MINNEAPOLIS — In the wake of Brett Favre spraining his throwing shoulder on Sunday in a 38-14 win against Buffalo, it’s clear that Tarvaris Jackson has to be the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.
It’s far too late as it is — the change should have come the day after Favre’s last three-interception game, or the day Leslie Frazier took over as interim head coach — but better late than never.
Jackson would have never played as poorly as an old, beat-up and broke-down Favre has. Jackson’s worst 10-game stretch of his career pales to the monstrosity Favre produced through the first 10 weeks this season (10 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 5 fumbles lost, 69.6 rating). Favre has said he is out in 2011; Jackson, had this situation been handled correctly, could have been a nice part of the future, though I wouldn’t blame him for going elsewhere as a free agent next year.
Jackson is spry and alive, energetic and enthusiastic, all the things the Favre-led Vikings haven’t been. Jackson’s mobility is a new threat, opening up the game for deep balls to Sidney Rice and creating running lanes for Adrian Peterson. Jackson’s athleticism bails out an offensive line that hasn’t come close to playing to its 2009 standards.
I watched the Vikings limp to a win over Detroit at home in Week 3 and called for the move to bench Favre then. They needed a spark. They needed a quarterback who could create run-pass option looks. They needed a quarterback who would more easily defer to the run game.
If nothing else, give Jackson the final month of the season to show what he can do — if not for you, then for the rest of the league. I happen to think he can play a little bit, and this team should have started thinking about the future long ago.
After Sunday’s win, interim coach Leslie Frazier said Favre will start next week if healthy. But I’d tell Favre on Monday he’s the backup. Let him take a Cal Ripken-esque victory lap around the stadium before kickoff next week.
Then start playing the quarterback who would have given you the best chance to win all along.