The King is Dead, Long Live The King: Another QB Bites The Dust!

Justin ZuckerCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2008

I love this term: “He is our quarterback of the future”.  It truly is priceless.  In the sports world today, the future is about as relevant as the past.  Haven’t we learned that the past is history, and the future never comes? 


This is a win now society.  Free agency caused that long ago.  From team to team, and city to city, players will come and go.  The one thing constant is change.  I once saw a fabulous billboard in Baltimore, it read:  “Death, Taxes, and Cal Ripken”.  I loved it.  But alas, even Cal had to move on.


Tarvaris Jackson is the latest QB casualty.  This begs two questions.  What took you so long and why now?  Nothing really changed in Tarvaris Jackson.  What changed were the expectations of the team.  In other words, Minnesota was expected to win this year.  If they don’t, guess what?  Brad Childress won’t have a future in Minnesota.


Tarvaris Jackson was a 2nd round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft out of Alabama State.  Since then, he has appeared in 18 NFL games.  His career numbers, in a nutshell:


248/434, 57.1%, 2,694 yards, 6.2 yards per attempt, 12 TD, 17 INT’s, 68.5 rating


His numbers for 2008:


30/59, 50.8%, 308 yards, 5.2 yards per attempt, 1 TD, 1 INT, 64.8 rating


You are what you are.  This is what he is.  At no point did he show any more than this.  The only positive critique I heard about Jackson was that he was good outside of the pocket.  This just in:  You need more than that to be a successful QB in the NFL. 


But I don’t want this to be a critique of Tarvaris.  It’s a critique on Brad Childress, on the talent scouts, and for thinking we are all stupid fans.


I will say it again.  The future never comes.  You must win today.  Coaches know it.  If they don’t win today they will not have a job in “the future”.  Players know it.  NFL player’s careers are very short.  And if that newly drafted QB does not show signs within 2 or 3 years, chances are they won’t ever be “the guy”.  It’s sad but true. 


Coaches know that you play the best 11 men that you have for each game.  That means putting the best men on the field, and putting them in the best possible scenario to succeed.  If your best guy is Gus Frerotte, or Tarvaris Jackson, then you play them.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to commit to them for the rest of the season, and certainly not for the rest of your career. 


Brad Childress just anointed Gus Frerotte as the starting QB for the remainder of the season.  His numbers are eerily similar to Tarvaris Jackson.  54.2% completion rate, 6.8 yards per attempt, 74.3 rating.  What happens if, as usual, he is what he is?  He is a journeyman for a reason.  Why would you commit to such a thing?  What will it look like if you HAVE to make a change?  Good luck with that.    


There are very few franchise quarterbacks in this league.  In fact, there are probably less than 10 depending on your definition.  Those are the guys that you hang onto for dear life.  The players you commit to.  Players like Manning, Brady, Romo, Roethlisberger, etc.  (Don’t kill me, that list isn’t meant to be all inclusive!)  Those are the franchise type quarterbacks.  Those are the quarterbacks of today, and the future.  The guys you live and die with. 


Criticize Jon Gruden all you want.  He knows this all too well.  That’s why he “collects” quarterbacks.  If he had a franchise QB he wouldn’t collect them.  And he does not commit to a QB that doesn’t deserve the commitment.


So please, let’s stop the “future” nonsense.  You need to win today, and you need to protect your future the best you can.  Otherwise, in the future, you will find yourself in the booth.