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The question is not whether Saquon Barkley is the best running back in this draft class. The question is whether any running back, even one as good as Barkley, warrants a top-five draft selection in the NFL in 2018.

25 Dec 2007

Any Given Sunday: Redskins over Vikings

by Ned Macey

The math was simple. When the Vikings kicked off their prime time contest against the Redskins, a victory would secure a playoff berth. The streaking Vikings had dominated the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense against a series of opponents. Unfortunately, their pass offense struggled, and their poor pass defense made Todd Collins look like Sonny Jurgensen.

The fall guy for the Vikings will likely be Tarvaris Jackson. The second-year quarterback was always the big question mark for the Vikings, as he had no successful track record. His play this year has been, at best, erratic, but the strong run offense and stout defense provided him an 8-2 record. Jackson had, unquestionably, been playing better as the season progressed, but a poor effort on Sunday shows the giant steps he still needs to take.

A week ago, Jackson starting spraying interceptions. After that performance, the Vikings appeared hesitant to trust their quarterback. This lack of trust led to his costing them the game. The Vikings ran on four of their first five first downs. The one pass gained the Vikings only first down of the first quarter. The four runs totaled three yards.

Every Vikings' opponent will first focus on stopping the run. The Redskins stacked the box with eight and sometimes nine defenders. Adrian Peterson is a special runner, but at some point, sheer numerical superiority can overwhelm him. In his last seven games, Peterson has averaged 4.1 yards per carry or less five times.

The change in Peterson happened immediately after his record-setting performance against the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers stubbornly played a conventional defense and were gouged. Teams since that game have played Peterson extremely tough. Through Week 10, he had a DVOA of 23.1%, averaged 6.4 yards per carry, and had a Success Rate of 50%. Since Week 10, he has a DVOA of 3.3%, has averaged 3.8 yards per carry, and has a Success Rate of 32%.

The problem has not been the Minnesota line, as Chester Taylor's numbers are unchanged since Week 10. Peterson has had an injury that cost him some time, but the slippage came before the injury, making the more natural explanation the intense attention paid to him by opposing defenses.

The Vikings simply have to take advantage of defenses devoting such extraordinary resources to stopping their top weapon. Jackson is not a great quarterback, but the Vikings can still win with him. He has a strong, if occasionally inaccurate, arm and is an effective scrambler. (Jackson leads all quarterbacks in rushing value this season.) He played well in the second half on Sunday. Unfortunately, his mistakes had put the Vikings in too big a hole. To win with Jackson, Minnesota needs to build early leads and pound the ball on the ground.

To get those early leads, Jackson needs to protect the football, but the Vikings also cannot continue to struggle in pass defense. The Vikings cannot get consistent pressure on the quarterback with their front four. If they have to bring extra people to blitz, that leaves the defensive backs in man-to-man coverage, where they are at best average. This problem was exacerbated with the injury to cornerback Antoine Winfield.

The Vikings appeared content to leave their cornerbacks in single coverage on the outside. They clearly had little respect for Collins. The lack of deep help forced the Vikings to give too much cushion, and simple outs and comeback routes were open throughout the first half.

Even worse, the Vikings gave up two big first-half pass plays for touchdowns. Minnesota had the best red zone defense in the league, but they allowed the sometimes punchless Redskins to make two big plays in the passing game. The first was a problem with the zone defense where Chris Cooley was able to get behind middle linebacker E.J. Henderson with no safety over the top. Henderson is one of the league's best middle linebackers within five yards of the line of scrimmage, but he can be exposed down the field.

Despite the soft coverage, Collins' performance was impressive. Collins is the personification of the career backup, and people had to be surprised he was still in the league when he took over for an injured Jason Campbell. The veteran is hardly overwhelming from a physical standpoint, but he has held up admirably to this point.

Collins has two primary strengths. First, he is careful with the ball and limits his interceptions. Second, he gets rid of the ball quickly to avoid sacks. Collins has zero interceptions through three starts. He has been sacked only four times despite playing two teams with fierce pass rushes, Giants and Bears. Collins has been sacked only once every 20 dropbacks.

