Monday, August 20, 2012

Why Tarvaris Jackson Makes Sense for the Packers

If there is one thing we can conclude, it’s that Packers’ GM Ted Thompson understands the definition of insanity which is essentially doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.  Over the past 5 years, he has relied primarily on the draft and undrafted free agency to back fill his roster.  He has been chided by fans everywhere for not pulling the trigger on possible free agents or trades that could have potentially bettered the team.  The most recent such case was back in 2010 when the Pack had just lost starting RB Ryan Grant in the season opener.  With James Starks unknown and several weeks away from being healthy, that left Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn, Corey Hall and Quinn Johnson at the RB/FB position.  Rumors began to fly about the Buffalo Bills wanting to move one of their running backs and that Marshawn Lynch was on the trading block.  Adding fuel to that fire was the fact that AJ Hawk was used very sparingly in week 1 versus the Eagles that year.  The following week, Buffalo came to Green Bay and everyone sat on the edge of their seat, waiting.

That game came and went.  No deal.  Another several weeks passed by.   Still no deal.  Trade deadline approached and suddenly, Lynch was a Seahawk.  Packer fans were up in arms.  Why not add a potent piece to complement Rodgers and Co’s passing game?  Low and behold, the Pack won a Super Bowl anyway and there was some merit added to Thompson’s method.  Just when Pack fans were getting behind this theory, Thompson has added 2 big-name free agents this offseason in Jeff Saturday and Cedric Benson.  Both are expected to start and solidify positions that saw the incumbent starters not return (Scott Wells and Ryan Grant).   Thompson was clearly disappointed with the way last season ended and knew he had to do something different to make 2012 any more successful.

After 2 preseason games, it’s clear that there are more questions than answers in Graham Harrell as backup QB.  If Rodgers goes down, it’s fair to say Pack fans will be less than optimistic that Harrell can create the same output that former backup QB Matt Flynn did.  Now Flynn had his share of struggles before becoming the very able-bodied backup QB that he was.  Harrell has surely struggled and made several questionable decisions with the ball during his 2 live auditions.  He has a long way to go before he can truly be counted on to be the team’s #2.  That’s why it’s not a bad idea to take a long look at Tarvaris Jackson when he likely becomes available later this week.

Jackson, once the heir apparent to Brad Johnson in Minnesota with the Vikings, has spent 6 years in the NFL and has started many games but has never been the full time starter for an entire season.  He was seemingly on his way to gaining the team’s backing as their QB of the future when Brett Favre became available in 2009.  Jackson was shelved and spent the next 2 years watching the team yo-yo from an NFC championship appearance to a 3rd place finish in 2010.  He wasn’t brought back by the Vikes and he became a free agent.  Last year, he signed with and started 14 games for Seattle.  He has had his share of issues with consistency.  He is an athletic QB but he’s not quite mobile enough to make a living at it like a Michael Vick or Cam Newton.  He hasn’t had much success throwing from the pocket.  Based on that, what you have is a career backup who isn’t horrible but is never likely going to be great.  He has enough experience to get in there and know how to take command of the huddle.  What fans around the league say is that he can’t win games.  His win/loss record isn’t great but remember that the best-case scenario surrounding a backup QB is that he never plays.  The team doesn’t need “great” but they do need the potential for “good”.  Right now, Graham Harrell hasn’t shown enough to warrant the “good” label yet.  With BJ Coleman nothing but practice squad material, it would be wise for the Pack to consider adding Jackson as a safety net.  Aaron Rodgers has had concussion issues in the past and with the new league rules governing how those are handled, it’s conceivable that he could miss a game or 2 this season.  God forbid that happen in late December/early January.  Roster spots are an important thing to manage and the team could likely use some depth in other areas but no position is more important than the QB.  The team will have an interesting decision facing them if Jackson is released as he is expected to be.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

 - Jason Perone (@WSB_Jason)

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1 comment:

  1. Rumors began to fly about the Buffalo Bills wanting to move one of their running backs and that Marshawn Lynch was on the trading block. Great stuff