We addressed it in the Monday Morning Mailbag, but because I’ve received – and continue to receive – so many emails on it and because not everyone who reads the blog necessarily reads the Mailbag, I wanted to bring up the Christian Ponder-Joe Webb discussion one more time here.
Ponder, dealing with a painful hip injury suffered last week in Denver, made it through this past week and was able to push himself enough to make the start on Sunday. Eventually, though, Ponder couldn’t overcome the injury and Leslie Frazier pulled him in favor of Joe Webb. As you surely saw or at least have heard by now, Webb sparked the team and nearly completed an improbable comeback.
As a result, many of you have formulated the opinion that Webb should be the starter. That’s the basis of the entire discussion, and I’ll provide my opinion here to open up discussion for everyone in the comments section and that will be the last I’ll mention it for the week. Frazier has already said that Ponder is the starter if healthy going forward, and I don’t see that changing.
I agree with Frazier that Ponder should be the starter. It’s not taking anything away from Webb; he came in and did everything he could possibly do to make plays and bring the Vikings back to life. To me, Webb has proven once again that he belongs on an NFL roster and he belongs on the field more often. He’s a playmaker and he possesses a unique skill set that any offense could utilize. And I believe the Vikings will utilize Webb more often going forward, especially once we get to the 2012 season. Let me reiterate – Webb is a terrific player, he belongs in the NFL, he answered the bell above and beyond the call of duty on Sunday, he was a great draft pick by the Vikings and I hope he remains on the team for many years to come.
But with all of that said, Ponder is and will remain the starter and the future of the position for the Vikings. Is he making mistakes right now? Yes, he’s making mistakes. And I know it gets frustrating to watch a quarterback repeatedly give the ball away to the other team. But when you’re in the business of developing a franchise quarterback who is currently in his first year, you have to live with growing pains. Overnight results happen when you’re making Jell-O and baking bread, but not when you’re developing franchise quarterbacks.
As I said in this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag, just look at some of the most successful quarterbacks in the NFL over the past decade. Then look at how they performed in their first year as the starter.
– Peyton Manning had three-interception games three times in his first four starts, and he had 11 interceptions over his first four games. After his first season, Manning had more interceptions (28) than touchdowns (26). I bet Colts fans are glad the team didn’t give up on him.
— Eli Manning had more interceptions (nine) than touchdowns (six) in games that he started as a rookie and then he had four multiple-interception games, including a four-interception game, during his first full year as the starter for the Giants.
— Aaron Rodgers had two three-interception games in his first year as the Packers starting quarterback.
— Matt Ryan had four multiple-interception games in his rookie season.
I’d be willing to bet that each of those teams and their fan bases are glad the team didn’t give up on their respective quarterback after a few bad games.
The moral of the story is to be patient and resist the urge to overreact. Ponder has made mistakes, there’s no denying that. But he’s also shown that he has the ability to be a franchise-caliber quarterback, and he’s done that while playing for a two-win team that needs an influx of talent at several offensive positions.
Be patient, Vikings fans. Ponder will be worth the wait.
Tags: Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 195 Comments »