Collins' efficient play is crucial for the somewhat conservative game plan longed for by Gibbs. He is first and foremost a proponent of the ground game. He prefers to pound the ball with Clinton Portis, even if he is having only limited success. This offense is not a quick strike affair, and turnovers allow the opposition to pile up large leads that would be difficult to overcome. In future weeks, the opposition is more likely to respect Collins in the passing game, and time will tell if he can continue to deliver.

One promising development was Washington's deployment of Portis in the passing game. If opposing defenses are gearing up to stop Portis on the ground, it only makes sense to find him in the passing game. Portis already has a career high in receptions, but he has been an even bigger weapon in non-windstorm conditions with Collins at quarterback.

Even if Collins implodes sometime in the next two weeks, the Redskins' three-game winning streak is certainly an inspiring story. The tragic loss of Sean Taylor could have derailed the team and without a doubt had a major negative impact on the field where he was arguably their best defender.

The truth is that the Redskins have continued to stay the course with a bonus win in a high-wind affair against the Giants. Washington beat the teams they should, lost to the teams that are better than them, and split with other .500 teams. They are 3-2 against teams with seven or eight wins. They are 1-5 against teams with more than eight wins and 4-0 against teams with fewer than seven wins. (DVOA considers the ten-win Giants a team that should be roughly .500, making this distinction even stronger.) By simply taking care of the teams they should beat, they control their own destiny for the playoffs.

This pattern would suggest a loss next week in their important match-up with the Cowboys. The good news is that Dallas has clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and may rest a number of starters. Star receiver Terrell Owens is certainly out, and Tony Romo's thumb injury could make the Cowboys cautious. If the Cowboys play a second-tier line-up, the Redskins should take care of them in their methodical manner and return to the playoffs for the second time in the past three seasons.

Minnesota blew their chance to control their own destiny and now need help to make this year's playoffs. Even if they fall short, this season should be viewed as a success. The team is young in the skill positions and likely to improve on offense, and outside of Pat Williams, most of their defensive players are still in their prime. The Vikings have a good chance to win the NFC North if Jackson continues to develop. Unfortunately, their quarterback was not quite mature enough to deliver them to the playoffs this year.

Each Tuesday in Any Given Sunday, Ned Macey looks at the most surprising result of the previous weekend. The NFL sells itself on the idea that any team can win any given game, but we use these surprises as a tool to explore what trends and subtle aspects of each team are revealed in a single game.

Posted by: Ned Macey on 25 Dec 2007

39 comments, Last at 29 Dec 2007, 8:28pm by Pat


by Omar (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2007 - 1:40pm


by Omar (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2007 - 1:41pm

I guess it took a dislocated knee for Coach Joe to realize who their best QB is

by Fergasun (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2007 - 5:12pm

No mention of the Redskins success on the ground against the vaunted Vikings D? I don't think the numbers ended up being overwhelming, but they did not shy away from running up the middle, and Portis was able to effectively cut-back numerous plays... he looked better on turf.

I think the OL finally has settled down, especially since they got Todd Wade out of there and inserted Heyer.

Also, I think you're a bit harsh on T-Jax. His interceptions were awful but the whole team was horrible for the first half... and the defense stayed horrible the whole game.

There's no argument, Sean Taylor was the Redskins best player, not just the best defensive player, he was their best player... he really was getting better this year. I think it's going to take the organization 1 more year mentally to get over that loss... I don't think a team would be any happier to grab the #6 seed in the playoffs.

That said, Brad Johnson holds a deep hatred for the Redskins due to dumping him in 1999 for Jeff George... he'd love nothing more than to knock this team out of the playoffs... and I don't think either team's fanbases wants the Cowboys to lay down.

by Boss Hog (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2007 - 5:47pm

I wonder if the Redskins' late-season run will put a rest to the constant murmurings about their salary cap management leading to lackluster depth. The Skins have lost 13 starters for significant chunks of time (6 are out for the season), and most of them aren't marginal starters: besides Sean Taylor and Jason Campbell, they've also lost key young defenders Carlos Rogers and Rocky McIntosh, plus O-Line stalwarts Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas. And yet with all these losses, they've managed to put themselves in position to make a real late-season run.

