Over the past few weeks we’ve used a series of blog entries to take a detailed look at some key position battles that will take place during training camp. The positions we’ve looked at so far are RT, nickel back, WR, backup DT and backup LB. This morning we’re going to finish the “Analyzing Position Battles” series by taking a look at what will be the highest-profile position battle during this training camp – the QB position.
Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels will battle over the next month or so for the job of starting QB. Jackson is entering his 4th season with the Vikings while Rosenfels, who was acquired via trade earlier this offseason, is preparing for his 1st season with the Purple.
At this point, there really is no favorite in the race. You can take each candidate and make a good case for why they should be the starting QB. Ultimately, though, Jackson and Rosenfels will be judged on how they perform over the next few weeks in camp and in preseason games.
Taking a look at Jackson, you’ve got a great athlete with physical tools that are impressive. Yes, fans recongize his ability to escape the pocket, tuck the ball and pick up yardage and 1st downs on the ground. But his actual #1 trait might be his arm strength. It’s hard to describe with words – you’ve got to actually see Jackson throw a pass to see how strong of an arm he has. Jackson has shown us flashes of brilliance, such as the final 4 games of the 2008 season. But he has generally struggled to establish a consistent standard of play, and as we know from what Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress has said, establishing a standard and making the routine plays routinely is what the Vikings are looking for from their starting QB.
While Rosenfels’ arm might not be quite as strong, his ability to pass the ball should not be overlooked. He has more than enough arm strength to win the starting job. Now we want to see how accurate he can be in game situations. You tend not to worry about Rosenfels establishing a consistent standard of play. He’s approached this situation with the right mindset, determined to succedd and determined to fit in with this team and help the Vikings improve by whatever means necessary. The question is, will his standard of play be good enough to win the job? On one hand you might say he’s been in the league for 8 years, yet he hasn’t been able to lock down a starting job. But on the other hand, if you take a look at his past you’ll see that he’s actually caught some bad breaks and he might just be an 8-year veteran who has finally found the right opportunity to take over a starting job.
No matter how you look at it, or who you might favor based on past results, this is truly a position battle that is yet to be determined. Can Jackson improve his pocket presence and capitalize on his tremendous athletic ability? Can Rosenfels get acquainted to his new team, showcase his consistency and display a comparable physical ability to Jackson? These are questions that will play out over the next few weeks, and they’re questions the Vikings coaching staff will have to make a judgment on in order to pick their starter.
Tags: Sage Rosenfels
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