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Open competition, new offense appealing to QB Jackson

Posted Feb 15, 2013


For Tarvaris Jackson the 2012 season was a lost one. Traded to the Bills right before the regular season he knew the chances of seeing the field were minimal with a limited knowledge of an offensive system that was brand new to him. But at the end of the season after a conversation with Bills GM Buddy Nix, Jackson was open to returning.

Appearing on the John Murphy Show, Jackson said after talking with Nix he felt like he was wanted in Buffalo. What was even more encouraging for the veteran quarterback was the opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback job.

“Just being that he’s a new coach I was pretty sure, most coaches when they first come in, aside from a few positions they have an open competition to see exactly what he’s got in all his guys,” Jackson said. “That was the thought going into it, but we talked about it. That’s a good sign.

“I really don’t know how coach will do it, but my job is just to make sure I make the best of my reps and try to get the most out of it.”

Since Jackson was made a second-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings back in 2006, he’s been part of quarterback competitions. Jackson competed won the Vikings starting job in 2007. He also appeared in half the games for the Vikings in 2008 before handing the starting job over to Brett Favre from 2009-2010. In signing with Seattle as a free agent, Jackson also won the starting Seahawks job in 2011, so competing for the number one job is anything but foreign to him.

“It’s pretty much what I’ve been doing since I’ve been in the NFL,” he said. “So it’s nothing new for me.”  

Jackson didn’t harbor any ill feelings about the lack of opportunity to get on the field last season. Coming in as late as he did just two weeks prior to the season opener he knew the odds weren’t in his favor.

“I knew something was going to have to happen for me to play,” he said. “With me getting there so late and the coaches having to get a team ready to play every week it was kind of hard. Mostly I was learning on the fly and learning from watching, but now in the offseason we have time to put in a little work and do some one-on-one stuff and get familiar with the offense.”

That process shouldn’t take nearly as long as it did for Jackson last season. Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s offense is rooted in a lot of West Coast offense principles. That's music to Jackson’s ears.

“I’ve been in the West Coast offense my whole career so hopefully there are familiar concepts for me. That makes the transition a lot easier,” he said. “I heard a lot about the offense from outside sources and he caters pretty much to what the quarterback does well and what guys are good at. So that’s a good sign as well. It’s the offense I ran for six years, except for last year. So that’s good for me.”

With the new CBA rules prohibiting players from talking to coaches about their systems at this point in the offseason Jackson said he watched a couple of Syracuse games on YouTube and saw some “familiar stuff.”

“It definitely was a big factor in going back,” he said.