That’s something Tarvaris Jackson never truly got the past two years in Minnesota, and it’s the single biggest reason he’s here in Seattle.
“A chance to have a chance,” Jackson said.
Jackson is first in line to fill the starting job Matt Hasselbeck held the past 10 years, and in San Diego on Thursday, the Seahawks will get their first look at Jackson’s second chance in an exhibition game against the Chargers.
“He’ll get out there for just a handful of plays,” coach Pete Carroll said of Jackson.
Let the overanalysis commence. There’s going to be no avoiding it, and plenty of people have already come to their own conclusions about Jackson’s trajectory after the past five years in Minnesota.
He was characterized as a reach when the Vikings chose him in the draft’s second round in 2006 out of Division I-AA Alabama State, and he was dubbed a bust when he was benched after two games into his third season. Each of the past two years, Brett Favre’s unretirement bumped Jackson down Minnesota’s depth chart.
And after all that, the Vikings were 10-10 in games Jackson started, and he has a higher career quarterback rating than Kevin Kolb, the quarterback for whom Arizona gave up a second-round pick, a starting cornerback and a boatload of money.
Instead, the Seahawks turned to Jackson, and Carroll proclaimed him the starter before he practiced. Jackson has a two-year contract and the opportunity to play his way into the Seahawks’ future.
Hasselbeck’s shadow isn’t the only thing Jackson will be trying to escape this year. Five years after the Vikings traded up to draft him, he still must prove he’s a viable starting quarterback in the NFL, something he was never able to do in Minnesota. If Jackson had played better as the starter, he never would have been replaced by Gus Frerotte in 2008 and then supplanted by Favre the next two years.
And now Jackson is in Seattle, playing for the same offensive coordinator he had in Minnesota. He’s one of several Seahawks with a new chance to show his old team it didn’t know what it had.
“Tarvaris has got something to prove,” Carroll said. “He’s got a new life and a new opportunity right here, but there’s a bunch of guys like that.”
Like Mike Williams and Marshawn Lynch in 2010, and defensive tackle Alan Branch, who was signed to start after he was a reserve in Arizona the past four seasons.
Jackson, 28, wasn’t a fallback plan. He’s the player Seattle opted for ahead of renewing an attempt to re-sign Hasselbeck once the lockout ended.
So what did Seattle get? There’s one person better than any to answer that question and it’s his offensive coordinator the past five years in Minnesota: Darrell Bevell.
“If you watch out here, two things jump out at you,” said Bevell, who’s now in Seattle.
“I think you see his athleticism and then I think you see his arm. … He can zip the ball when he needs to, he can put touch on it, and then he’s got the ability to keep some plays alive by moving and settling in the pocket or getting out of it.”
The exhibition opener won’t answer all of the questions about Jackson’s viability as a starting quarterback, but it will be the city’s first impression of this second chance.
“The biggest thing is, he just needs an opportunity to play,” Bevell said. “And I think we’re giving him that. And a belief that, ‘OK, we’re handing this to you, and we’re going to see what you can do with it.’ ”