The mainstream media loves to punish the Skins for poor free agent signings, and call attention to the Redskins' sojourns in "cap hell." This brain-dead narrative lurches on year after year, even though the Skins somehow manage to bring in new players each offseason. FO's take has been more subtle: Aaron and others have made several posts about how Washington's high priced acquisitions have obliterated their depth (I remember one such note after the Rogers injury). I wonder if the solid play of Redskin backups, from Todd Collins to Reed Doughty (S) to Stephon Heyer (OT) to Lorenzo Alexander (OT & DT) will help FO reassess this "no depth" argument. If it has been at all accurate in the past -- which is, in my mind, uncertain -- it's very clearly not accurate this season. If anything the Skins have played *better* with the backups in place.

by andrew a (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2007 - 6:03pm

Most of the Redskins success running the ball came after Jackson and the Viking's offensive ineptitude had pretty much killed their spirit.

by spotter (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2007 - 7:48pm

what people don't realize about the salary cap, that as long as the cap is going to continue to go up, the redskins will stay in good shape.

They are willing to spend today's money against tomorrow's cap in terms of big bonuses. However, these big bonuses only really will kill the team if the player can't play a decent amount of the contract.

It's pure economic theory. In general money today is worth more than money tomorrow (hence a player might take a slightly smaller salary, if given a bigger signing bonus). But the same thing applies to the salary cap, salary cap space is worth more today than next year. So it's wise to spend against future salary caps if one expects it to continue to rise and the player to fulfill a majority of the contract (so the signing bonus isn't accelerated).

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2007 - 10:39pm

The Vikings run defense is Pat Williams. Period. Everything centers on a player entering his late 30's weighing in excess of 350 lbs to play with fury and purpose.

Darren Sharper is smart but losing speed and quickness due to age.

Jackson has yet to prove that he can perform a straight drop back and consistenttly complete a pass. Qbs cannot live on play-action alone.

And Brad Childress is the head coach. Which is letting Rainman drive on the highway.

Critical positions all. And the window is either passing or never existed.

Hey, I don't make the future. I merely foretell....

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2007 - 12:10am

Todd Collins = Damon Huard/conservative game manager that a Herm Edwards/Joe Gibbs conservative game caller would love to have on his roster. He can just "play smart", run the ball, keep it close and hope to bore/lure the opponent to death into making a critical mistake.

It works when your team is more talented than the opponent ( and old man gibbs doesn't call multiple timeouts in a row) but it is boring as hell for fans.

by 1stPrize2Tickets2ndPrize4Ticket (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2007 - 3:55pm

BadgerT1000: I am so in love/hate with you. The Packer hater in me loves your pointed barbs slung Favre's way. Yet as a recovering Viking fan, your usually-apt derision of Brad Childish hurts me deeply.

Keep up the good work, and may both our teams avoid any Mossey Cade incidents in the future.

by pete (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2007 - 4:13pm

I think the real question I have for the dvoa machine is this, would joe gibbs be wrong to re-insert Jason Campbell into the lineup?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2007 - 6:11pm

Childress is to be criticized for one one thing, and one thing only, but it is a pretty damned big thing: he thought that he could compete against teams with decent talent and coaching on defense, this year, by having Tavaris Jackson, Brooks Bollinger, and later, after late August panic set in, Kelly Holcomb at the qb position. I don't know how an NFL head coach comes to that conclusion. A NFL head coach who outbid the Bucs for Garcia, with the rest of the Vikings roster, would be sitting on a minimum of 10 wins right now, and quite possibly 11 or 12. It is a shame for Vikings fans, really.

Well, I thought 6 wins was the most likely outcome for the Vikings this year, so I can't be too crestfallen. I did have hope that by the kickoff of their 16th game they would not have been eliminated form the playoffs, but due to the Redskins having the early time slot Sunday, and the Vikings the latter, that may not happen. Oh well. I thought the Vikings would have a very tough time against the Redskins with Winfield and Rice and injured, and I was unfortunately correct.

by 1stPrize2Tickets2ndPrize4Tickets (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2007 - 7:10pm

Will--Your wish for the Vikings not to be eliminated from playoff contention before the kickoff of their 16th game has come true, as the Redskins game has been moved to the same 4:15 Eastern time slot.

