The Christian Ponder Positivity Train is rolling full-steam ahead. Many of the hardcore haters have gone into hiding. The hardcore Ponderheads, who about two months ago were themselves hiding, are puffing out their chests. The world has been turned on its ear. Christian Ponder is a real NFL quarterback. And only the most off-the-rails insane anti-Ponderers are still saying Joe Webb should play.
So where does a rational person come down in this? You have to give Ponder his due credit. He played a nice game. He got some lucky breaks and frankly some of the defensive playcalling was a bit puzzling. So he may have been helped out a little bit by the circumstances. But he made some good throws too. He made some good decisions. He found open receivers. He played well overall. And he did it under very pressurized circumstances.
What I see here more than anything is a plan coming together. Bill Musgrave’s offense is finally starting to gel. He’s found some receiving weapons he thinks he can rely on. He’s figured out what works for guys like Jarius Wright, Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins. He has a feel for those guys now. And Ponder has developed some chemistry with them. And of course it helps big-time when your running back is tearing the defense to shreds.
Again, there’s the tendency to make this more about Ponder than maybe is fair. Ponder deserves his share of the credit. But he doesn’t deserve all the credit. He also didn’t deserve all the blame when he was playing bad and the offense looked like crap. But he did deserve his share of the blame. Maybe a QB in this system should get less blame and less credit than, say, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning?
That’s all I have to say to both the hardcore bashers and the hardcore boosters. Haters, Ponder is not as bad as you thought. Ponderheads, he is not as good as you think. He is somewhere in between. Right now, he at least looks like a real NFL quarterback. That’s about the best compliment I can pay him. Two months ago I would not have said this. I would have said I doubted his ability to ever get the job done. I would have been wrong in my doubts. I now have to say, I short-changed him. I may have given Bill Musgrave too much grief as well. Perhaps we should’ve all been more patient and given Musgrave’s plan time to come together.
But of course we’re fans and we don’t have a lot of patience. We want results today. Thankfully, Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier and the rest of the Vikings brain trust are not as dumb and antsy as we are. They get how it works. They understand putting the pieces together and letting it gel. Of course they haven’t actually won anything yet. Getting to the playoffs is a nice step, but it’s only a step. They understand that. They will continue being patient and letting this thing come together.
Maybe the best thing would be to just enjoy this while it lasts. And not be too disappointed if the Vikings get shredded in Green Bay this Saturday. Cause let’s face it. There’s a very good chance they will get shredded. And then the screaming wackos will come out of the woodwork calling for Leslie Frazier to be canned and Christian Ponder cut. But neither of things will happen, no matter how bad it gets in Green Bay. Because it’s just another stage in the plan. You can build on a humiliating defeat as much as you can build on a triumphant victory. If you know how to work your plan.
Hey, be optimistic about this. At least it looks like there is a plan. Could you say that in 2010 or 2011? This organization looked completely lost over that two-year stretch. Now they look like they know what they’re doing. That’s an improvement in itself. Today, the GM, the coach and the QB all look like they are at least competent and possibly more than that. It’s amazing what a four game winning streak and a playoff berth will do to perceptions. Two months ago we thought those guys were all dog poop.
Well they’re not dog poop. But they’re not winners yet either. We still don’t know what they are. We’ll find out a little more on Saturday in Lambeau.
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