Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Booty vs. Bollinger

I could have come up with some witty subhead for "Booty vs. Bollinger," like "The Epic Struggle" or "This Time It's Personal" or "Who's Number Three?" In the end, though, the real subhead should probably be "Let's Just Hope Neither of Them Actually Plays Any Serious Role in '08."

Brad Childress will be resting all his starters, as well as backup QB Gus Frerotte and starter Tarvaris Jackson, for the preseason finale against Dallas. In their place, both Brooks Bollinger and John David Booty will be getting about a half of action in Friday's preseason finale, and it's a safe bet to say that the "loser" of this particular contest won't be wearing purple at this time next week.

I've said pretty much nothing good about Bollinger since he came to the Vikings. His one start came against the Packers in that 34-0 shellacking last year and, while it's true he didn't play very well in that game, he wasn't awful either, going 16-26 for 176 yards and one interception. His career 75.2 passer rating is OK for a backup, and he runs well, so it might seem that he's not as bad as I've made him out to be.

Bollinger's big weakness is his awful propensity to take a sack. For a player with his mobility, his sack % is absolutely hideous. Bollinger's been sacked on 11.8% of his dropbacks as a pro, including one in six dropbacks since joining the Vikings. Non-Bollinger QBs have been sacked on 7.3% of their dropbacks during that span. That's also worse than the league average (about 6.4% over the last two years), but when you look at the Vikings' QBs the last two years, from the old and immoble (Brad Johnson and Kelly Holcomb) to the young and inexperienced (Tarvaris Jackson), it's not quite as bad as it could be.

All that being said, there's little doubt that Bollinger has outplayed rookie John David Booty so far this preseason. While both men's raw passing numbers -- 8-17 for 71 yards for Bollinger against 14-26 for 110 yards for Booty -- are unimpressive, it's the ancillary numbers that give Bollinger an edge. He hasn't been intercepted and has been sacked only once, while Booty has thrown two picks and been dumped for a loss five times. It's a small sample size, and Booty is a rookie, but there's probably a reason why he lasted until the fifth round.

Given the Vikings' shaky QB situation, a lot of people, myself included, were hopeful that Booty would stick with the team out of camp and might even, if Tarvaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte were injured/ineffective, be able to step in and, at the very least, keep the Viking ship afloat. Not that you could have expected much from a rookie fifth-round pick, but there was some thought that, if Jackson didn't work out after this year, that Booty might be the long-term answer for the position. Now it's looking like he'll have to fight just for a roster spot.

The ultimate nightmare? In my mind, it's that Jackson flames out, Booty never makes anything of himself and Gus Frerotte and Brooks Bollinger continue being Gus Frerotte and Brooks Bollinger. Then, over in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers can't get it done and the Packers turn to Brian Brohm -- whom the Vikings could have drafted with their second-round pick this April -- who leads them to multiple division titles and wins over the Vikings. Maybe it's a little -- OK, maybe it's a lot pessimistic -- but until we solidify our QB situation for the long term, it'll always be gnawing away at my brain. In the meantime, let's hope JDB can turn in a solid performance this week and avoid the waiver wire.

After all, our team used to have a Moon (Warren) and a Johnson (Brad) at quarterback...why not some Booty?

1 comment:

Peter said...

Brohm's success would be my undoing.

I've been nervously awaiting Kellen Clemens' emergence as a superstar (I was pulling hard for the Vikings to draft him the year they took Jackson) but that hasn't happened yet. Would Clemens look better behind Minnesota's offensive line and supported by a stout defense and running game that are the envy of nearly every other quarterback in the league? Perhaps.

Or perhaps Clemens just plain sucks and Brohm is following him down Leaf blvd.