I don’t want to hear any discussion about whether or not Brett Favre is retiring. Until the day comes when the Minnesota Vikings take the field and a quarterback OTHER THAN Brett Favre is leading the team, he will be the starting quarterback.
Even if he says he is retiring, I won’t believe it until I see it.
With that formality out of the way, the best backup quarterback in the NFL is Tarvaris Jackson. He is by far the best insurance policy in the league for a franchise at the QB position. Rightfully so. But if you run a team where there is uncertainty about whether the planned starter is coming back, it’s best to make sure you have a qualified backup in place.
In some ways Tarvaris Jackson SHOULD be the starter for the Minnesota Vikings, and he WOULD be the starter except for the fact that a quarterbacking legend and future first-ballot Hall of Famer decided he wanted to play for the Vikings last season. And now that legend may do so again this season. That reality would have gotten just about every quarterback in the league demoted, and so it is not necessarily an indictment of Jackson’s skills.
Now I know what you are thinking – Jackson had his opportunity to start, and was first benched for Gus Frerotte back in 2008, then Favre got the starting job last season because the Vikings didn’t know if it was best to move forward with Jackson at the helm.
Let me remind you about some of what Jackson has done while he started for the Vikings.
His record as a starting QB is 10-9. I know that’s not a Pro-Bowl caliber record, but it is a winning record… and that is more than some other starters in the league can boast.
He has thrown a total of 21 touchdowns to only 18 interceptions. If you scratch one single game where he threw four interceptions (and no touchdowns) against the Detroit Lions all the way back in 2007, his ratio of 1.5 TDs to every one INT would place him ahead of his NFC North colleagues Jay Cutler (1.28 to 1) and Matt Stafford (only 1 TD to every 1.53 INTs).
And yes, Jackson did lead the Vikings to an 0-2 start in the 2008 season before being benched for Frerotte. But that is only half of the story. Later that same season, after Frerotte was injured in a game against the Detroit Lions, it was Jackson who came back onto the field and led the Vikings to win three out of the last four games of the season en route to 10-6 finish, an NFC North Division championship, and a playoff appearance.
I am not trying to argue that Tarvaris Jackson belongs in the same conversation as guys like Drew Brees or Peyton Manning. And he is obviously no Brett Favre (which is why he is sitting BEHIND Brett Favre). But he is a quarterback who wins more games than he loses, and throws more touchdowns than interceptions. Those credentials alone would earn him a starting nod on many other teams in the league over THEIR current starters.
It CERTAINLY qualifies him as the best BACKUP in the NFL.