When you talk about players under the most pressure to perform in 2013, Christian Ponder‘s name has to come up. The third-year Minnesota Vikings quarterback is heading into a make or break season, after performing at an average level over his first two years.
I’m in the minority of people who think that Ponder isn’t as bad as he’s been made out to be. He’s no doubt played terrible at times in his first two years, but that’s not uncommon for young QBs. He’s also shown glimpses of a really good player, who’s deserving of being the Vikings’ signal-caller. The problem thus far is that Ponder has had trouble finding a balance between the two extremes.
Often times in 2012 Ponder was nothing more than the proverbial ‘game manager’. He was mainly responsible for moving the chains with short throws, and of course handing off to Adrian Peterson. Outside of those two duties, Ponder didn’t do much else. Occasional shots were taken down the field, but that certainly wasn’t a regular part of the Vikings’ offense.
So for Ponder to take that next step, and essentially keep his job, he must evolve from his game manger role. Very few times in NFL history have we seen teams win the Super Bowl with nothing more than a game manger at the helm. If Ponder can’t take his game to the next level, either will the Vikings.
There are no more excuses for the QB. He has the best running back in the game behind him, and a very good offensive line in front of him. Rick Spielman and the front office folks went out and did their job by putting more weapons around him, and now the third-year QB just simply has to get the job done.
It’s take the next step, or take a step back for Christian Ponder in 2013.
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