Has Christian Ponder yet proven himself as an NFL quarterback? Some people believe he has. Mostly on the basis of those last four games of 2012 when he helped get the Vikings into the playoffs. Then there are people like Ron Jaworski who still ain’t feeling the Pondermonium.
Jaworski really really isn’t feeling Ponder. Right now Jaworski is slowly unveiling his quarterback rankings of 2013. You won’t have to wait to find out where Ponder ranks because Ponder’s name has already come up. Way way down on the list. Jaworski ranks the Vikings signal caller 27th among quarterbacks currently employed in the NFL. Just ahead of Mark Sanchez but behind Brandon Weeden. Jaws says of Ponder:
The arrow is pointing upward as Ponder begins his third season as the Vikings starter.
Ponder fits the profile so many are now talking about: the athletic movement quarterback who can beat you with his legs. Ponder is an opportunity runner, and he’s shown the ability to burn some of the best defenses in the league.
Ponder needs to make significant improvements as a pocket passer. Surprisingly, with Adrian Peterson in the backfield, he was not efficient off play-action. Ponder also had a tendency to be a beat late with his throws. At this point, he doesn’t see the whole field with clarity and that led to too many throws into the teeth of the coverage.
And he must execute versus the blitz much better than he did in 2012.
You know what statistic really bothered me? Ponder had only 28 completions of 20 yards or more — by far the fewest of any 16-game starter. I saw one in Week 17 that I really liked. It was a shot play, first-and-10 play-action out of base personnel.
Is this a fair assessment of Ponder’s place in the pecking order? I’m not sure he deserves to be behind guys like Weeden and Michael Vick. Sure, Ponder is not the most dynamic of passers. But he has shown himself to be a reliable performer at times and I think there are fewer question marks with him than a guy like Weeden.
And how can you rank him behind Vick knowing Vick’s injury history? I know Ponder missed the playoff game last year but that was a fluke thing. Overall he has been pretty durable. Certainly he is more durable physically than Vick who seems to get broken in half every game.
Of course this is all subjective. Jaworski’s view is just one man’s view. In the end it doesn’t really matter anyway. Ponder will get the chance to prove it on the field. If he can’t get it done, he can’t get it done. But if he can get it done? Then people like Jaworski – and yes, me – will end up eating our words.
As a Viking fan, I hope Ponder serves me up a big heaping helping of my words. Sincerely. I want the kid to get it done. I’m just not convinced he can. At least not consistently enough to succeed as a starter in the league. But we’ll see.