"We want to put the best product of quarterback out there on each snap, regardless of ones, twos, threes, fours – we want everybody to do well. We want this offense ultimately to do well obviously and hopefully help us win, and we know the quarterback position is a big part of that," Bollinger said last week. "It's going to take all of us pushing each other to put the best product on the field."
To date, however, Jackson has gotten the vast majority of snaps with the first-team offense and Tuesday morning might have been Jackson's most decisive practice of training camp as he connected on a few long passes and seemed to know where to go with the ball when the deep routes were well-covered.
Bollinger threw one interception Tuesday morning, but that came on a pass that deflected off of running back Ciatrick Fason and into the hard-charging arms of linebacker Rufus Alexander.
"We have to understand on offense that protection of the football is a big part of this game for any team really, but especially behind a defense that performed as well as ours did last year," Bollinger said.
Taking care of the football is something that head coach Brad Childress continues to preach, but eventually the offense will need its skill-position players to step forward and make the plays necessary to win. Yet a check of the depth chart doesn't show many proven star receivers for Jackson and Bollinger to target.
But an offseason of work with very few absences from the receivers and quarterbacks could help make up for a lack of "sexy" names at the receiver position, Bollinger said.
"I think we developed over the offseason great continuity with our receivers. Everybody has been working hard, and I think they all have shown great improvement," he said. "I think we all have as quarterbacks and receivers working together. … Hopefully by the end of the year we'll have a couple of guys that are considered big-name guys out there."
The one with the most potential to fill that role is Troy Williamson, the former first-round draft pick who was taken for speed … and who has worked hard to try to overcome a lack of consistent pass-catching skills this offseason.
"As soon as this season ended he worked really extremely hard. Through that, he built his confidence and he's been doing great things. He's an exciting player to watch," Bollinger said.
But even if it is not Bollinger regularly targeting Williamson, Bollinger has a role on the team. It might be that of mentor to a young starting quarterback, or it could be that Bollinger is given a real chance to unseat Jackson before the regular season begins. No matter what his role is, he's seen it work a number of different ways.
"I think the quarterbacks I was around, like Vinny Testeverde and Chad Pennington, it didn't matter who was the mentor, who was the young guy, who was the middle guy, everybody just learned from each other and talked football. Obviously, when I was there (with the New York Jets) I did a lot of learning. The key is just to have that communication," said Bollinger, who referred to Jackson as a quick learner.
"Tarvaris has been around, too – he's played football. He was around Brad and those guys last year. He really does a good job of listening and remembering. He never has to hear too many things twice. I'll ask him stuff all the time."
"He is close to being ready. He doesn't have any physical issues right now," Childress said. "He probably needs to get that thing loaded up a little bit in terms of leaning on people."
"I think our ones gave up one against us today – out of four, which is reasonable – but you hate to have a third-and-12 or -13 converted against you because there's the effect of the yardage, there is the effect of demoralizing the defense, there is the effect of the momentum of the offense, a bunch of things that you feel, so that was the primary situation today."
"I see him walking with our Nike Vision guys right there. He probably caught that one because our Nike Vision people are here today. If that is the case, then I need to have them here all the time," Childress said. "Anyhow, it's a two-edge thing. I talk about long foul balls all the time. Defensive backs never play enough long balls. Obviously if the ball goes up the field, the percentages go down the field in terms of completing them.
"I feel like he is throwing it down the field a good way with a good trajectory, but I don't feel like we are laying it down close enough for the receiver to make a play on the football. I think we need improvement there."