Stevie Williams isn’t the only former employee who is looking for a little verbal retribution after being allegedly mistreated. Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, following two years of silently tolerating the decision of former Vikings coach Brad Childress to go with Brett Favre, has begun to open up a little bit about his frustrations.
Talking to our buddy Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports, Jackson hinted that there may have been something to the “schism” label that Adam Schefter applied to the situation in one of his early days at ESPN. ““Even the first year , we [players] never really got an explanation, a heads-up or something,” Jackson said about Favre’s arrival. “But it was coach’s decision. We pretty much knew and had our feelings about what was going on. In the back of our heads and our hearts, we pretty much knew he was coming.”
Although when Jackson says the players “had our feelings about what was going on” he could mean that they all wanted Favre to join the team, we’d heard at the time that some players were indeed against it, but that Favre quickly won over the locker room — especially once they started winning games.
So even though they all came to believe in Favre, Jackson, for whom Childress traded up during the 2006 draft, doesn’t believe Childress ever truly believed in him.
“Obviously not,” Jackson said, “because he kept bringing Brett in. In some ways, we were joined at the hip, but I wouldn’t say I was Chilly’s pet. Think about 2008 — after Game 2, I got pulled. How many quarterbacks lose their jobs after two games?”
It’s not unprecedented (Charlie Frye lost his job in Cleveland after only one game in 2007), but it’s rare. Almost as rare as a quarterback who held his tongue throughout a difficult stretch deciding to unload a little once he gets away.
Jackson isn’t the only one talking about an awkward past. “He has not been in a good situation,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told Silver regarding Jackson, who was installed as the starter even before he was able to practice with the team. “He’s been jerked around. We wanted to put him in a stable situation.”
And, in so doing, the Seahawks jerked Charlie Whitehurst around.
Added G.M. John Schneider of Jackson: “He’s 28 years old, and quite frankly was [expletive] on for four years.”
And now the feces are flying in Whitehurst’s direction.
This isn’t an issue of high-school favoritism. This is the highest level of a results-oriented sport. Childress, though often a complete jerk, wanted to win football games and, ultimately, a championship. Favre won football games and, but for an untimely display of the worst parts of Brett’s game, the Vikings nearly had a chance to win a championship.
Childress wasn’t alone in his desire for a sequel. In the end, it was three key veterans — Steve Hutchinson, Jared Allen, and Ryan Longwell — who flew to Mississippi, hog-tied Favre, and brought him back to Minnesota. They wouldn’t have done it if they didn’t believe Favre gave them a better chance to win football games than Jackson.
In Seattle, management has decided that Jackson gives the team a better chance to win football games than Whitehurst. Whitehurst, who led the Seahawks to a division title with a Week 17 win over the Rams, probably likes it no more than Jackson liked the decision to bring in Favre.
In Jackson’s case, he could take some solace in the fact that he was being bumped for a Hall of Famer. Whitehurst has been bumped for a guy who ultimately may be “just a guy.”
So instead of complaining about coaching decisions that were made not with an eye toward hurting Jackson but helping the team, Jackson and the Seahawks should focus on the immediate future. Jackson finally has a chance to prove Childress wrong. Or perhaps to prove him right.
Either way, it’s got to be a little awkward right now, given that former Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who worked for Childress and was directly involved in the recruitment of Favre, is now serving in that same role in Seattle. For that reason alone, it makes sense for everyone to simply focus on getting Jackson ready to do what he didn’t do in Minnesota.
And to have Whitehurst ready to go if he can’t.