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Rick Spielman hopes Christian Ponder follows trajectory of Brees, Eli

Christian+Ponder+Chicago+Bears+v+Minnesota+jcULvvl8hTYl Getty Images

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman isn’t thinking small when he looks ahead to quarterback Christian Ponder’s second season with the team.

As part of an effort to analyze what to expect from Ponder, Spielman took a look at the numbers posted by Drew Brees and Eli Manning in their first few years in the league. Spielman saw that they steadily improved from year to year, leaving him encouraged about what lies ahead for Ponder.

“I looked at the statistical analysis, and they were all very similar their rookie years,” Spielman said, via Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press. “And you look at where they developed and where their numbers came in their second years.”

Brees only played in one game as a rookie, although Spielman’s larger point remains the same. The only problem with the methodology is that Spielman picked the two of the best quarterbacks in the league for his sample. It stands to reason that Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks with long careers showed major growth over the first few years of their careers, but any true attempt to plot out the likelihood of Ponder’s growth also has to include highly drafted guys who haven’t reached elite heights — guys like Jason Campbell, Mark Sanchez and JaMarcus Russell — to be remotely accurate.

Basically, you can’t assume that the only option is that Ponder will get better. Spielman surely knows that, even as he hopes that it is the only option that comes into play for his football team.

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30 Responses to “Rick Spielman hopes Christian Ponder follows trajectory of Brees, Eli”
  1. gcsuk says: Jul 18, 2012 1:20 PM

    What a shock. A GM that wants his QB to blossom into a SB-winning MVP. Who’da thunk it?

  2. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 18, 2012 1:24 PM

    Having similar rookie stats as great quarterbacks doesn’t guarantee that he’ll become a great quarterback, but it does prove that you can’t judge a quarterback by his rookie stats.

  3. dcsween says: Jul 18, 2012 1:27 PM

    Jason Campbell has improved statistically every year of his career. He just hasn’t been in a stable enough situation yet where those improved statistics convert into winning games. Right now, Campbell is the best #2 QB in the league and is a lot better than several of the starters. Campbell can not only finish a game, he could finish a post-season. If Martz were still in Chicago, Campbell would have a very good chance of seeing playing time. Joe Gibbs had all the right instincts in drafting Campbell, just not an owner to recognize that you have to pay for at least one man to be a #2 offensive lineman if someone goes down.

  4. tmvikings says: Jul 18, 2012 1:29 PM

    I really want Ponder to do well but just don’t see it- I think this will end up being the year of JOE WEBB!

  5. pistolsmoke says: Jul 18, 2012 1:39 PM

    NFL fans, coaches, and GM’s are all impatient now-a-days. Vikes fan here, and lot of my friends were giving me hard time that Ponder sucks and looks like he won’t amount to anything. Really?? The guy broke a rookie passing record for Vikings and he didn’t start till halfway into the season with basically no training camp. When it comes to a franchise QB, you can’t judge anything off their rookie year. He may suck, but won’t really know that answer till the completion of this season (if he plays all 16 games).

  6. thegreatgabbert says: Jul 18, 2012 1:43 PM

    Except Brees had his worst season in his third year. Which led to San Diego having the top draft pick and Eli Manning.

  7. drwbrsdmndsnxplntn says: Jul 18, 2012 1:45 PM

    I’m personally excited to see ponder this year. I watched every snap last year and I have have complete confidence in CP7. I like the Eli comparison, obviously none of us have enough to go off of, but I’ve seen everything he’s done on the Vikings. More than talking heads who see him as a question mark. Give him time! He’s a lot of fun to watch, and his taking the reigns this, his first, offseason; results will follow.

    I’m not going to spout off the same tired clichés about his circumstances, but the core that is being built at the salary levels will soon be ready to retake the NFC north and hold it in our frozen grasp for many years to come, just like we’ve always done.

  8. mnomalley says: Jul 18, 2012 1:54 PM

    Ponders first NFL start > Rodgers first NFL start

  9. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jul 18, 2012 2:01 PM

    Later at the bar, Spielman said:

    “Actually I don’t want hope. Hope is killing me. My dream is to become hopeless. When you’re hopeless, you don’t care, and when you don’t care, that indifference makes you attractive.”

  10. mattolikesthevikes says: Jul 18, 2012 2:02 PM

    Well duh. What gm wants their qb to regress and set the franchise back.

  11. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 18, 2012 2:06 PM

    Aaron Rodgers couldn’t even get on the field his rookie year. When he finally did start, he led a 13-3 team to a 6-10 record. Look at him now, though.