I bet you wished for something else now, don't you?

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2007 - 7:41pm

I didn't think the Vikings would be this good/mediocre. I guess I didn't think Adrian Peterson would be that great/healthy but then again who outside of Texas/OU really thought so.

I know some jackass will chime and and say they thought Peterson would be this good, but who really saw 300 yard rushing performances etc. as a Backup?

AD really helped negate maybe the worst opening day starting quarterback in the league and possibly a 4-5 win season.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2007 - 7:44pm

The Skins have lost 13 starters for significant chunks of time (6 are out for the season), and most of them aren’t marginal starters

You do realize the places where the Redskins lost players are right where they actually had a few draft picks and traded for players, right? Doughty's a sixth-round draft pick from last year, and Kendall they traded for.

This brain-dead narrative lurches on year after year, even though the Skins somehow manage to bring in new players each offseason

Most articles actually say that the Skins are "closing in on cap hell," not in it. Given that they're mind-blowingly over the cap next year, and a huge amount of that is due to players who can't be cut (they've got like, $40M in their offensive line!) it's fairly obvious that things are getting unpleasant cap-wise for the Skins.

If anything the Skins have played *better* with the backups in place.

Just because you get lucky with a few undrafted free agents doesn't mean it's a good idea in general.

by spotter (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2007 - 11:20pm

Pat, that's not true.

See what the Washington Post's beat reporter wrote about it.


by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2007 - 11:34pm

So who is coaching the redskins next year?

Adult Diaper Gibbs
Al Saunders
Greg Williams
Bill Cower
Write in Vote

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2007 - 11:46pm

See what the Washington Post’s beat reporter wrote about it.

Yes, they won't be over the cap next year. So it's not the 'cap hell' that the Titans went through (the 2004 Titans Defense, bought at 7-11 for a buck and a quarter) - the salary cap, in units of "number of rookie minimum contracts," is just too high at this point. But they won't be able to compete contract-wise with other teams quite as easily.

So they can lop off $25M. So what? They need to lop off $50M to get to where the rest of the league is.

The Redskins are perfectly capable of keeping pace. But while they're an above-average team, they're not a good-to-great team, which means they need to improve, and they don't really have the cap space to do that.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2007 - 12:55am

Do you really think the Redskins are a Lance Briggs, Larry Fitzgerald or Jared Allen away?

Remember a downside of having a team full of free agents is that you don't get them at year 1 of their NFL lives. You are bringing in ( and paying) these guys already along the line and so far they haven't always been getting that same productivity in return ( although sometimes they have).

Springs, Washington, Fletcher/Baker, and some of those O-Lineman aren't getting any younger.

and as long as Jason Campbell is their quarterback, they are handicapped as far as what they can do on offense.

by Nate (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2007 - 2:37am

Campbell aint no Eli, that's for sure.

Also your Damon Huard / game manager analogy, although maybe correct in principle, doesn't take into account that Collins' 3 wins have all been with substantial breathing room. And as a skins fan, I will definitely say they were all exciting as hell to watch.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2007 - 12:26pm

Re: 11

Will, I know you've killed Childress all season for sticking with Jackson this season, but I really think you're being unfair. Prior to this year he'd only played in 4 games, and only started 2 of them. Can you really blame him for wanting to give a second round pick more that two starts before deciding that he was garbage? His previous highly drafted mobile rookie QB didn't start out so hot and giving him a chance to prove himself didn't seem to turn out so bad.

by Aerogopher (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2007 - 2:09pm

I would like to have seen the Vikings use an offensive package with 4 or 5 wide receivers against the Redskin defense. I believe they would be able to run draw plays or quarterback draws as a significant weapon.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2007 - 3:12pm

Re: 21

Maybe they could lease Rich Rodriguez for the next couple weeks and install a spead option for the playoffs. lol

by Cyrus (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2007 - 3:22pm

RE: #3
"That said, Brad Johnson holds a deep hatred for the Redskins due to dumping him in 1999 for Jeff George… he’d love nothing more than to knock this team out of the playoffs… and I don’t think either team’s fanbases wants the Cowboys to lay down."

