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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Battle to be the backup QB

    [size=18px]Battle to be the backup[/size]

    Brad Johnson is the starter and rookie Tarvaris Jackson will be No. 3. But the Vikings need Mike McMahon or J.T. O'Sullivan to step and be a competent No. 2. With backup quarterback seemingly one of the Vikings' most glaring weaknesses, it might just be time we got to know a guy named J.T. a little bit better.

    Mark Craig, Star Tribune
    Last update: July 29, 2006 – 10:19 PM


    MANKATO

    Geez, you think we would know something about J.T. O'Sullivan by now.

    He's in his fifth NFL season. He's a quarterback. And he's played for three-fourths of the NFC North, including the Vikings since they signed him off the Bears' practice squad last fall.

    But here's why we don't: J.T. has taken just one more regular season snap (two) than starter Brad Johnson has Super Bowl rings. And both were game-ending kneel-downs for the Packers during the 2004 season finale in Chicago.

    "It's not about having only two snaps and not attempting a pass in a game," O'Sullivan said. "It's about preparing for an opportunity. My first year in New Orleans [2002], I was No. 3 and Jake Delhomme was the backup. Jake goes to Carolina, gets a nice contract. Then he gets an opportunity, and he hasn't stepped off the field since. That's my goal."

    For the record, Delhomme was undrafted out of Louisiana-Lafayette in 1997. O'Sullivan was the Saints' sixth-round pick (186th overall) out of Division II UC Davis in 2002. So it can happen. Maybe.

    Besides setting the career mark for total offense (11,544) at UC Davis, which also produced former Jets quarterback Ken O'Brien, majoring in English with an Art History minor and winning the Packers' 2004 Whiffle Ball championship -- "I still have the trophy," O'Sullivan beamed -- O'Sullivan has a few other personal highlights.

    His 2003 preseason passer rating (117.0) led the Saints. He guided Frankfurt to World Bowl XII during the 2004 NFL Europe season. And he played in a version of the Vikings' West Coast offense in Green Bay, which is most important of all.

    Oh yeah, he also claimed UC Davis' Jerry Norris Award as an inspirational sports figure as a senior.

    "I asked my coach, 'Who's Jerry Norris?' and he said, 'You know, I don't know. Maybe we should rename that award,'" O'Sullivan said. "But I'm sure Jerry Norris was a very inspirational person. I'd like to be an inspiration."

    First, O'Sullivan must prove worthy of becoming a No. 2 quarterback. Don't rule him out. Vikings coach Brad Childress said he hasn't.

    Rookie second round draft pick Tarvaris Jackson is a long-term project and virtual cinch to be the No. 3 quarterback. So that leaves O'Sullivan to compete with Mike McMahon, who was signed as a free agent from Philadelphia, where he started seven games under Childress, the Eagles' offensive coordinator at the time.

    "That's why I brought them to this early camp [for rookies and selected veterans]," Childress said Friday. "It would be real easy to excuse Mike and say that he's got the position wrapped up. But competition is a great thing, and I want to watch them all compete."

    No offense to O'Sullivan, but the fact someone with his limited NFL résumé is in the running for backup to a soon-to-be 38-year-old starter illustrates one of the most glaring weaknesses on the team. At least on paper, especially when one considers the team to beat in the division, Chicago, signed Brian Griese (39-33 as a starter) as its backup.

    McMahon enters his sixth season with a 3-11 mark as a starter, including 2-5 with the Eagles after Donovan McNabb was injured last season.

    "One of the tough things about being a backup," said McMahon, "is when you do get in there, a lot of times it's not the way you had hoped it would be. We had a lot of injuries in Philadelphia. And we had a lot of stuff happening off the field with Terrell Owens that hurt. But you still have to perform.

    "So, yeah, I look at J.T. as competition. There's a good chance they aren't going to keep four quarterbacks, so I could be going home if I don't perform."

    Based on the distribution of practice reps on Friday, McMahon has the inside track. But neither quarterback looked especially sharp on the first day of camp.

    Childress said there are scenarios in which he would keep four quarterbacks on the roster. He wouldn't elaborate. Also, if Johnson is injured, the Vikings could sign a veteran who is out of work. Kerry Collins, who started for the Raiders last season, is among the veterans who still are available.

    For now, though, Childress said he isn't worried about the backup quarterback position.

    "Backups are backups, and they are fighting to be starters," he said. "They are trying to get their best foot forward. They are going to get a chance to get on the field in the preseason, but I don't have a concern because I think it will all sort itself out."

    Battle to be the backup

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    FedjeViking is offline Ring of Fame
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    Re: Battle to be the backup

    Here's another on Jackson.....

    Yahoo Sports

    Jackson trying to make name for himself
    July 29, 2006

    MANKATO, Minn. (AP) -- Tarvaris Jackson didn't win any ESPY awards like
    Vince Young.

    His draft stock didn't skyrocket at the NFL Combine like Jay Cutler.

    And the bouncers at those trendy Los Angeles night clubs that Matt
    Leinart likes to frequent wouldn't recognize Jackson if he was staring
    them right in the face.

    But the little-known quarterback from Division I-AA Alabama State is out
    to show that the 2006 QB class doesn't end after the first round.

    The anonymity suits Jackson just fine.

    "I really don't even look into that stuff," he said. "The Vikings
    drafted me and that's all that I concentrate on -- me and my teammates.
    The rest of that stuff, that's the media stuff. I don't really get
    caught up in that stuff."

    He grew up in sleepy Montgomery, Ala., living with an older sister and
    his mother, who worked two jobs just so she could put food on the table.

