Friday, November 30, 2012

And Troy Williamson's Numbers Compare Favorably to Jerry Rice's Numbers

In either an attempt to ingratiate himself with somebody in the Vikings' organization or as a result of utter delusion, our local long-time sycophant scribe continues to offer excuses for why current Vikings' starting quarterback Christian Ponder has failed to achieve the success that the Vikings (and he) predicted for him prior to the start of the season.  In his screed, the scribe argues that Ponder's second-year numbers compare favorably to the second-year numbers of several now established starting quarterbacks.

In the same column, the scribe suggests that Ponder has been victimized by dropped passes to such an extent that his greatness has been masked by the failures of his receivers.  Not surprisingly, our scribe fails to support his ludicrous claims (in fact, the only numbers he offers are those that purport to support the claim that Ponder's statistics compare favorably with such quarterbacks as Tom Brady and Drew Brees--even though the numbers clearly show the opposite).

In previous columns, I have addressed the myth that Ponder has been the victim of dropped passes any more than any other quarterback in the league, pointing to statistics showing that the Vikings' receivers rank 25th in the NFL in dropped passes.

Apparently, that is not sufficient evidence for some, however, as the myth continues to circulate that "the Vikings don't know for certain whether the problem is Ponder or the receivers, particularly given all of the dropped passes by the Vikings' receivers" (quote courtesy Vikings' color man, Pete Bercich).

Again, the Vikings' receivers rank 25th in the league in dropped passes.  That means that 24 receiving corps have more dropped passes.

At least as telling as to where the Vikings' passing woes rest are statistics on individual dropped passes. Not one Viking receiver resides in the NFL's top 20 for dropped passes--eighteen teams have a player in this group with Tennessee and Denver having two such butterfingered wideouts.

The Vikings are represented in a corollary category, however, with two players among the top ten active receivers for percentage of passes thrown to them caught.  Percy Harvin is third in the NFL with 60 receptions on 61 catchable passes thrown to him.  Michael Jenkings ranks 10th in the NFL with 24 of 25 catchable passes caught.

Among the teams with receivers that drop the highest percentage of catchable passes are Denver (Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas), Washington (Santana Moss), New Orleans (Lance Moore), New England (Brandon Lloyd), and Green Bay (Jordy Nelson).  Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and RGIII rank one through four, respectively, in passer rating, Drew Brees is 12th.  With two of the league's more reliable receivers--and none of the league's least reliable receivers--Ponder ranks 24th in passer rating and well below all five of the these quarterbacks in passing yardage and offensive output.

Whether you believe that Ponder is being undermined by something other than his own limitations, the statistics strongly suggest that dropped passes is nowhere near the fore of the cause(s) of Ponder's problems.  If that myth can be put to rest, perhaps the Vikings can begin making plans in accordance with what the statistics and eyes tells us about Ponder's performance.

Up Next:  Will Minnesotans Be Represented on Stadium Commission in Lease and Revenue Stream Allocation Discussions?

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