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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Jackson proving a model student

    [size=18px]Jackson proving a model student[/size]

    Rookie QB watching, listening, soaking up football knowledge

    BY SEAN JENSEN
    Pioneer Press


    Tarvaris Jackson has learned a valuable lesson early in his NFL career.

    "I don't say much. I just listen," Jackson said. "I just watch (Brad Johnson), and all the guys. I just listen and watch, and it helps me get better."

    Jackson's arm has been as strong as advertised; his passes travel quickly from his hand to his destination, despite a smooth and effortless delivery. As he walked toward the weight room after practice Sunday evening at Winter Park, Jackson got some free publicity from former Gustavus Adolphus receiver Ryan Hoag.

    "I'll vouch for him all day," Hoag said of Jackson.

    Jackson said that at first he "was nervous and excited."

    "I still get nervous," Jackson said. "But I'm kind of getting the hang of it a little bit.

    "It's been fun. Football is always fun. But when you know what you're doing and start doing good things, that's when it's really fun."

    Jackson spends much of his time with quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers. For instance, during special teams drills, the two of them talk. Jackson said he's comforted by Rogers' work with Donovan McNabb at Syracuse.

    "Donovan McNabb is a great quarterback, and if I can be half as good as him, I'm sure they'll be happy," Jackson said. "But all I can do is work hard, and hopefully everything will come together."

    Johnson said Jackson's talent is obvious, adding that he has a passion to learn.

    "He listens, and that's probably the greatest attribute that he has right now, especially as a rookie," Johnson said.

    Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said he has been impressed with Jackson's ability to adapt quickly.

    "He has handled the transition. He's a smooth athlete," Bevell said. "He can throw the ball very well. That is stuff that excited us before, but what I am excited about now is his mental makeup, how he is picking it up, how he is handling himself in front of the team. When he steps in the huddle, he is taking command of it."

    This is just the beginning for Jackson, who could start working with the coaches immediately after minicamp ends today, Bevell said.

    No nepotism: Although his father is A.J. Smith, the general manager of the San Diego Chargers, rookie free agent receiver Kyle Smith refuses to accept special help in fulfilling his NFL dream.

    "We decided a long time ago that he wasn't going to do anything to help me," Kyle Smith said. "It was going to be all me, through hard work."

    Smith said the Chargers were not one of his options; his decision was between the Vikings and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Asked why he chose the Vikings, Smith said, "It's a new beginning here, so I thought this would be the best situation for me."

    Smith caught 101 passes for 1,536 yards and 10 touchdowns at Youngstown State. While he's 6 feet and 170 pounds, Smith said he sees himself as a possession receiver and possibly a punt returner.

    Smith believes he has an edge on his peers because his experience is different from that of other players.

    "I was in situations like this as a ball boy with the Bills," he said.

    A.J. Smith was a personnel executive with Buffalo for 14 years before returning to the Chargers in 2001.

    Not forgotten: While a few players are trying to impress the Vikings at the minicamp, another cornerback will vie for a spot in training camp. Ronyell Whitaker has been one of the top defenders in NFL Europe, and defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin still keeps tabs on him.

    "I get reports on him and I watch games, and I guess he's lighting it up," Tomlin said of Whitaker. "He's doing well, but that doesn't surprise me. I've known that young man for a long time. He has great football character. He has ridiculous work habits. He's going to come in here fighting."

    Whitaker is tied for third in NFL Europe with three interceptions, including one he returned 30 yards for a touchdown. He's second on his team with 35 tackles and tied for second with eight passes defended. Whitaker played for Tomlin with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the past three seasons.

    The Vikings have an intriguing competition brewing for the fifth defensive back spot. Dovonte Edwards is the apparent favorite, along with second-round pick Cedric Griffin. But Whitaker, Dustin Fox, Ukee Dozier and Marvin Ward also are on the roster.

