Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb certainly hasn’t set the NFL on fire so far this season. His quarterback rating in the low eighties is not up to the expectations of the organization or the fans. His completion rate of over sixty percent is a little misleading because he has only thrown for around a thousand yards.
Because of the aforementioned data, head coach Leslie Frazier has decided to allow Christian Ponder to take snaps behind center this season. I don’t have a problem with removing McNabb from the situation, but it is certainly a peculiar time to do so. Two of the next three games are against the storied Green Bay Packers.
The Packers have been firing on all cylinders this season and are undoubtedly the top performers in the NFC thus far. It seems like the Vikings are throwing Ponder to the wolves. Another pertinent analogy could be that he has to either sink or swim in this situation.
Critics will insinuate that the team is trying to lose to increase its standing to acquire Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. I am not in this camp, because coaches and players have tremendous pride in their performance and respect for the integrity of the game. Without the latter, the contests turn into WWE wrestling.
The team’s insertion of Ponder brings back bad memories of other rookie quarterbacks. David Carr took so many hits early in his career that he was never able to fully recover and be the same player again. On the flipside, Andy Dalton is coming out of TCU and having success with the Bengals this season. He, however, is the exception and not the rule. Troy Aikman is also very fortunate that he didn’t get knocked out of the league during his early days with the Dallas Cowboys.
The one positive aspect of the scenarios is the bye coming up soon in week nine that will provide opportunities for much more extensive tutelage of the young gunslinger. Ponder has the reputation as a student of the game, so the extra video time and the chance for repetitions in practice should really pay dividends before the second contest against the Packers in Lambeau Field.
Aaron Rodgers puts up some prodigious numbers with the Packers. His seventeen touchdowns to only three interceptions are video game statistics. He has already passed for over two thousand yards in only six weeks. The reason that I am citing these successes is to make another argument to keep Ponder on the bench.
He will be pressing in the two contests against the Packers because Minnesota will likely be behind in both games. Therefore, running back Adrian Peterson will not be utilized to the fullest extent possible on either date; because Minnesota will be forced to pass a vast majority of the time, as they will be trailing. Then the comeback will be dependent upon Ponder completing passes down the field to open receivers. This is a lot to ask of a quarterback that was projected to go in the second or third round in the NFL Draft last April.
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