Jackson can’t cure offensive woes in first start

By Krupka  |   Thursday, December 21, 2006  |  Comments( 14 )

Minnesota Vikings
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Maybe it wasn't Brad Johnson's fault after all. For all the heat the veteran has taken in recent weeks over the offense's ineptitude, perhaps the real blame for the Minnesota Vikings should fall on the shoulders of head coach and offensive play-caller Brad Childress.

The fans got what they wanted. Johnson was benched and rookie Tarvaris Jackson started on Thursday night in Lambeau Field. In his first career start the unit mustered zero points, and just 104 yards of total offense--against the Green Bay Packers, a defense that was ranked 19th in the NFL allowing 336.7 yards per game.

But don't blame Jackson.

The young signal caller completed 10 of 20 passes for a paltry 50 yards with an interception. However, he was the victim of dropped passes and unimaginative play calling.

Wide receiver play has hurt the offense all season, and nothing was different Thursday. Troy Williamson continued his horrific season, dropping yet another deep bomb on a perfectly thrown pass. He was unable to haul in another pass later in the game.

And it isn't only Williamson that was plagued by butter fingers. In all, the receivers dropped seven passes. Also, Minnesota had a 42-yard reception called back for an illegal shift.

Then there's the play calling. How conservative and unimaginative can it get?

It's understandable that Childress was cautious over having a rookie quarterback making his first career start, but open up the playbook a little. It would have been interesting to see Jackson use his athleticism and scrambling ability by moving out of the pocket on some more rollouts and bootlegs. Instead, Childress opted to stick with the run, run, run, punt, and the run, run, pass, punt philosophy. Perhaps that's just Childress' version of the West Coast offense.

The Vikings mustered just one first down in the opening half and three total for the entire game.

What ever happened to running a route far enough to get a first down? Countless times this year, the Vikings' offense has completed a third-down pass, only to come up a yard or two shy because the receiver cut his route short of the first down. The trend continued.

While the offense was bad Thursday night, it wasn't Jackson's fault. Forget about the statistics, they don't tell the entire story. He played well and showed flashes of being a franchise-type quarterback. His offensive teammates need to help him out, and that starts with the receivers catching the football.

It's time for Childress to alter his play calling and offensive strategy; right now, it's not fooling a soul, and Minnesota continues to waste valiant defensive efforts.

Eric Krupka is a senior writer for RealFootball365.com. He can be reached daily at ekrupka@realfootball365.com

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CommentsComments: 14  |  Sign Up  View all comments
No.1
campbucket2
08:05 AM
12/22/2006
being a vikings fan for 30plus years and living in packer country this team is hard to watch we have some of the most over rated...
No.2
michael
11:21 AM
12/22/2006
I couldn't agree with Eric's assessment more. The offense squandered but yet another stellar effort from the defense. The offense...
No.3
rppojo
01:42 PM
12/22/2006
It's time to realize the hiring of Childress was a big, big mistake. Vikings are bad on offense, terrible defending the pass,bad...
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