    Briefly: Fullback Joey Goodspeed (left knee) and cornerback Marvin Ward (hamstring) did not practice Sunday. Safety Willie Offord was held out of the second practice, which Griffin did not attend.

    • Special teams coach Paul Ferraro said he prefers to have his punter hold the ball for kicker Ryan Longwell. Ferraro is confident in Brad Johnson, but a punter can take advantage of extra practice time.

    • Mike Nattiel, a sixth-round draft pick of the Vikings in 2003, is working with the New Orleans Saints during their minicamp.

    • Marcus Robinson had the play of the day. He caught a pass that was at least 40 yards from Johnson, with cornerback Fred Smoot closely defending him.

    Jackson proving a model student

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

  2. #2
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    Re: Jackson proving a model student

    [size=18px]Vikings Rookie QB impresses right away[/size]

    Tarvaris Jackson's skills and work ethic put the rookie from Division I-AA in a favorable light with his new teammates.

    Judd Zulgad, Star Tribune
    Last update: May 14, 2006 – 10:21 PM


    Koren Robinson caught only a few passes from Tarvaris Jackson during the first two days of the Vikings minicamp, but that was enough to make an impression on the veteran receiver. Not to mention leave one on his hands.

    "He has a really strong arm. He has a gun," Robinson said. "I like him. He's really impressive. I'm impressed with his demeanor. I'm impressed with his knowledge of the offense."

    The Vikings' three-day camp, which will close with a single practice this morning, is the beginning of a process that the team hopes will result in Jackson eventually becoming its starting quarterback.

    Expectations -- and Robinson's enthusiasm -- aside, the development of the second-round pick is expected to take a few seasons. The Vikings already have talked to Jackson about not putting a timetable on things.

    "I'm not trying to rush it, but I have a sense of urgency with learning stuff," he said Sunday. "As long as I do that and the coaches give me time, I think I'll be ready."

    Among the biggest challenges Jackson faces is making the transition from running the offense at Division I-AA Alabama State to knowing the ins-and-outs of the West Coast scheme that is being installed by Vikings coach Brad Childress.

    "It's a lot more," said Jackson, who passed for 2,941 yards last season with 29 touchdowns and only five interceptions. "You have a lot more reads. In school, no matter what coverage it was, I still read the same side of the field. I might just read it a different way. Here there are a lot more guys you have to look to see if they're open or whatever."

    This inexperience did not bother the Vikings. They wanted Jackson badly enough that they traded their two third-round picks to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 64th overall selection in last month's draft. The expectation had been that the Vikings would select a quarterback on the first day of the draft, but the Jackson pick surprised many.

    Free-agent receiver Ryan Hoag, who participated in workouts with Jackson at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex before the NFL draft, is among those who liked Jackson entering the draft and is even more sure of the move now.

    "I was in Eli Manning's first minicamp in New York, and I would say Tarvaris is 10 times beyond where Eli was," Hoag said after Sunday's workouts. "And that's being completely honest. I did have the experience of working with him during the [NFL] combine time in Florida. We both worked out with Tom Shaw, and I came back when I re-signed [with the Vikings] and told the coaches I thought [Jackson] was better than [first-round pick] Jay Cutler."

    Jackson knows better then to get caught up in that type of hype. The soft-spoken 23-year-old realizes he has plenty to learn, and he will stay in the Twin Cities for the remainder of the offseason to spend time learning from Childress, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers.

    "We'll be working with him every day," Bevell said. "The fortunate thing with this minicamp is that as soon as it's over, the rookies are eligible to stay here if their school is done. He'll be here with us and we can start working with him right away. That's when we'll be able to slow it down and break everything down for him by concept and how everything fits together."

    That ability to slow things will be key for Jackson, who has been trying to pick up things at full speed during this camp. Jackson has been getting snaps with the third team and, as Robinson found out, has a very strong arm. But Hoag, the former Gustavus Adolphus standout, has been most impressed by what he has heard from Jackson in the huddle.

