Christian Ponder: I have to be smarter

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When you see a headline like that and look at Christian Ponder’s line from Sunday, it would be easy to imagine that the Vikings lost their game.

Ponder was 8-of-17 for 58 yards and threw a pair of interceptions against the Cardinals, the kind of line that’s normally associated with quarterbacks who are headed for a week of controversy about whether or not they will keep their jobs. The Vikings won their game 21-14 behind big days from both Adrian Peterson and the defense, though, and Ponder’s job is pretty secure now that Minnesota has a 5-2 record in his second season.

Having said that, Ponder knows that things can’t keep going the way they’ve been going. He’s thrown six interceptions in the last three games after throwing none in the first four weeks and many have been bad decisions to throw the ball across his body and/or under pressure instead of bailing on the play and living to fight another day. After Sunday’s game, Ponder made the assessment that you see on top of this post.

“I’m trying to do too many things. I’m getting out of the pocket and trying to force it to happen,” Ponder said, via Ben Goessling of the Pioneer Press. “I have to be a lot smarter and make better decisions for sure.”

It’s obviously better to deal with these issues when you’re 5-2 than 2-5, especially when the schedule is about to make it even more essential that the team clean up their remaining rough edges.

The Vikings will host the Buccaneers on Thursday night and then their schedule takes a turn for the very difficult. Five road games, five NFC North games and six games against teams currently holding winning records make up the finishing kick and the Vikings can’t win those games by handing teams as many opportunities as Ponder has handed them in recent weeks.

30 responses to “Christian Ponder: I have to be smarter

  1. As a die hard VIKES fan, I hate what I’ve seen the last few weeks from cp. He only throws it when somebody’s wide open. he doesn’t trust himself to throw a receiver open. He threw it downfield only once yesterday, which ended up a pass interferance. Thank God for our defense, Percy, and AP.

  2. You’re about to see a 10-1 defense from the Bucs. Better get smarter fast, Christian.

  3. Everybody was all over Ponder because the Vikings are winning, but now ppl are realizing he’s not a good QB.

    These are games being won by AP and their Defense. 8/17 w/ 2 INTs, are you kidding?

  4. He’s right. I’ll give Ponder this: the OL reeked yesterday, and every time he want back to pass, he had a defender in his face inside of two seconds.

    However, that is no excuse for being careless with the ball. The second INT he threw right before the half was the worst decision he’s made all year. The play-calling didn’t help, but Ponder needs to get smarter with the ball.

    I like his abilities, and he has brought his team back when they’ve trailed this year. However, if not for AP yesterday, the Vikings are 4-3 this morning. If he plays like that again on Thursday, you’ re going to start seeing fans seriously question whether he’s the long term answer at QB.

  5. The two picks he threw yesterday were absolutely terrible. He had no business throwing either ball and should have chucked it out of bounds.

    But, some blame lies with OC Musgrave calling inconsistent and terrible plays.

  6. I was at the game yesterday so I don’t know if this came across on TV, but in the 2Q when he finally threw the ball away like he was supposed to instead of forcing things in to coverage, the crowd cheered very loudly. Hope those kinds of things wake him up, because we know he is smart, he just needs to stop playing scared when things break down a bit.

  7. Ponder then added “I also have to learn how to throw the football. Apparently it’s important.”

  8. to a hammer everything looks like a nail

    Ponder’s issues aren’t his lack of being smart – they are accuracy and instinctive play. Ponder by all accounts is a very intelligent individual in the IQ sense of intelligence. But football intelligence is a different thing. Ponder keeps going back to what he knows…I’m smart so I just have to be smarter. But that will not solve a basic problem he has…he simply isn’t accurate enough to play the position. And, he lacks the pocket instincts that all great passers have.

    It’s better to be IQ smart than not as a QB, but it’s only a small portion of what it takes to be a QB in the NFL. Dan Marion reportedly scored a 13 on the Wonderlic – which would mean he is clearly of below average IQ, but he sure had football smarts.

  9. Each of Ponder’s six interceptions has been brutal; none of the bad luck type. He has to make better decisions and throw the ball better and I believe he will. The whole team is developing this year so we have to take the bad with the good. It was nice that even though our passing game and our run defense were as terrible as I’ve seen recently, at no point during the game did I think we were in danger of losing. That’s pretty good progress from last year.

  10. You’s act as if ponder doesn’t have a chance to grow. All of his mistakes occurred while he was under pressure. It’s not that he lacks the awareness or sharp reflexes, it’s that he lacks time and experience. Witch he is gaining game by game. Give the guy a break he shows great potential and sure as hell has some good legs under him witch never hurts agains blitzing teams like the pack..

