Archive for the ‘Christian Ponder’ Category

Tennessee Titans v Minnesota Vikings

With the Vikings’ acquisition of veteran quarterback Matt Cassel, some assumed it meant that Minnesota’s starting QB job was open for discussion.

Head coach Leslie Frazier is not one of those people.

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To ponder is to think thoroughly prior to reaching a solution, which, when applied, implies that Christan Ponder has made smart decisions with the ball this season. He hasn’t.

Now in his second year, the Viking is supposed to be improving as a passer, and although his numbers seemingly indicate that he has (even if it may be to the slightest of margins), he truly hasn’t. He’s operating largely in a scheme that places an emphasis on the short passing game, which suits his abilities well, but doesn’t necessarily win games — partly because of the scheme itself and the execution of it by the trigger man. And now he’s facing the Chicago Bears defense for the second time in three weeks; the same one that forced a fumble once, intercepted him once, and allowed him to complete only 51 percent of his passes to go along with a quarterback rating of 58.2. Ouch.

What exactly went all wrong for Ponder in the initial Week 12 meeting?

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I remember a time when Christian Ponder had three-pronged greatness, or at least goodness (yeah, probably goodness): he was a great waiver wire add, a great option in two quarterback leagues, and a great flex option in leagues that allow QB plays in that spot.

Choose whichever word you wish to describe his level of awesome (good, great, satisfactory), but there’s no denying that as a utility option during the first portion of the season, he was an efficient fantasy point producer. Over the first three weeks he had five touchdowns, one of which came on the ground, with scrambling another added element in his arsenal. During that stretch which included two weak opponents (Jaguars and Colts) followed by a win over the 49ers, Ponder averaged 16.3 fantasy points per game. He topped out at 24 points during that Week 3 game against the Niners when he passed for 198 yards and two touchdowns, and then rushed for 33 yards with a score on the ground.

That’s great QB2 production for those who need to start that number of quarterbacks weekly, and it gave the rest of us who stashed Ponder as a backup faith in him as we began the journey deep into the bye week abyss. For a brief time he seemed reliable, a core quality from a backup in fantasy and reality.

Now those warm feelings are gone, mostly because Ponder still isn’t showcasing another core quality, and one that’s essential for the success of any quarterback in any format.

He’s not throwing the ball deep. Ever.

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Did your first-round pick tear a muscle you can’t pronounce? Is your top running back doing more sucking than running? Welp, Let’s look for sleepers and waiver wire gold together, and be wrong together, and cry together.

Putting a claim in on Felix Jones is the easiest decision you’ve ever made. Or maybe the decision to eat a pack of Nibs for breakfast this morning was easier (#bloglife).

There are many, many other ways in which the waiver wire this week is both not easy, and painfully thin. Strap on your snorkel, let’s go exploring.

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When setting goals, it’s important to stay within the realm of possibility. For example, when you’re a chronic drunk who makes formulaic sitcoms, you probably shouldn’t forecast your return to glory too early (#truthtorpedoed).

For the first and likely only time in the history of time, Charlie Sheen may have something in common with Christian Ponder, the Vikings sophomore quarterback who’s scoring points for ambition, but he doesn’t understand the concept of realistic goal setting. After a rookie season that mostly consisted of the kind of rookie play that we’ve come to expect from first-year QBs not named Cam newton (as many interceptions as touchdowns, a 54.3 completion percentage, and 30 sacks), Ponder is eying a drastic and swift improvement.

And that’s swell. Really swell, Christian. But maybe you should set those sights a little lower to something that’s, you know, possible.

Here’s what he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

“We want 75 percent completions on first and second downs. That’s the number we’re shooting for. Obviously, we were in a lot of third-and-long situations a year ago, and we want to get out of that.”

Again, that’s just terrific. Ponder and the Vikings offense need to improve, and that’s not possible without grand goals. But he’s blown past grand here.

As noted by Brian McIntyre, last year Ponder completed 50.9 percent of his passes on first down, and 56.8 percent on second down. Both of those numbers are significantly below his stated goal, a ratio even the league’s elite, record-breaking passers didn’t reach last year. In 2011 Tom Brady completed 68.3 percent of his passes on first down and 67.3 on second down, while Drew Brees finished with 71.1 and 71.2.

So settle down, you young whippersnapper. You have learnin’ to do yet

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