    "Just the way he commands the offense," Hoag said. "The way he delivers the ball. You would never be able to tell that he was a rookie. And I've been with other rookie quarterbacks in the past. They don't command the huddle; they're unsure where to go. I haven't heard him ask one question. Sometimes it's a bad thing because there are guys who just aren't asking questions but in his case it's because he's well prepared."

    Vikings Rookie QB impresses right away

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

  3. #3
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Jackson proving a model student

    [size=18px]Take it from Johnson[/size]

    Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson knows exactly what Tarvaris Jackson has been feeling during the team's minicamp as the rookie begins to learn the West Coast offense.

    Last update: May 14, 2006 – 9:38 PM


    Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson knows exactly what Tarvaris Jackson has been feeling during the team's minicamp as the rookie begins to learn the West Coast offense.

    "I remember when I was a rookie 14 years ago," Johnson said. "You'd go to the line and hear, "Double right check,' and you're like, 'Check what?' There's a lot to learn. They throw it at you fast."

    But when it comes to controlling things in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage, the Vikings don't want Jackson hurrying.

    Jackson is doing a good job of that, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "When he steps in the huddle, he is taking command of it," Bevell said. "He's enunciating the plays, he's starting to slow down, take a breath where you're supposed to take a breath in the plays."

    JUDD ZULGAD

    Take it from Johnson

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

  4. #4
    NordicNed is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Jackson proving a model student

    Nice read on TJ, I have some high hopes for this kid, and sounds like people are liking what they see in him already.....


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    Re: Jackson proving a model student

    good. i wondered how he would fair being like a god at alabama state then coming in and being considered a reach. looks like he doesnt have unbridle agression but a passion to learn.
    woo out
    just two corn cobs shy of a bushel

  6. #6
    BBQ Platypus's Avatar
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    Re: Jackson proving a model student

    Wow...I thought he was good, but I thought he'd be a bit less astute than this. With all the things people are saying about him, why didn't he go higher? I'm sure there's a reason, but...d@mn.


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  7. #7
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    Re: Jackson proving a model student

    i'm hoping it's not just all hype.. he seems to be the ticket we are looking for and want on our side!!

    DiGiTaL

    "We tried to stick with it, but there was a point where we were beating our head against a wall," Seattle Coach Mora talking about running at the Williams Wall

  8. #8
    TATEone is offline Starter
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    Re: Jackson proving a model student

    Great read, especially the part about being better than Eli!
    I voluntarily agree to not indulge in any alcohol, drugs, or engage in any other illegal activity that may in any way jeopardize the years of hard work we as a team have committed to our goal of a championship season in '76.

  9. #9
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    Re: Jackson proving a model student

    "BBQ Platypus" wrote:
    Wow...I thought he was good, but I thought he'd be a bit less astute than this. With all the things people are saying about him, why didn't he go higher? I'm sure there's a reason, but...d@mn.
    I am not trying to discount the guy, but every team is putting out feel good articles about their prospects. I am guessing that there might be a few linemen out there that get a bad press about their weight coming into camp, but I bet it is about 97.89% all good press.

    It might be the only time the press is looking for positive news to report???

  10. #10
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    Re: Jackson proving a model student

    "singersp" wrote:
    "I was in Eli Manning's first minicamp in New York, and I would say Tarvaris is 10 times beyond where Eli was," Hoag said after Sunday's workouts. "And that's being completely honest. I did have the experience of working with him during the [NFL] combine time in Florida. We both worked out with Tom Shaw, and I came back when I re-signed [with the Vikings] and told the coaches I thought [Jackson] was better than [first-round pick] Jay Cutler."
    :shock: Wow. I kinda found that suprising to read. I do have a good feeling about this guy in the same way I do with Taylor. They both have the desire. Jackson no doubt has the cannon and the ability physically. If he learns his calmness and everything Brad knows and has to offer, he will make to be a beast at the QB posistion. The potential is there, it just needs to be harnessed.
    [size=11pt]"The only thing better than food & football is maybe Brett Favre."


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