson isn't excusing Childress, since the entire passing game is on Childress.

    I don't think Gus Frerotte is anything special: I've criticized the Vikings' failure to get a good backup QB again and again. But he might be a legitimate, competent pro passer. He might allow for more open playcalling, he might be able to convert some 3rd and long situations, and he may occasionally be able to threaten the defense with an accurate deep pass. Frerotte might provide more positive plays in the passing game, and he may help open up the running game a bit.

    I'm not anointing Frerotte a savior: I'm just recognizing that what's happening now isn't working, and while the offensive scheme is partly at fault, so is Jackson, who has proven not to be an accurate, consistent QB.

  4. Umm, I think it will be different if Frerotte is in there. Childress is already super effing conservative in his play calling, and with frerotte, that will get worse. However, Frerotte, as a veteran, should be able to complete a much better percentage of his conservative passes than Jackson. It also depends if Shiancoe is on the field.

  5. Anonymous2:13 PM

    Right now I don't care I would be offering the Browns next year's first round pick and Tarvaris Jackson (maybe more too like a 4th rounder) for Brady Quinn (who I think is probably the best back-up QB in the NFL).

    Or I would coax Daunte Culpepper out of retirement.

  6. HH, before doing that, I'd try trade for Jeff Garcia, who knows a similar offense and would be ready to start after the bye. But I'm accepting the reality that we're probably not going to trade for a QB to start this year (in March, heck yes I'd trade for Quinn, but I'll save such posts for the end of the football season when I'm not focusing on the weekly action).

  7. Anonymous7:15 PM

    It is sad when Dan Dierdorf along with most of us fans can predict the next play called by Chilldress/Bevell, because if we can on a regular basis, you surely know defensive coordinators that study the stuff surely can. That has absolutely nothing to do with players' abilities, but that of a coach stuck rigidly in his system.

    Tarvaris' completion percentage was higher in the preseason and now with a gimped up Berrian and as of last week a sprained knee on Sidney Rice, just like last year, there isn't a whole lot to throw to. Some of those off target throws are timing related or route running related not just only attributable to Jackson but to the receivers we tend not to notice as easily we can see the drops.

    Why would we throw 4 times to Mills in week 1 and 0 in week 2? Why are 6 straight AD up the middle plays ran and ESPN commenting on how 90% of are plays are to the right. That has nothing to do with Tarvaris.

    He is a young quarterback and if he had a game plan that maximized his and the rest of the offense's talents versus shoving players into a conservative system based on player's talents from 30 years ago, and play calling to mix things up, you would see success far greater than the last two years.

    How many multiple receiver sets did you see? Was Adrian ever set up wide. We have to of the best ever pulling linemen ever in Birk and Hutch and how many times did you see them pull?

    Just like Brad Johnson, Kelly Holcomb and Brooks Bollinger, and if we give up on Jackson, I would hypothesize that Gus Frerrotte will meet with the same sort of result. It is a result not of lack minimal skills, but because of the offense they are stuck trying to succeed in.

    My conclusion is that Tarvaris is a 3rd year quarterback that has talents being wasted and not developed to the maximum extent. That is what a good coach would be doing, that along with all the players on the team and utilizing their talents in ways that maximize the chances to win games.

  8. Jackson is in his third season--he's no raw rookie. Think back to other competent QBs and how they played in their third seasons. Were they regularly throwing passes that were yards beyond the receiver? A lot that a QB does can be pinned on bad coaching, poor playcalling, receivers that can't get open. But I see inaccuracy as a fatal flaw that is almost entirely on the QB. Jackson regularly throws badly inaccurate passes, and he has for his entire career. If there's a problem to Brad Childress's coaching, it's that he hasn't done anything about that, and has accepted having a QB that is simply not an accurate thrower.

  9. I have two major things to point out:

    1. I totally believe the problem lies more with Childress. His playcalling is elementary at best, predictable, and stupid. He also has no faith in Tarvaris, because if he did he'd be throwing more on first downs and deep passes. The Quarterback position is the only position you cannot hide your weakness at in the NFL. We have crappy TE's, but that's okay, you don't need good TE's to be a superbowl team. Same for most other postions. Even being weak at WR can be overcome (examples: Philadelphia, Pre-Randy Moss New England). Childress is also to blame for developing bad pass plays that give our receivers no chance for separation, giving Jackson no targets, in which he's not trusted enough to hit anyways. This one is on the coaching.

    2. If a change is going to be made, I say throw in Booty. You know what you're getting with Ferotte, and he gives the vikings no better chance to win than Jackson. Booty is a question mark, but I believe he has upside. He came from a strong school that runs a pro style offense, and USC isn't known for dud QB's, they're usually NFL-ready QB's. At the very least you're developing a QB now that has a chance to be the future QB of this team. I say take the chance, go with Booty over Gus if any change is going to be made. You never know when you'll find the next diamond in the rough (Tom Brady, Derek Anderson, Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger)

  10. John David Booty? Everyone saw him play in the pre-season, no? He was awful. Jackson looks like a Pro Bowler in comparison.

    Booty needs about two years on the sidelines before he should ever be asked to play any meaningful downs in an NFL regular season game.

  11. Anonymous11:21 AM


    Over at Football Outsiders that poster BadgerT1000 just compared the Vikes to the 1998 Wisconsin Badgers. Pretty freaky. I know that guy hates Childress but he makes a pretty good case that "Chilly" is living his Big Ten dream.

    That guy slays me with his Childress stuff. 'Course, it would be more funny if it weren't so true.