For two years, Brad Childress has tied his fate directly to the development of Tarvaris Jackson. But maybe he's finally realizing that it's not a bright idea to base the success of his team and the fate of his job on a still raw quarterback.
"I'm always looking at what's giving us the best opportunity to win," he said. "If it's Tarvaris, it's Tarvaris. If it's Gus Frerotte, it's Gus Frerotte. J.D. Booty, it's J.D. Booty. I know I was asked a question yesterday, is that the guy who who's going to be the quarterback at the end of the week? That's something that is ongoing. You don't crown a guy king and then the king doesn't have any clothes on and you say, 'Hey, he's still the king.'
So apparently for the first time, Childress is seeing what everyone else watching has seen for a while--it's not right to hold back a playoff-caliber team by sticking with a below-average quarterback.
But while that might be true, it's also fair to say that Childress has ensured that the deck is still stacked in Jackson's favor. Ever since he picked Jackson to be the team's quarterback of the future, he's gone out of his way to ensure that Jackson doesn't have an viable competiton.
So when Jackson struggled last year, the choice was to stick with him or to turn to Brooks Bollinger or Kelly Holcomb--which wasn't much of a choice. And this year, it's a choice of turning to Gus Frerotte instead of Jackson. Frerotte is a little bit better, but we're still talking about a 37-year-old quarterback whose last decent season came in 2005. He may outplay Jackson, but he's not someone you can feel comfortable counting on to lead the team to the playoffs.
If Childress is really focused on turning this team around, it would be worth trying to trade for Jeff Garcia. It would have been worth keeping Tyler Thigpen around last year instead of losing him on waivers. But at this point, it may be too late. Childress has tied the success of his team to Jackson. If Jackson fails, Childress really doesn't have a whole lot of argument to stay as the Vikings coach.