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The Log Jam at QB

Over the last three pre-season games, Viking fans got a good glimpse of what life without Brett Favre might resemble. Quite sobering really. While Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels are very capable, even excellent NFL backup quarterbacks, they are not, (and this is the part that might be a shock to our readers)… Brett Favre.

So it was in the opening version of this new season, as the keys to the Limo were given to these two to compete for the role of driver until the Mississippi gunslinger takes over and hands one of them a baseball cap and a clip board. His bad ankle has spontaneously regenerated over the last two weeks, just in time to appear for 4 plays in game # 2 before taking over as starter in game # 3 and from now on (Barring injury).

A good thing in my humble opinion. Because from where I sit, this Viking squad looks to be the most complete and talented version in years… perhaps ever. Built to go deep into the playoffs…as long as #4 is on board.

Let’s take a look at the QB situation as is:

Exhibit A

– Tarvaris Jackson

Positives: Great athlete, cannon arm. Can make all the deep and intermediate throws. Can merely flick the wrist and the ball is 40-50 yards downfield. Is mobile, has quick, nervous feet. Is a huge threat to flee the pocket and kill the opponent with his legs. Has great natural gifts. He is strong, quick and works like a dog. Takes constructive criticism well and is very coachable. Has been patient in waiting for his opportunity and wants to be “Great”. Has good natural leadership skills.

Negatives: Not a natural read and react type. He has to see, process then implement his actions rather than displaying instant reactions to situations. No wonder defensive coordinators throw multiple blitzes packages at him in an effort to confuse.

There is Hope: He is much quicker to process info then earlier in career. Sheer repetition and experience has allowed the game to slow down for him. His short passes have little touch and they tend to sail. He throws a very “heavy ball”. He has a disturbing tendency to lose his mechanics under pressure and still doesn’t step properly into every throw. Tends to lock stubbornly on receivers and rarely goes past his second option. Prone to panic. Not instinctive….doesn’t read defenses nor pick up defensive shifts smoothly. Does not like to call “audibles”. Relies too much on his strong arm and will force the ball into tight coverage. He needs a tight leash and can get wildly out of control if he is not constantly structured. Doesn’t have a “Natural” throwing motion. His shoulder needs a long wind-up and his elbow to wrist leverage point is very long causing the ball to sail and contributing to his inaccuracy.

Overall: Jackson continues to improve. It is merely a question of whether his outstanding athleticism can overcome his mechanical flaws and lack of instincts. He is a better fit in a wide open vertical passing attack then in the precision West Coast offense.

Exhibit B

– Sage Rosenfels

Positives: Much more poised then earlier in his career and can read defenses well. A classic pocket passer who will stand in against the rush and delivers a soft catchable ball. Above average accuracy. Doesn’t force the ball into tight coverage. Is solid overall and doesn’t make many mistakes. Good fit for the West Coast offense employed by the Vikings. Much more accurate on short and intermediate routes then when throwing deep.

Negatives: Puts too much air under the ball, allowing defenders to recover. Doesn’t always see the entire field and will not always pick up on the deep receiver unless that is his first option. Tends to lock on to receivers too long. Throws INT’s in bunches. Has a tendency to allow mistakes to carry over. Needs to develop a shorter memory in terms of bad plays.

Exhibit C

– Joe Webb

Positives:  Off the chart athleticism. Good NFL arm and can make all the throws. Has not reached his peak, and with time and patience, could become a very good NFL quarterback.

Negatives: Raw, Raw, Raw… Comes from a small school that did not run a pro style offense.

The Vikings may not have the luxury of keeping him unless they feel his upside is high enough to release either Jackson or Rosenfels. But given Brad Childress’s fondness for quarterback development, nothing here would be a surprise. My guess is that the team doesn’t make the final decision until the last moment. No sense trying to sneak him past waivers and onto the practice squad as Brad Childress realizes he will never get through without being claimed.

So it really comes down to a whether Brad Childress feels that the potential of Joe Webb is just too good to pass up and are willing to gamble that Brett Favre doesn’t go down and there may be a need to go as deep as a third QB, and if so, who goes between Jackson and Rosenfels?  My personal feeling is that T. Jax has made great strides in terms of maturity, poise and the ability to read defenses. He looks more comfortable in the pocket and shows patience in allowing the play to develop. However, rumor has it that the team prefers Rosenfels as the back-up because of his accuracy and a tendency to commit fewer turnovers.


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6 Responses to “The Log Jam at QB”

  1. Zag says:

    This is a tough one.

    I would definitely keep Webb. He’ll have a year under Favre to study, and hopefully he can lead us in the future.

    But it’s a toss-up when it comes to TarVar and Sage. Sage has surprised me in the preseason, and Tarvaris has not.

    Sage is the quintessential backup QB, in my opinion. Solid, not amazing, but trustworthy enough to put in if the #1 goes down.

    I would trade Tarvaris simply because… how long does it take to develop a QB? For pete’s sake! Sage is a backup and he knows it. Tarvaris has been waiting to ascend the throne permanently and still is not ready to start.

    I’d go with the solid backup QB who is a thinker, rather than a 5 year developmental prospect who doesn’t make good decisions, and who still isn’t ready to go after all that time.

  2. Zag says:

    I would also like to mention that I would keep Webb around for a second reason: there’s always the chance you could move him back to receiver for next season.

  3. c.carterhof says:

    I bet they keep all 4.

  4. They don’t demand a response so your ex can respond if they want, but they won’t really feel pressured
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