Fran Tarkenton. The first QB of the Minnesota Vikings, the first drafted QB of the Vikings, the longest tenured QB of the Vikings, the man who captained the Vikings to 3 Super Bowls, the man who was a 9-time Pro Bowler, 6-time All-Pro, won numerous NFL awards and accolaides, retired owning almost every NFL passing record, is the reason that you will NEVER again see the #10 worn by anyone else in Purple, and, oh yes, by the way, is also enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, was asked to do an interview last week.
True, Tark is 'yesterdays news', an old-timer, and these days, Favre is the favored flavor... but some of us remember who Francis Asbury Tarkenton is and what he achieved with the Minnesota Vikings, and think that he might know what he's talking about when it comes to football, the NFL, and perhaps even playing the position of QB. If there is such a thing as an 'expert' in the field of 'NFL Quarterbacks', Tarkenton is definitely qualified as one.
Before all the complaining spin was put on it, the interview looked something like this on ESPN;
"I really question whether he can play," Tarkenton, the Hall of Fame quarterback and former Minnesota Viking, said Friday on "The Waddle and Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. "Quarterbacks need to make their team better. If it's a bad team, they can even make a bad team better. Somebody may say well, even Peyton Manning couldn't help the Bears. Yes, he could. Tom Brady could, too. They might not win the championship or get to the playoffs, but they would make that team better. Those wide receivers who are struggling would be better because they would make them better."
Cutler threw five interceptions, including one in the end zone in the final seconds of the Bears' 10-6 loss Thursday to the San Francisco 49ers.
Tarkenton, who led the Vikings to three Super Bowls in the 1970s, disputed the notion that Cutler's mechanics needed work. It's a lot simpler than that, he said.
"Great quarterbacks, good quarterbacks, make plays," Tarkenton said on "The Waddle and Silvy Show." "Mechanics is overwrought. Whether they're strong-armed, weak-armed, throw sidearm, throw overhead, they're fast, they're quick, I don't care. I just want someone to make plays. Peyton Manning doesn't look beautiful back there.
"Jay Cutler had every opportunity to make plays for his team last night and every opportunity he didn't. That's how I judge a quarterback: Either you make plays or you don't. I don't even want to talk about mechanics."
What advice would Tarkenton give Cutler?
"If Jay Cutler is not comfortable with the offense or the way they are calling the plays, he ought to go in there and tell that coach [expletive]," Tarkenton said during radio interview. "Dan Fouts came into the league and for the first couple of years he was struggling. He said, 'What do you do?' I said, 'Dan, if you're not willing to go tell your head coach or your coordinator to kiss off, then you can't play quarterback in this league.'
"I don't think that will solve the problems of the Chicago Bears. The Chicago Bears need to start over. But for Jay Cutler to be a quarterback and make plays, he's got to take charge."
I'll toss a poll up on the response to what Tark actually said, but my own person 2 cents is that he was dead on target. A good QB will improve even a bad team. Anyone who disagrees with this is probably the coach of
the Washington Redskins a crappy NFL team looking for excuses for why his team lousy.
He's also saying that it doesn't matter what the QB's style is, or how strong his arm is; a GOOD NFL QB will make plays, will find a way to make things happen for his team. Hrmn, sounds like leadership, and taking responsibility, to me. I can see why that upsets some folks. Worse, it takes away every excuse that's been made for every half-arsed QB prospect to find his way into the ranks of the NFL. Tark went on to name a pair of QBs in the NFL that he has regard and admiration for; Brady and Peyton Manning.
As for his advice for Cutler, that's pretty basic stuff. He's telling him to man up, take charge and do things the way he knows how to do them best. If the coach doesn't like it, what's he going to do? Bench him? Cutler should be glad that an HoF QB like Tark actually thinks that Cutler has the potential to be good enough to run a football team, that's more credit than I give Cutler.
Maybe Tark's just a dinosaur that comes from an era when it was expected that NFL QBs had both testicles intact and the best of them were actually leaders on the field, rather than game managers, and it's this sort of outmoded thinking that gives politically correct sensitive folks nightmares when they sleep.
So what's to argue with on Tark's statements?