Interesting. But who does he hate more, the Redskins for dumping him in 1999, or the Vikings for dumping him in 2006?

Because realistically, that is his choice-- if he beats the Redskins, the Vikings can make the playoffs.

I think he would be better served by letting the Redskins win, just to spite the Vikings. Although it will most likely be out of his control.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 12:10am

20- That is my point. Tavaras Jackson was such shit that the guy didn't even deserve a second chance. The guy is a complete turd. Hindsight is 20/20.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 11:04am

Re: 24

So your point is that a headcoach should be able to make a final evaluation of a QB after he starts 2 games in his rookie year?

T.Jackson: 30/54 (55.5%) for 263 yds, 1 TD, 3 INTs, 7 sacks, 3 fumbles

T.Brady: 25/47 (53.2%) for 236 yds, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 5 sacks, 2 fumbles

P.Manning: 42/70 (60.0%) for 490 yds, 2 TDs, 6 INTs, 6 sacks, 1 fumble

These guys are all bums, right Chris? Ohh, that right, hind sight it 20/20. Now if only Minnesota could have found a coach that was able to conquer time travel they probably wouldn't have went with Jackson this year.

Childress, you suck (for not being a time lord)!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 12:53pm

No, I've killed Childress for only having Jackson, Bollinger, and then in a late August panic, Holcomb, as his qb options. If a coach needs time to evaluate a young qb, fine. If a coach has Bollinger as his second option, on a roster otherwise ready to win 12 games, that's not good. I've stated all along that Jackson was likely the best of the three, but that's the problem; Childress obviously overestimated the likelihood that Jackson would be ready, and just as importantly, that Bollinger could be a viable option.

Now, I've also stated that the one mitigating factor in defense of Childress would be is if he quietly made inquiries with Garcia's agent, and was told that there were no circumstances under which Garcia would play in Minnesota. I don't think that happened, although I obviously can't be sure of that.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 1:20pm

Re: 26

I'm still not sure how much blame you can lay on Childress for not intentionally creating a QB-controversy in the second year of his young QB career. I think you have to give the kid a little more leeway than bringing in a veteran free-agent after just 2 career starts.

If they go into next season without a viable backup, then sure, go ahead and run Childress out of town. I'm just saying that I think he needs a mulligan for this year.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 1:45pm

Well, I'm never in favor of firing a coach unless you have a very good idea regarding the replacement. Having said that, there ain't any mulligans in the NFL. A team that has the talent to win 12, except for the qb position, can't go into August with a guy who completed fewer than 60% of his passes at a Division 1-AA school as recently as 2005, and Brooks Bollinger, because that is terrible risk analysis. When you are trading for Kelly Holcomb in the last week of August, and it isn't due to injury, you have utterly failed in one of the most important tasks for an NFL head coach, which is assessing your talent at qb.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 1:53pm

Also, the whole notion of how a qb contoversy is bad for a young qb is overblown. What is bad for a young qb is being continually sent into situations in which he is clearly and totally overmatched. An otherwise good team needs a better option than Brooks Bollinger.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 6:30pm

Now, I’ve also stated that the one mitigating factor in defense of Childress would be is if he quietly made inquiries with Garcia’s agent, and was told that there were no circumstances under which Garcia would play in Minnesota.

I dunno, I can't blame Childress that much. I don't really see a huge difference between Holcomb and Garcia. Yeah, Garcia's a bit better, but Minnesota would've struggled with Garcia at QB with that receiver set.

Tampa Bay's best receiver is Joey Galloway, who's typically been about as good as he was this year. (In 2005, with Griese and Simms as QB, he was almost exactly the same as this year). In other words, Garcia didn't improve Galloway. Ike Hilliard's also bounced around where he is this year, too.

So I don't think Garcia in Minnesota would've really improved things that much. The idea that the Vikings are just a QB away might be a bit optimistic. They need receivers, too.

