What Would Buddy Do?
So how bad was Tavaris Jackson? Bad, but not alone.
Posted on January 8th, 2009 at 3:16 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

The prevailing wisdom amongst the national blogerati is that the Vikings lost to the Eagles because of the poor quarterback play of Tavaris Jackson.  Since the “woefully inept” Jackson couldn’t get it done against the Birds, the Vikings will need to kick him to the curb and think about starting someone else next September.

The flip side of this argument is that the Eagles’ victory Sunday is somehow cheapened because they only beat Tavaris Jackson, who surely isn’t a competent NFL quarterback, and that things will change significantly against the Giants.

Things may change significantly against the Giants, and Jackson wasn’t very good against the Eagles.  But, how bad was he?  Was his performance all about his badness, or might it have something to do with the relative goodness of the Eagles’ pass defense?

Some quick stats on Tavaris reveals this was definitely a bad game for him, especially in the context of how well he’d been playing over the past month:


So yeah, it was pretty terrible out there for Tavaris on Sunday.  He’d faced playoff teams the three previous weeks (all “trying” at different levels, but still, this is the NFL, and Tampa can lose to Oakland as a 13.5-point favorite), and had played well against each.  But against the Birds he was awful: a passer rating that was nearly half his previous worst effort, and a horrifying 4.69 yards per attempt.

Still, as bad as Tavaris might have been against the Eagles, maybe the problem wasn’t Tavaris himself.  Maybe the problem was the opponent he was facing.  Check out the stats for Jackson versus the previous five QBs to play the Birds:


So yeah, it still doesn’t look pretty, especially if we discount the Ken Dorsey row.  But it’s not like anyone has played well against the Eagles’ pass defense in the past six weeks.  Eli managed the best rating of the bunch, at 73.5 — and most of that came against the clock-killing prevent defense from the Birds.  Also note that two of those guys (Eli and Kurt Warner) made the Pro Bowl.

The big takeaway is that Tavaris shouldn’t feel too too badly about his performance on Sunday, if only because he wasn’t alone in struggling against what is a very stout Eagles defense.  And for those who view the Eagles’ victory against the Vikings as somehow empty because of Jackson’s lousy play/ woeful ineptitude, well, turns out that the Birds probably had a lot to do with Jackson’s performance.  Both Tavaris and the Eagles defense are probably a bit better than what they’re getting credit for.

Comments so far:

Link Here | January 9, 2009,

First off - has Derek taken over here? What’s up with the fancy charts?

Secondly, I think this game was kind of ironic for Jackson and the Yikes. I think his biggest problem was that he lacked the necessary experience to thrive in an intense playoff setting. As such, had the Yikes not benched him for most of the season he would likely have been much more prepared and capable of handling that situation. However, had they not benched him and continued to play the lousy football they were playing at the start of the season, they never would have been in that game.

Bottom line (and not unlike Kolb) Jackson has the physical skills to be a quarterback in the NFL but he’s probably gonna have to suck for a while to gain the mental skills to do the job well. The problem is that they can’t really wait for him to come around. They are just going to have to hope he can pull it off on the run. The two extreme trajectories are Payton Manning and Patrick Ramsey. The good news is he’ll be a rich man either way.

Comment by Wilbert Montgomery

Link Here | January 9, 2009,

Whoa whoa whoa. Whilst Derek certainly has the market cornered on fancy charts, let is never be said that I’ve shied away from bending stats to flatter the Birds.

See here: http://www.thatkidinthecorner.com/mt/thatkid/archives/2004/10/the_most_domina.html

Comment by Cheesesteak Hoagie |

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