  12. dkalev says: Jul 18, 2012 2:13 PM

    ok any giants fan myself included will tell you Eli was awful until the buffalo game in 2007 to clinch playoff berth as a wild card… that was 3.5 disastrous seasons where we needed tiki to carry us to the playoffs every year… when he left and the d took us there, Eli woke up and took us the rest of the way… statistically Eli isn’t very good… but he’s def a HOF…

  13. greatminnesotasportsmind says: Jul 18, 2012 2:17 PM

    Here’s the thing, Ponder did those numbers with no OTAs and no off season program last year. I’m interested to see how he progresses with those this year and a half of season of being an NFL QB.

  14. mas151 says: Jul 18, 2012 2:23 PM

    Really Rick? I would have thought you were looking for another Todd Marinovich or Ryan Leaf.

  15. socalvike says: Jul 18, 2012 2:23 PM

    I want to like Ponder however I think Joe Webb is a better prospect. The Vikes will more than likely continue to develop Webb and trade him off to a team that will get him a ring.

    Just sayin…..

  16. bobterwilliger says: Jul 18, 2012 2:28 PM

    “Ponders first NFL start > Rodgers first NFL start”

    Check your stats, son.

    Ponder’s first start October 23, 2011: 40.6% completion percentage, 219 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 59.3 rating. Vikings lose 33-27 to the Packers.

    Rodgers first start: 81.8%, 178 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 115.5. More importantly, the Packers defeated the Vikings 24-19.

    Now, if you want to say, Rodgers didn’t start for 3 seasons, that’s fair, but that’s only because the Packers had the foresight to think about replacing their previous quarterback a few years before they did it, while the Vikings were forced to play Ponder when they had to replace…the Packers previous quarterback.

  17. wludford says: Jul 18, 2012 2:33 PM

    To be honest, I hope Ponder develops a lot faster than Eli did. I think he has the talent and smarts to do it too.

  18. herpderpdeederp says: Jul 18, 2012 2:52 PM

    Ponder regressed last season, which was unfortunate. Would he have done better if he’d been the anointed starter from day one? Who can say.

    Of course, being publicly supportive of him is the best move now. The real question is what happens if/when he struggles again during the season. Spielman is hanging his hat on the Ponder pick and it seems like that could give Spielman and Fraiser a bit of a pass if the Vikings end the season around 6-10. If 2012 is as epically bad as 2011, Spielman and/or the Wilfs could choose to clean house.

    Had the Vikings won Ponder’s first start against Green Bay (it was close), I think the media and fans would be selling as much hope as Spielman is right now.

  19. packhawk04 says: Jul 18, 2012 2:53 PM

    Rodgers took a 13-3 team and led them to 6-10″

    He also threw for 4000 yds, 28 tds, and 13 ints and a rating of over 93. Going out on a limb and saying he had very little to do with that record. Perhaps it was the 23rd ranked defense down from 7 the year before??

  20. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 18, 2012 3:41 PM

    socalvike says:Jul 18, 2012 2:23 PM

    I want to like Ponder however I think Joe Webb is a better prospect. The Vikes will more than likely continue to develop Webb and trade him off to a team that will get him a ring.

    Just sayin…..
    ______

    Yeah, because a sixth-round pick from a small school who was drafted as a wide receiver is always a better quarterback prospect than a first-round pick from Florida State.

  21. zn0rseman says: Jul 18, 2012 3:46 PM

    All of these Viking fans claiming they prefer Joe Webb are idiots.

    Webb has a lot of athletic ability but doesn’t hold a candle to Ponder or Rosenfels as a QB. Webb’s arm strength is mediocre, his accuracy is poor and he’s never shown the ability to do anything more than scramble.

    Ponder however, looks like the real deal with food throwing accuracy a good arm and the mental ability to read defenses and make smart plays.

    Frankly, I’m getting pissed off at Frasier for wasting Webb’s talent at QB when he could contribute right away as a receiver.

  22. polamalurulz43 says: Jul 18, 2012 4:42 PM

    Ricky Stanzi’s GM also has high hopes for his dope. Good luck with those QBs.

  23. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jul 18, 2012 4:47 PM

    thankheavenfornumberseven says:Jul 18, 2012 3:41 PM

    Yeah, because a sixth-round pick from a small school who was drafted as a wide receiver is always a better quarterback prospect than a first-round pick from Florida State.

    ——-

    Well yeah, but just because the vikings took him in the 1st round, doesn’t mean he’s 1st round talent. That’s like saying Dimitrius Underwood was 1st round talent or TJack was 2nd round talent. A 1st round draft pick from the vikes is probably most equivalent to a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick from most other NFL teams. Probably closer to a 4th or 5th round draft pick for the Packers.