Yes, Sidney Rice looks like a good receiver, but first, the Vikings certainly didn't know that at the beginning of the year, and second, it's tough to say how he would've responded with an increased workload.

Holcomb, in his few limited games, was about an average QB (0.6% DVOA, believe it or not). I'm not sure Garcia would've been significantly better - and given that Garcia's missed games this year, it's hard to say "well, Garcia would've been healthier."

by Jeff J. (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 7:08pm

I can't speak for all Skins fans, but I've found the Collins era to be extremely exciting. And no, I don't think there's a future QB controversy. Campbell is the starter for the future. Now if he's healthy come playoff time, I'd let him sit as Collins has a hot hand and the team doesn't have time for Jason's natural rustiness to wear off.

There's a great article today by Michael "I Was Wrong About Sean" Wilbon re: the great leadership of Gibbs. My hat's off to a coach leading a season for the novels.

by Boss Hog (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 7:30pm

Pat, I guess I don't understand your point. First of all, if we're still just "approaching" cap hell, how come we haven't reached it yet? It's been seven years coming.

On a larger level, You're criticizing the Skins, fundamentally, for building through free agency, and then at the same time busting their chops for not having the requisite cap room to, uh, build through free agency. How does that make sense? Why do we need to be $25 mill UNDER the cap?

When we whittle down our salaries to get under the cap next year, it's reasonable to expect that we'll have enough cash to bring in at least one above-average (and ideally youngish) veteran -- possibly two. And no, I'm not suggesting that Jared Allen will take us to 12-4, but we WILL get another year for our young people (Campbell, Landry, the D-Linemen, etc) to mature, and to load up with a full draft slate. We do have a lot of veterans, but most of the key ones have at least two more solid years in the tank.

The thing that dampens my optimism about the Skins' future is not our financial situation but the death of Sean Taylor and the devestating ACL/MCL injuries to Carlos Rogers and Rocky McIntosh. Losing three of your four best young players in one season (with their returns uncertain), I submit, would be a costly blow to any non-Patriot/Colt team, regardless of cap situation.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 7:32pm

Holcomb is a statue at this stage of his career, which no longer is a charateristic that is tolerable in an NFL qb, especially with substandard receivers. It simply is too easy to stunt against such a qb. He was also every bit as inaccurate as Jackson, with much less velocity. The Kansas City game was lost when Holcomb missed wide open receivers well downfield. Garcia is still accurate and can still move, which is a huge improvement over Holcomb, and a significant improvement over Jackson.

I don't think the Vikings are a qb away. I think that this season, playing this schedule, better qb play in the form of Garcia, this year, would now have the Vikings sitting on a minimum of 10 wins, and possibly as many as 12. They still wouldv'e been whipped in the playoffs, of course.

I really don't think any stats, even the advanced stats here, do a good job of consistently capturing qb play. By DVOA, one would think that Holcomb gave the Vikings a better chance to win than Jackson, and that's simply not even close to being true.

Look, I'm not the biggest Childress basher in the world. I think a lot of the criticism directed at him, from playcalling, to which players he has on the field, to how he interacts with players, is mostly nonsense. However, when you go with, two years in a row for back up qbs, to non-superstar starters, Mike McMahon and Brooks Bollinger, there's a decent chance that the qb evaluation skills are deficient.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 9:08pm

25- I have complained about Jackson since day 1. It isn't even a question of "if" he sucks, that guy will continue to suck because he couldn't even play D1 college football and is mechanically a mess. People bash me because I said that Tavaras Jackson is a lost cause POS and now people say things like " I never liked him anyway, I just thought he deserved a shot". I think he sucks so bad that he didn't deserve a shot. He shouldn't have been drafted in round 2 anyway.

Garcia would have been perfect for Minny and yes, they could have easily been a playoff team but I don't think Holcomb was that bad of an option either. The problem was bringing him in a week before the season. How the hell is he supposed to get accustomed to his receivers, his offensive language, the plays etc. after a week? If they brought in Holcomb last march then they could have been better off too. Even an average Holcomb could have had this team a couple of wins better and in the playoffs.

