Tuesday, September 22, 2009

That's Some Willie Beamen Type Ish

Evidently the Minnesota Vikings don't give a damn about Tavaris Jackson's career.

In the second quarter of the Vikings' 27-13 victory over Detroit on Sunday, Jackson was the up man for a punt by Chris Kluwe. The look came as a surprise to many. So what did Jackson think about it?

"Do I really have to cover a punt?" he said Monday when asked about his debut on special teams. "I guess the more you can do."

Jackson wasn't completely surprised because he had been taking part in special teams practices to prepare for the possibility of being used as the player who stands between long snapper Cullen Loeffler and Kluwe. The formation had three players stacked to the far left and three more to the far right. The ball was snapped to Kluwe but Jackson acted as if he was going to get it and then faked a pass to wide receiver Darius Reynaud, who was set up to the left.

As the punt left Kluwe's foot, Jackson ran down the field to cover. All the while he was watching his back. "Knowing that I'm a quarterback, I know they'll probably try to take a shot at me," he said. "It was different. A lot different."

Now I hear a lot of TV sports commentators talking about the risks to NFL quarterbacks when their team runs the Wildcat formation. Mind you in that scenario the quarterback is just flexed out wide and usually has next to nothing to do with the play. It not like the Miami Dolphins have asked Chad Pennington to stalk block the strong safety. And still these pundits bemoan the risk of injury.

Well I wonder what the hell they have to say about a team sending their second string quarterback in to run down and cover a punt.

Keep in mind here that Jackson started and won quite a few games last year and that its highly likely that he will start again in this league. That is if he doesn't separate his shoulder trying to tackle a return man because, in the immortal words of the fictional character Willie Beamon in "Any Given Sunday", a coach thought he had quick feet. I can't imagine Matt Leinart being asked to cover a punt and right now Jackson has the more promising career.

I can't imagine what they said to convince Jackson to go in and run down on punt team but I hope for the sake of good reason that his agent intervenes. The more I think about it the more I feel like this was a major sign of disrespect from the Vikings. And he doesn't have to be their crash dummy.

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