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.