    "Not that big of a town, kind of small," Jackson said of Montgomery. "My
    mom kind of had it hard raising us, but I never really had a problem
    getting in trouble. I had guys older than me looking out for me."

    Jackson started his college career at Arkansas, but transferred back to
    Alabama State after one season because Matt Jones, now a receiver for
    the Jacksonville Jaguars, was firmly entrenched as the Razorbacks'
    starting quarterback.

    Throwing for 7,893 yards and 67 touchdowns in three seasons with the
    Hornets certainly was impressive, but Alabama State barely registers as
    a blip on the college football radar screen when compared with Texas and
    Southern California, the tradition-rich Division I-A heavyweights where
    Young and Leinart starred.

    So while Young and Leinart have been lauded as future saviors in
    Tennessee and Arizona, respectively, Vikings fans are still trying to
    figure out who the heck this guy is that their team traded up into the
    second round to get.

    Being overshadowed doesn't bother Jackson because he's been overshadowed
    nearly his whole life.

    He didn't play at Alabama or Auburn, the only two schools that really
    matter in the eyes of the majority of the football-crazy state.

    Yet Jackson just kept plugging along, praying that a tireless work ethic
    and an insulating group of family and friends would be enough to get him
    noticed.

    "I always dreamed of it, but you never knew if it was going to happen,"
    he said. "I always tried to work hard because I thought that just one
    day of not working hard might keep me from making it."

    And while there was plenty of temptation in the poor streets of
    Montgomery, Jackson said he had no problem avoiding trouble despite not
    having a father at home.

    "There were always people there, guys that have been through it, guys
    who were my age who were trying to always help me out," Jackson said.
    "They would say, 'Don't do that. Don't be like me."'

    That guidance worked. After a private workout, new Vikings coach Brad
    Childress fell in love with his mechanics and arm strength.

    On draft day, the Vikings pounced on Jackson at the end of the second
    round despite most projections that he would be a second-day pick at best.

    With the 37-year-old Brad Johnson running the show in Minnesota, Jackson
    shouldn't have to wait too long to get his chance.

    "You say, 'Well, is Tarvaris Jackson the quarterback of the future?"'
    Childress said. "In a perfect world, that would be the plan. How soon?
    Next year? Don't know. We'll watch, and we'll watch Brad as he goes
    along, too."

    For now, Jackson is content learning from Johnson, who has seen just
    about everything there is to see in his 14 years in the NFL.

    "It feels good being beside a guy who has won a Super Bowl," Jackson
    said. "When you get in, you try to pick his brain and learn as much as
    possible from him."

    His work ethic is already impressing coaches and teammates, and the ball
    zips out of his hand with more authority than any other QB in camp.

    But he still has so much to learn, and he knows that.

    As Jackson walked off the field drenched in sweat after practice on
    Saturday evening, fans clamored for autographs and pictures, a new
    scenario for a guy who is not used to getting this kind of attention.

    "See, you're a star now," an observer says to him.

    "No," he says as a big smile creeping across his face. "Not yet."
    [move]"Our day WILL come!! I just hope I LIVE long enough to see it!"[/move]

  3. #3
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Battle to be the backup


    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  4. #4
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    Re: Battle to be the backup QB

    How did J.T. and McMahon do in the clip board holding drills?

    Sounds like J.T. will need a miracle.
    What takes a quarterback to the next level is not arm strength or mobility or any of that stuff. Its the ability to play on critical downs. Manage third downs, or red zones or four-minute or two-minute situations"
    Dilfer

  5. #5
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    Re: Battle to be the backup QB

    I think O’Sullivan will be cut unless Jackson does awful. I have a feeling Coach Chilress is trying to groom Tarvaris into our next QB.

    Should it say Back 4 More Interceptions?

  6. #6
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    Re: Battle to be the backup QB

    Hopefully Travaris will get his shot if Brad Johnson gets hurt. I dont think and old washed up slingshot arm can get us to win against the elite teams after I saw him play horrible against pittsburgh and even trip on his own feet at Green Bay in the December game last year.

  7. #7
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    Re: Battle to be the backup QB

    i really want to see how this kid had thee best arm in the NFL draftt.....

    i think he could be a real surprisee

  8. #8
    jargomcfargo's Avatar
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    Re: Battle to be the backup QB

    "Tillmanhasnoballs84" wrote:
    Hopefully Travaris will get his shot if Brad Johnson gets hurt. I dont think and old washed up slingshot arm can get us to win against the elite teams after I saw him play horrible against pittsburgh and even trip on his own feet at Green Bay in the December game last year.
    It's easy to be optomistic this time of year!
    What takes a quarterback to the next level is not arm strength or mobility or any of that stuff. Its the ability to play on critical downs. Manage third downs, or red zones or four-minute or two-minute situations"
    Dilfer

  9. #9
    Benet's Avatar
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    Re: Battle to be the backup QB

    "kosova61" wrote:
    i really want to see how this kid had thee best arm in the NFL draftt.....

    i think he could be a real surprisee
    I'd love to see that too, I remember when the Vikes drafted him all the commentators were saying "Well, he's got arguably the strongest arm in the draft, but we think this is way too high for him to be drafted". I was sitting here thinking "Wait! I never heard anyone say TJ had the strongest arm in the draft!" But after seeing a few drills and those YouTube compilation videos from his time at Alabama State he obviously can launch the ball some long distances..

  10. #10
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    Re: Battle to be the backup QB

    I was trying to find that video that was up here shortly after the draft highlighting Travaris' monster of an arm but couldn't find it. Instead, I found a video on youtube from 7/28 training camp. Hope it hasn't already been posted.

    I don't know how to post links and such but if somebody else does go for it. I just typed Travaris Jackson in the search and it only came up with this one video.

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