Monday, November 26, 2012

Peterson Not Enough to Propel Ponder

After a 3-13 2011 season in which Christian Ponder started 10 games, finishing with 1800 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, the Vikings' front office and coaching staff put us on notice--wait until 2012!

Why the optimism?  Those not buying the usual sales pitch of a general manager reaching to defend a reach were admonished that Ponder would improve and improve exponentially in 2012 as the result of a full off-season and training camp, a starting role from day one, greater familiarity with the coaching staff, and greater understanding of the game.

When things began to go south in 2012, the Vikings' General Manager told us that quarterbacks need 25 games before they properly can be judged.

As things went further south in 2012, the Vikings' General Manager told us that three years are required to make a proper assessment of a quarterback.

Eyes and statistics tell us, however, what Rick Spielman currently is unwilling to admit--that Ponder is, at best, a caretaker quarterback.  Sunday's performance only further cements that impression.

Through eleven games in 2012, Ponder is minus 399 yards passing against the opposition versus the mean.  That means that the rest of the league averages nearly 400 yards more passing against the Vikings' opposition to date than does Ponder.

That statistic, alone, is not nearly telling enough, however.  Far better is a comparison of that figure to one offered by another quarterback that virtually no team in the league, save his own, currently considers anything other than a sub-par quarterback--Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins.

On the season, Tannehill has passed for plus 114 yards against the opposition versus the mean.  For the average quarterback, the difference between Tannehill and Ponder is nearly two full games of passing.  For Ponder, it is at least double that figure.

Even in the one game for which Ponder received accolades this year as a meaningful force on the field--the San Francisco game--Ponder passed for but one more yard than the league average.

Passing yards are but one statistic--one measure of a quarterback's value to a team.  But passing yards are particularly meaningful for evaluating a quarterback's value because the current NFL is a passing league with rules intended to promote passing, every 100 yards of passing tends to equate to seven points, and teams that pass well tend to win.

Passing statistics are also particularly relevant for assessing Ponder's career, because Ponder has had the luxury of playing with Adrian Peterson--a luxury that should make Ponder appear even better than he is.  Fear greatly how Ponder would look were he blessed with merely a Toby Gerhart in the backfield.

Up Next:  Was Reinventing The Wheel Musgrave's Demise in Carolina, As Well?

1 comment:

Childress of A Lesser God said...

No rational or honest person can look at Ponder's body of work and proclaim that he can be a franchise QB.

In today's NFL rookies and second year QBs have played huge roles on teams of various talent levels (e.g., Newton, Dalton, Kaepernick, Tannehill, Luck and Griffin). The days of waiting years for a 1st round draft pick to "develop" are simply over.

Its obvious that Ponder doesn't have "it" - however you want to define that word. He simply is not an NFL caliber starting QB.

Worse, he has zero confidence. You can tell by his body language that he does not expect to succeed. At best, he is hoping not to fail - and that's not a good quality for a team leader.

The Vikings' brass can continue to "invest" in Ponder's development - but in doing so their jobs should be in the line. If Ponder fails, Fraiser and Spielman should be joining him on the unemployment line.