Tavaras Jackson can't even run the conservative boring martyball offense. He belongs in Canada.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 9:27pm

Chris, any credibility you seek to gain by touting your call on Jackson (and keep in mind that saying "he sucks" about any new to the league qb will be right the vast majority of the time, even 2nd rounders), is utterly lost when you start touting Kelly Holcomb. He can't play, period. You don't need time to avoid overthrowing, by fifteen yards, wide open receivers 30 yards downfield.

by DC (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 9:31pm

Ahh, Chris, Canada is also where Jeff Garcia got his start in professional football.

If you're saying Jackson needs to go play in the CFL to get some seasoning before playing QB in the NFL someday, I get your joke.

But if you're saying Jackson sucks so bad, that the CFL is the only place where he could play, go ask Garcia, Joe Theisman and Warren Moon what they think playing in the CFL did for their professional development. It ain't that bad of a football league.

by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 12/29/2007 - 11:40am

Well even if saying most rookies would "suck" and you'd be right the vast majority of time, I was right this time while other people said " give him a chance". I am not saying it is some bold call but a lot of people were saying " give him a chance", John Elways sucked in his first year blah blah blah. No, he doesn't deserve a chance and for Childress to put so much faith in him he should be punished.

Holcomb has had some good games in his career. Asking him to step in and performe basically off the street isn't fair to evaluate him. If he had been there the whole time I think the guy could perfom at least below average and this team could have won the 1-2 more games they needed for the post season.

Holcomb did miss some targers, but it was better than your starting quarterback throwing the ball out of bounds into the stands unintentionally, or the whole " throwing the ball away in bounds right in the middle of the field", or the " throw the ball like a grenade while defenders are sacking me".

DC- A couple of quarterbacks played in the CFL and made it but 95% maybe even 99% don't make it.

Honestly, If Jackson were on most teams he would be their 3rd string " developmental" quarterback. You have your older starter/young backup or younger starter with the older backup and then a more raw prospect. Jackson would be that guy.

Jackson couldn't even make the Eagles with Mcnabb, Feeley and Kolb etc. The bum should go try out Europe, Arena, CFL or maybe see if he could get back into college and try playing D1 for a change. I think Matt Jones left Arkansas so maybe he could go try and play quarterback because that receiver left.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 12/29/2007 - 1:47pm

No, Chris, Holcomb was four weeks into his time on the Vikings (and he was never on "the street") when he was wildly overthrowing wide open receivers. It had nothing to do with familiarity, and everything to do with the fact that he is finished. Sonny Jurgenson had some great games. Should the Vikings sign him?

If your call on Jackson was no great shakes, why do you constantly insist on mentioning it? Here's a clue. If you want to mention your successes in evaluating qbs, here's how you do it with something that is worth reading: Over the next five years, don't tell us which drafted guys will suck, but rather tell us which ones will be good. If you can pick out the success stories ahead of time with 95% accuracy, that will be impressive. Until then, what you have written is no more useful than those who write, "We'll have to wait and see.".

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 12/29/2007 - 8:28pm

Pat, I guess I don’t understand your point. First of all, if we’re still just “approaching” cap hell, how come we haven’t reached it yet? It’s been seven years coming.

As a practical matter, it's pretty much impossible to reach it nowadays. The salary cap is just too high, and increases too much each year. That doesn't mean that you can't still approach it (and also doesn't mean the Redskins wouldn't be in trouble if the NFL economy slows down). They're just piling more and more money into prorated salaries each year, which means a constant high level of dead cap space.

On a larger level, You’re criticizing the Skins, fundamentally, for building through free agency, and then at the same time busting their chops for not having the requisite cap room to, uh, build through free agency. How does that make sense? Why do we need to be $25 mill UNDER the cap?

To actually try to acquire decent players in the free market if they're needed, instead of being forced to trade for them. You don't need to build through free agency, but every team needs to acquire pieces every once in a while.

Without a bit of headroom to absorb the high cost plus inevitable overpayment, you end up having to either trade away draft picks, or settle for lower-tier free agents where there isn't as much of a demand.

Also as a practical matter, teams really need to be a good $10M under the cap to deal with problems that arise during the season.