  11. Haven’t seen the game yet, but it sounds like Ponder stunk. I wonder how much is defenses figuring out the short pass/check-down offense we’re running, which lessens Ponder’s options. Even so, on the good side, we did only attempt 17 passes, AP looks strong, and our defense is back. Oh, and 7 games into the season, they’re 5-2, have won as many games as most expected to them to win all season, and are in second place in a division over the sexy pre-season Super Bowl pick Packers.

  12. At least the Vikings can win a game when their quarterback doesn’t play well. If Aaron Rodgers has a passer rating below 140, the Packers have no chance. The Vikings are building a team rather than a one-man show.

  13. Good Win Vikings. I just have one question at the end of the half on the 17 yard line, with 20 seconds left, why did the Vikings call time out first and then call a pass play?

    Take a knee get into the locker room.

  14. So goes Musgrave, so goes Ponder. Musgrave called a great game against SF, and Ponder played it perfectly. The beginning of the game yesterday, Ponder looked fine. But when a good defense such as AZ starts to make adjustments, Musgrave doesn’t always adapt. They had all sorts of pressure on Ponder in the 2nd qtr onward. Why on earth was Ponder put in the position to fail when with 30 seconds left before half he’s instructed to make passes under intense pressure?! Just take a knee! And while yes, Ponder needs to get better at taking the sack or chucking it when a play breaks down, he needs to be put in a position to succeed. And too often Musgrave is calling bad plays, or, as against the Redskins, removing Harvin and Peterson from the game! Simply, if Ponder has time and the play call is decent, he’s a pretty darn good QB.

  15. thankheavenfornumberseven says:Oct 22, 2012 11:43 AM

    At least the Vikings can win a game when their quarterback doesn’t play well. If Aaron Rodgers has a passer rating below 140, the Packers have no chance. The Vikings are building a team rather than a one-man show.


    Ha. That’s the dumbest thing you’ve said since you promised a repeat championship by the Lynx.

  16. Ponder is terrible but you’re right about Musgrave. Third and short and he consistently keeps Peterson and Harvin off the field. That’s bad coaching. Can’t expect the defense to be out there for 35 minutes and only give up 14 points very often.

  17. Ponder is taking ownership of his bad play, and people are bashing him for it? C’mon man! At least now he can do something about it since he knows there’s a problem. Give a guy a chance.

  18. I’m not going to say Ponder played great because he obviously didn’t. His 1st pick was a bad throw and his 2nd was a bad decision. However, this game was coached the exact same way it was against the Lions a few weeks back. We got up by 14, and the Vikes coaching staff decided that was insurmountable for the Cardinals. They proved right. Ponder was seeing massive pressure in the second half because the cardinals knew the Vikings wouldn’t throw the ball past 10 yards with that lead (which they were also correct), so they sent ridiculous amounts of men knowing they wouldn’t get beat over the top. This is a gameplan issue as much as a QB issue, even though I agree with the gameplan. It’s just the gameplan was going to end up with bad stats for Ponder. People who don’t understand football and don’t watch the game trash Ponder then. The only thing I wish they did was if you are going to go uber conservative, at least run on 1st down after adrian was averaging 8 yards a pop! 3 straight drives I saw a drop back on 1st down which resulted in heavy pressure/incompletion. Run for 5 yards, and then heavy pressure/incompletion on 3rd down. Why not get that run on 1st to give yourself some options on second down?

  19. They stacked the box all night daring Ponder to throw. A good QB makes a team pay dearly for doing that. Ponder does not have that timing throw down that all the good QBs are capable of. He waits till they are wide open before he throws, unless of course he’s under pressure, then he forces it and gets an interception.
    Even so, it’s not all Ponder, our OL rarely gave him even a second to setup.

    And of course Musgrave needs to go. Run run pass punt gets pretty pathetic after a while.

  20. thankheavenfornumberseven says:
    Oct 22, 2012 11:43 AM
    At least the Vikings can win a game when their quarterback doesn’t play well. If Aaron Rodgers has a passer rating below 140, the Packers have no chance. The Vikings are building a team rather than a one-man show.


    Yeah, take away adrian peterson and the vikings probably have same record.

    Put the drugs away, jr.

  21. Ponder is the only thing keeping the Vikings from post season. What a waste for AP, Harvin, the upgraded secondary, etc.

  22. Maybe having Sage Rosenfels to talk to on the sidelines instead of Joe Webb would help.

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