Jackson soaking up lessons
Bevell says young QB improves each practice
BY DON SEEHOLZER
Article Last Updated: 06/07/2007 11:30:02 PM CDT
The Vikings wrap up another round of organized team activities today with one more voluntary workout.
The team will hold six more optional practices over the next two weeks, but those will be closed to the media, meaning this will be the last chance to see quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in action until the start of training camp.
So, how's he doing?
According to Jackson and his coaches: so far, so good.
"I feel good, but at the same time I know there are a lot of things I can correct, a lot of things I can learn from," Jackson said Thursday. "I've made a couple mistakes. I just want to get better from it."
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said the second-year quarterback has shown steady progress during the two OTAs and last week's mandatory minicamp.
"We've gone back and forth," he said. "We've done third down a couple times, we've done blitz a couple times and you can see the improvement just within those drills. The first time we threw a number of guys at him, he didn't know exactly where to put his eyes. The next time, he improved greatly. He's done a nice job each and every time."
Jackson, who was a second-round draft choice from Division I-AA Alabama State, didn't start until the final two games last season and lost both.
The coaches spent this offseason trying to put their young starter in as many game-type situations as possible.
"The thing I just keep saying is he can't get enough looks in our offense," Bevell said. "Each time
we go 11 on 11, whatever the situation is that we're putting him in, that's going to help him. The seven-on-sevens, that just helps sharpen up his reads, but he needs the 11-on-11 drills, putting him in different game-type situations and letting him get used to sitting back there and going through his progressions, going through his reads and getting sharp with that."
Jackson said he has learned quite a bit the past three weeks.
"I've really been trying to concentrate on knowing who's blocking whom and what the offensive line is thinking on certain plays," he said. "I got that out of these. Also, just going through the process a little bit quicker than I usually do. Going through my reads and seeing stuff, seeing coverages and things like that."
Asked what he needs to improve on between now and training camp, Jackson said he has two priorities.
"Basically, I just want to get rid of the football and make good decisions," he said. "Don't throw the ball into tight coverage. Sometimes you try to make a play when you shouldn't. It happens sometimes, but I want to take care of the football."
In addition to an inexperienced quarterback, the Vikings have an unproven wide receivers corps, but Jackson said he feels good about his supporting cast and confident that the offense will be productive.
"With the offensive line that we have, it shouldn't be too hard," he said. "They're going to open up a lot of holes, I feel, for both our backs, and that's going to open up the passing lanes for us, so I think we'll be fine."
Veteran defensive tackle Pat Williams said he's confident the Vikings can be a winning team with Jackson.
"I think he's going to be ready," Williams said. "He just has to calm down more and not try to push things. If you see something, take what the defense gives you."
Bevell said all the quarterbacks - Brooks Bollinger, Drew Henson and rookie Tyler Thigpen also are in camp - have done well, "but Tarvaris in particular is doing a nice job."
"It's just giving him an opportunity to be immersed in every part of the offense and get one look at it," Bevell said. "Just to start getting a rep in each part of that offense so when we carry it over to the training camp he'll continue to make leaps and bounds."