We don't quite know what is behind Bobby Wade's statement about Tarvaris Jackson "knowing he’ll be pretty much the named starter" when the training camp quarterback competition is all said and done.
Wade could simply be throwing some support behind T-Jack, he could have worded his statement poorly and didn't really mean what he said -- or he could have confirmed the fears of those of us who have been suspicious of just how open this quarterback competition is. Wade is a smart media guy, so I fear the third option might be the case here.
It's something I've suspected: Brad Childress isn't about to cut the cord with Tarvaris Jackson (a perennial favorite of his), but he understands T-Jack hasn't done enough to enter training camp with the appearance of having the starting job locked up. So he brings in token opposition (Sage Rosenfels) to "compete" with Jackson before ultimately staying the course at quarterback.
Is this getting conspiratorial? Well, I don't think it's too far-fetched. Consider that Chilly's commitment to T-Jack has been remarkably solid when you take into account the on-field headaches the Vikings have endured as a result of their young quarterback. Also consider timing: Jackson was praised for his performance in the final games of the 2008 season. Of all the possible times for Childress to give someone else a shot at quarterback, is this really it?
And of all the possible quarterbacks who could convince Childress that he should give someone else a shot, is Sage Rosenfels really one of them? By all accounts, his training camp performance hasn't exactly been blowing people away -- which makes Wade's quote believable, in my book.
Rosenfels came into camp facing a losing battle: Take the starting job away from a quarterback who had spent the last four games of 2008 teasing us and who has been a favorite of the head coach. Rosenfels needed to distinguish himself from Jackson to the point that Childress' hand was forced.
But he hasn't done so, and that means Wade is probably right about the winner of the starting quarterback job. Rosenfels and Jackson didn't enter training camp with a 50-50 chance each of prevailing in the competition. This wasn't an open competition. And yes, Jackson entered as the strong favorite.
The judge, after all, is hardly a fair and impartial one.