After three preseason games, my eyes tell me that Sage Rosenfels is ahead of Tarvaris Jackson in the competition to be the #2 quarterback behind Brett Favre.
Forget about stats. I’m just talking about the way the offense functions when Tarvaris is in the game vs. when Sage is in. To put it bluntly: When T-Jack is behind center, the offense resembles a sputtery, leaking, shuddering clunker that’s ready for the junkyard. When Sage is in, it looks dinged up and not very pretty but functional enough to get you from A to B.
It seems to me that this glaringly wide gulf between levels of performance would mean something to the whole process of determining who stands where on the depth chart. But, obviously, Brad Childress has a different opinion on that.
As far as Childress is concerned, Tarvaris is still the #2 quarterback, and nothing short of debilitating injury could move him from that slot. Sage Rosenfels could throw for 400 yards in two quarters with 5 touchdowns and he would still be the #3 quarterback.
This seems insane. However, according to Chilly, what guys do in preseason games isn’t all that important. How they look in practice – when, conveniently, no one else gets to watch – is much more vital to the evaluation process.
“Right from the first day of training camp, I’ve seen just an evolution and I’ve seen a growth in Tarvaris,” Childress explains. “Not that I haven’t seen it from Sage — he’s been the beneficiary of having that extended [preseason] time, where he was able to flash.”
I’ll give Childress this – at least he’s consistent. Every off-season since Tarvaris was drafted we’ve heard the same story about how he’s evolving, growing, maturing. However, when it comes time for him to actually play quarterback in games, he somehow never manages to show all this growth and evolution. He always ends up looking like the same hopeless mess he’s always been.
But, I admit, I am not privy to what goes on in practice. Maybe, if I watched Tarvaris in those sessions, I would also see the brilliant field general Childress insists he is. Maybe, if I got a peek behind the curtain, I would also learn to have absolute faith in T-Jack.
And then I would be able to understand how it makes sense to dangle Sage Rosenfels as trade bait while essentially declaring Tarvaris Jackson untouchable. Well, actually, I do see how that makes sense: because Sage has some value, while T-Jack has almost none.
Evidently, among all the coaches and personnel gurus in the NFL, only Brad Childress is able to see what makes T-Jack so special. But that doesn’t matter because, even if someone else wanted him, Childress would never give him up.
So, T-Jack is our back-up. And if something should happen to our gimpy, aging, ever-more-pessimistic Hall-of-Famer, all our hopes will ride on the guy who got benched for Gus Frerotte two years ago, and couldn’t crack the line-up again until Gus broke his back.
And people wonder why we worry.