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Tarvaris Jackson signing makes sense for Bills

By Tim Graham

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised.

But something about the fan reaction to the Buffalo Bills' decision to re-sign quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is illogical.

Throughout last season, fans bombarded me with comments that Chan Gailey was incompetent for not giving Jackson a chance to play.

Today, I'm receiving a fusillade of tweets from fans who think Bills General Manager Buddy Nix is a clown for re-signing Jackson.

It's a smart move to bring Jackson back. The Bills ended the 2012 with only one quarterback under contract, and Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn't had an honest competition since he replaced Trent Edwards in September 2010.

The Bills need to bring at least four quarterbacks to training camp. They're almost certainly going to draft one in the first or second round in April.

Would Bills fans rather Tyler Thigpen stay in the mix? Or another green free-agent such as Aaron Corp, who the Bills signed Thursday?

Jackson provides veteran depth with experience in a West Coast offense, the foundation of new head coach Doug Marrone's system. Jackson has started 34 NFL games for the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks.

He has a 17-17 record as a starter for mediocre teams. He has a 59.4 percent career completion rate with 38 touchdowns and 35 interceptions. He can be a running threat.

The Vikings were on the cusp of the playoffs when they acquired Brett Favre, pushing Jackson into a deeper backup role.

Jackson signed with the Seahawks and became their starter. Then they signed Matt Flynn and drafted Russell Wilson, rendering Jackson superfluous.

So Jackson will stick around with the Bills, provide some experience and perhaps push Fitzpatrick and the rookie to get better. If Jackson doesn't work out, then the Bills can cut him.

What's so bad about all that?


Buddy Nix | Doug Marrone | Ryan Fitzpatrick | Tarvaris Jackson | Tyler Thigpen
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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 |