  24. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 18, 2012 5:48 PM

    Carl Gerbschmidt says:Jul 18, 2012 4:47 PM

    thankheavenfornumberseven says:Jul 18, 2012 3:41 PM

    Yeah, because a sixth-round pick from a small school who was drafted as a wide receiver is always a better quarterback prospect than a first-round pick from Florida State.

    ——-

    Well yeah, but just because the vikings took him in the 1st round, doesn’t mean he’s 1st round talent. That’s like saying Dimitrius Underwood was 1st round talent or TJack was 2nd round talent. A 1st round draft pick from the vikes is probably most equivalent to a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick from most other NFL teams. Probably closer to a 4th or 5th round draft pick for the Packers.
    __________

    Yeah, the Packers are well known for their great early round picks like Justin Harrell, Mike Neal, Brian Brohm, Patrick Lee, Brandon Jackson, AJ Hawk, Terrence Murphy, Ahmad Carroll, Jamal Reynolds, and Antwan Edwards.

  25. gtodriver says: Jul 18, 2012 7:05 PM

    packhawk04 says:

    “He also threw for 4000 yds, 28 tds, and 13 ints and a rating of over 93. Going out on a limb and saying he had very little to do with that record. Perhaps it was the 23rd ranked defense down from 7 the year before??”

    Rodgers feasted on the Detroit Lions, that 0 – 16 team of 2008, twice. 6 TD’s, 636 yards and no INT’s with a QB rating in the upper 120’s.

    The main reason that the Packer defense statistics went down was Rodgers frequent inability to sustain a drive – causing the D to have to go back out on the field.

    Example – Packers at Minnesota in 2008 – Final score Packers 27 – Vikings 28…

    Rodgers – 15 for 26, 142 yards, 0 TD’s

    GB scoring – only 1 TD – after an INT by Woodson giving Rodgers the ball in MN territory.

    1 TD on punt return by Blackmon.

    1 TD on INT return by Collins.

    1 FG after an INT by Williams gave Rodgers the ball in MN territory again.

    1 FG after the GB defense recovered a fumble, once again in MN territory.

    BTW – Rodgers was responsible for two safeties – giving up 4 points.

    Rodgers only led the offense to 10 first downs in the game.

    Gus Frerotte kept trying to give the game to the Packers (3 INT’s) and the Vikings lost two fumbles. 5 total turnovers for the Packer D…

    Rodgers left his defense on the field for over 36 minutes and could only lead 1 TD drive on a short field provided by his defense.

    Yeah, blame the defense.

  26. dockery23 says: Jul 18, 2012 7:26 PM

    Vikes will be just fine this year. Im pumped to watch the season unfold.

  27. dumplingsrbrown says: Jul 18, 2012 9:53 PM

    How the o-line shakes out with Kalil starting and some shuffling around will have a significant impact. I suspect that Ponder is going to get off to a slow start and we won’t be able to accurately assess his growth until mid to late season. Displaying moderate QB talent and leadership he should get 6 to 8 victories this year. This is the bar I will use to judge him.

  28. bobnelsonjr says: Jul 18, 2012 10:52 PM

    Ponder is a downgrade from Tarvaris Jackson and had a season statistically worse than McNabb.

    In their first 50 years the vikings have never drafted and developed an elite QB.

    No reason to think they will now with the NFL’s worst coach.

  29. burnz1379 says: Jul 19, 2012 9:37 AM

    I’m sick of all these people saying Joe webb is the answer.. did you not watch him play??? His passes wobbled.. weren’t accurate.. and his arm strength isn’t there.. the only reason he did good is because he could scramble and the defense wasn’t expecting the the running qb.. If a defence had a full week to prep for him they would force him to stay in the pocket and pass and I don’t think he has what it takes to do that… he’s the perfect backup because our style of play changes so dramatically when he goes in..

    I’m not completely convinced on ponder yet.. I look forward to watching him this year and hope he will improve with a better offensive line to give him a little more time in the pocket.. and a full training camp to get his timing with the receivers down..

  30. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 19, 2012 11:13 AM

    bobnelsonjr says:Jul 18, 2012 10:52 PM

    Ponder is a downgrade from Tarvaris Jackson and had a season statistically worse than McNabb.

    In their first 50 years the vikings have never drafted and developed an elite QB.

    No reason to think they will now with the NFL’s worst coach.
    _______

    Ever heard of Fran Tarkenton? How about Daunte Culpepper, who was one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks in 2004 and an injury effectively ended his career the next year. That makes two. How many elite quarterbacks have the Packers drafted and developed in the last 50 years? I can think of one.

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