When Tarvaris Jackson left Seattle for Buffalo at the beginning of last season there probably weren’t many Seahawks fans lining up at the airport to beg him to stay. In fact, he probably would have found more people willing to help him pack.
From a statistical standpoint, Jackson didn’t play terribly as a starter for the Seahawks in 2011. Throwing for over 3000 yards and fourteen touchdowns is nothing to scoff at. Unfortunately, Jackson never was able to evolve into the quarterback that could put the Seahawks over the top. Thankfully, that job has been passed on to Russell Wilson.
But after an impressive performance against the San Diego Chargers (yes, I know it’s the preseason) let’s take a look at five reasons to like the second coming of Tarvaris Jackson.
1. He’s Cheap
Last year at this time, the Seahawks had a $26 million contract with Matt Flynn ($10 million guaranteed). In return, Flynn ended up with a front row seat to the Russell Wilson show. This year, the Seahawks will pay Tarvaris Jackson $840,000 for the same seat. With free agency looming for some of Seattle’s most important players in the next couple of years, nabbing a capable back-up quarterback for an economical price is a reason to celebrate.
2. He’s Been A Starter
Having an untested back-up quarterback seems to be a recipe for disaster (I’m looking at you Jets). Any time a back-up quarterback is used it usually is a hectic situation. Under those circumstances, it’s better to have a back-up that has spent a considerable amount of time under center. Between Minnesota and Seattle, Jackson has seen plenty of action as a starting quarterback. That experience could be crucial if he’s called upon at a moment’s notice.
3. He’s Pressure Free
In 2011, Jackson was expected to lead a young and talented team to greener pastures. That kind of pressure doesn’t sit well with everyone. It’s possible that some of the decision making trouble Jackson encountered that season can be attributed to that pressure (I’m only saying it’s possible). This season, if Jackson sees the field, expectations will be fairly low. No one expects the back-up quarterback to win the Super Bowl for you. Low expectations could allow Jackson to play loose and let the game come to him.
4. He’s Among Friends
Although Tarvaris Jackson has played on three NFL teams, he has spent the majority of his career with Darrell Bevell as his offensive coordinator. At this point, Bevell knows what he has with Jackson and he won’t ask him to do more than he is capable of. Furthermore, Jackson is well versed in the ways of a Darrell Bevell offense and he won’t miss a beat if he’s asked to play. Throw in his on-again off-again teammate Sidney Rice and you have to like Jackson’s comfort level with this team.
5. He’s A Coin Flip
Ideally, a backup quarterback should not be expected to lead their team for an extended period of time. If a starting quarterback goes out for the season, it usually means that teams hopes are all but dashed. However, if throughout the course of a season a starting quarterback is lost for a few weeks, you want a back-up that can give you at least a fifty-fifty chance of winning the games they start in order to keep your team competitive. For all his faults, Jackson can give a team a chance to win. He’s been inconsistent, but if he were consistent we wouldn’t be talking about him playing backup. He would be a starter. If Russell Wilson goes down (knock on wood) Jackson is a solid fifty-fifty alternative.
While Jackson’s turn as a Seahawks starter may not have worked out, it’s looking more than likely that he will beat out Brady Quinn for the back-up job in Seattle. But honestly, let’s hope that neither of them are asked to take the place of Russell Wilson this season. Seriously, somebody please knock on wood.