Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rosenfels and Jackson must feel loved: sportswriters care so much about their feelings.

In the NFL, you should not attempt to improve your roster, lest you hurt the feelings of the players already on your roster.

Based on the sorts of things sportswriters are saying about the Vikings' QB situation, some of them must really believe this.

Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel writes:

"How the heck does coach Brad Childress face the top two quarterbacks he actually has this season – Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson – and convince them that he has even a modicum of respect for their abilities?"


"[Childress] doesn’t think Rosenfels and Jackson are worth a damn."


"If he can’t salvage the situation, he may not be able to save the season. No wonder the Vikings were begging Favre to reconsider, they’d so boxed themselves in he had become their only hope."

The Star Tribune's Jim Souhan

"Jackson and Rosenfels will sheepishly take first-team snaps early in camp, knowing the Vikings preferred a 40-ish serial retiree coming off arm surgery over them."

"Viking players will have to face Jackson and Rosenfels in the locker room and huddle, knowing that the current quarterbacks know that the team's stars were texting love letters to Favre."

Sports Illustrated's Don Banks

"It was the risk they took from Day 1 of the Favre fishing expedition. The failure to land No. 4 means Childress and the rest of the Vikings have to cast their eyes back on quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels and try to convince them that the staff had faith in them all along. I don't care what anyone in Vikings camp says for publication in the coming few days, it's going to be a tough sell. If your boss spent months very publicly trying to replace you, but then couldn't pull it off, job security would not come flooding back to you the day after."

ESPN's Kevin Seifert is mostly moderate, recognizing that Rosenfels and Jackson are professionals and should understand the situation, but writes:

"Jackson and Rosenfels don't have the professional pedigree to justify outrage. But it's never comforting when you start wondering which of your teammates are truly behind you -- or if your bosses put those teammates in a damaging situation by asking them to join the recruiting process."

The Pioneer Press's Tom Powers (who wrongly, in my opinion, believed that a 39 year old QB that led the league in INTs last season, has a recent history of wearing down late in the season, and a long history of throwing interceptions in the playoffs was going to transform the Vikings) writes:

"As camp begins, Vikings coaches and players have to go into damage control. Jackson and Rosenfels, pretty much kicked under the rug all summer, must put their bruised egos aside and compete for the job by default. Several of their teammates were feverishly texting Favre, trying to talk him into joining the Vikings."


"Now it's going to be awkward for the other two guys."

So, it's going to be "awkward" for Jackson and Rosenfels. A player who was benched last season, and a career backup, are going to be somehow offended that the Vikings pursued another quarterback option. Two players who already knew they might not be the 2009 starter will have their confidence shattered because their coaches and teammates considered a different quarterback.

You know what? It might be awkward. But will that have any impact on Rosenfels' or Jackson's on-the-field performance? Rarely do these sportswriters even address this question. As I wrote in May, I think the Vikings' flirtations with Favre will have no impact on the Viking QB's performance in games. They still need to prepare for games, they still need to read defenses, they still need to drop back and throw good passes. Will Brett Favre have any impact on their ability to find open receivers? To throw the ball accurately? I really, really doubt it.

And the Viking players know this. The Star Tribune's Chip Scoggins and Judd Zulgad quote Viking TE Visanthe Shiancoe:

"They have to know that it's a business, and they have to handle it like professionals [...] It's part of the business. It's nothing personal. It's just part of the game."

And the Pioneer Press's Sean Jensen writes:

"Vikings quarterback Sage Rosenfels has a message for his coaches and teammates: Save the explanations.

"Rosenfels said Tuesday that coach Brad Childress and his teammates don't have to say anything to him regarding Brett Favre.

"'I don't think it's necessary because I understand the situation,' said Rosenfels, who noted he hadn't talked to Childress as of early Tuesday evening. 'I've been around the league long enough.

"'I feel no animosity toward players or coaches.'"

Professional athletes always know they can be replaced at any time. Tarvaris Jackson, who was benched last season and saw the Vikings bring in a QB to compete with him for the starting position, knows that. Sage Rosenfels, who has been a backup throughout his career and has never been handed a starting job, knows that. If that knowledge hinders their ability to perform on the field, they are probably not good quarterbacks.

I agree with SI's Peter King:

"As for the Vikings, I disagree with those who say the loss of Favre leaves them mortally wounded. I say they're better at quarterback right now than they were at the close of the 2008 season. That's because Sage Rosenfels has a more accurate downfield arm than Gus Frerotte and more upside at this state of his career than Frerotte. Rosenfels will probably win the training camp battle against Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job. To me, that gives the Vikings a slight edge at quarterback over last year."

King focuses on Rosenfels' ability and what that means for the Vikings, not what emotions Rosenfels might be experiencing. I think that's a reasonable approach.

I'm excited for the Viking season.


  1. Anonymous12:27 PM

    When Peter King is the one who avoids hyping the idiotic non-story, it indicates how low the standards of the profession are. I'm nearly serious: Koko the ape could meet them.

  2. Anonymous12:35 PM

    The story for the Vikings this month is how the Williams legal situation proceeds, and how far Udeze has made it back. I expect Henderson to have made a full recovery, which might end up too optimistic. If those two questions are answered favorably for the Vikings, they may have their best defense since the very best Bud Grant years.

    Come September, we will start to get answers about quarterback and center play. If those turn out just o.k., and the defense fufills it's potential, that's a pretty darned good team.

  3. Did everyone forget that the Vikings WON THE DIVISION LAST YEAR with T-Jack and Frerotte? Favre wasn't the answer. Childress is an idiot.

    What will ESPN report on now, no Favre saga?

    Favre Saga Over, Causing ESPN to Lay Off 25% of its Employees (Satire)

  4. People keep saying that ESPN will have nothing to report on now. That is not true. They will report on every little thing Favre does. They are infatuated, this just gives these guys a reason to start stalking.