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Warren Moon understands why Tarvaris Jackson is third string

By Tim Graham

As the Seattle Seahawks radio analyst, Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon is familiar with what Tarvaris Jackson can do.

While some observers scratch their heads over how a quarterback can go from NFL starter to running the scout team as the third-stringer on a 5-8 club, Moon doesn't find the development strange.

"I feel kind of bad for Tarvaris because he's a really good kid," Moon told me Thursday. "He's a very humble guy, very hard-working. He's really talented. He's got a lot of physical skills.

"But it seems like he's been in the wrong place at the wrong time or hasn't been able to grasp a situation when it's put there in front of him."

Jackson spent five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He started 12 games in 2007, but lost the job to Gus Frerotte in 2008. The Vikings signed Brett Favre in 2009. Jackson signed with the Seahawks last year as a free agent and quickly was named the starter.

"Here, it was unfortunate because he came in when there was a lockout," Moon said. "So he didn't get a chance to learn anything until the season started. Then he got hurt in the first game. He was hampered by that, and he showed a lot of toughness. Our offensive line wasn't very good. He got beat up a lot.

"He was able to fight through the season and was able to earn a lot of respect from the coaches and also the players because he played with an injury, but they were looking for something more at the quarterback position."

Seattle signed high-profile free agent Matt Flynn and drafted Russell Wilson in the third round. Wilson beat out Flynn for the starting job, and Seattle traded Jackson to Buffalo.

"He's better than what he's shown," Moon said. "But sometimes as a quarterback you've got to be in the right place at the right time. I think that just hasn't happened for him.

"I think he can be a starter, but I think he definitely will be a good backup, the kind of guy who can make some plays for you, win a couple of ballgames for you.

"Being a starter, that's something he's going to have to earn. He had a 10-win season when he was in Minnesota. He's someone that can win football games, but organizations are always looking for a little bit more, especially when you don't make the playoffs."

Buffalo reportedly traded a conditional seventh-round draft choice to Seattle for Jackson, with the pick turning into a sixth-rounder if he was active for six games. Jackson has dressed for zero.

The Bills are paying Jackson a base salary of $1.75 million.


Ryan Fitzpatrick | Tarvaris Jackson | Tyler Thigpen | Vince Young
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |