Tag:Christian Ponder
Posted on: October 31, 2011 4:13 am
Edited on: October 31, 2011 4:29 am
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 8

Posted by Will Brinson



Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 8 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.



1. Denver Gets Tebowned
The past week was full of far too much talk about Tim Tebow, leader of men, winner of games and erstwhile quarterback-at-large. The Broncos quarterback even got his own meme -- Tebowing. And call me crazy, but I don't think any of this attention and chatter and one-knee posing sat to well with the Detroit Lions, who rolled into Mile High Stadium on Sunday and delivered a 45-10 beatdown on the Flying Tebows.

But it wasn't enough for Detroit, coming off two-straight losses with their playoff-contender status potentially wobbling, to simply sack Tebow seven times and limit him to 172 passing yards and 63 rushing yards, most of which was well after the Lions victory was in hand.

No, they made things personal, mocking Tebow's pose several times through the course of the game. First there was Stephen Tulloch Tebowing directly behind Tebow immediately after sacking Tebow.



It was a marvelous moment of meme-worthy irony that would make Xzibit proud. But it didn't end there. Tight end Tony Scheffler caught a pass from Matthew Stafford and busted out Tebow's "celebration" too.

Of course, the Lions aren't saying they were coming after Tebow -- after the game Tulloch said that "it's just fun, no disrespect" meant with his celebration, and that he even told Tebow as much. Tulloch had an even better point, though, when he was asked about all the hype that surrounds the former Florida Gator.

"It’s not his fault; it’s the media that gives him that hype," Tulloch said.

This is true, and it's really the most important thing to mention when talking about Tebow right now, because the debate as to whether or not he's good isn't a debate -- it's one-sided argument with some people using intangible and inconsequential analysis to try and support Tebow under center.

Tebow's failure to be a good quarterback isn't on him. I mean, ultimately, it is him that decides whether or not he succeeds, of course. But the only reason people are up in arms about his shortcomings as a quarterback is that too much is made out of whether not he can be a quarterback.

We saw this same thing happen with Cam Newton, who was the talk of every single NFL conversation during an offseason that featured furious debate about whether or not he could succeed. Now he's succeeding and Cam -- in terms of loud, screaming media scrutiny -- is on the backburner.

Yes, that's right. Cam's success made him less of a focus for the media. There's no one forcing themselves to doubt his ego and character in the face of folks who trump his athleticism and win-loss record. In short, it's the complete opposite of Tebow, who's continued lack of statistical -- if not empirical -- success still manages to generate a substantial amount of debate in the media.

Which is pretty unfortunate for him.

2. Steeling the AFC
For the first few weeks of the season, a lot was made of the Pittsburgh Steelers and their crumbling dynasty and "old" defense. As it turns out, Phil Simms was spot-on when he told Warren Sapp that his comments were a "tremendous over reaction." And if Sapp didn't believe Simms in Week 2, he should certainly believe him after Pittsburgh shredded New England 25-17.

The score doesn't tell the full story of this game, either, because the Steelers were certainly more than eight points better than the Patriots on Sunday. They held the ball for nearly two-thirds of the game (their time of possession, 39:22, dwarfed the Patriots 20:38) and out-Pats-ed the Pats, as Ben Roethlisberger utilized all of his available options and a ball-control passing attack to keep the rock out of Tom Brady's hands.

Pittsburgh was dominant on defense too, even if the Steelers looked a little less devastating when LaMarr Woodley left with a hamstring injury that could keep him out against the Ravens on Sunday night in Week 9. Brady was fairly efficient, completing 24 of his 35 passes, but he only managed 198 yards, good for 8.25 yards per completion, more than five yards off his season average of 13.5.

So who's the best team in the AFC now? Well, it's not the Ravens at the moment. Even with Brady under center it's hard to give the Pats the nod with their secondary so depleted. And I'm not quite ready to shove all my chips in the center of Chan Gailey's table. Pittsburgh, though, if they can stay healthy on defense, showed Sunday exactly why they're probably the best bet to repeat their success in 2010.

3. Nine Times? Nine Times
It's pretty hard to believe that since Mike Shanahan became offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Raiders in 1985, he was never shut out by an opposing defense until October of 2011 against Buffalo ... in Toronto. (Can you imagine if he went back in time and told 1985 Mike Shanahan that? I'd definitely pay upwards of $5,000 for a YouTube of 85 Shanny's reaction.)

Then again, it's unfathomable that the Redskins head coach would come into the 2011 season expecting the duo of John Beck and Rex Grossman to lead Washington to the promised land. Because it's not happening. We talked about it last week and the story's still the same -- Beck and Grossman aren't going to get it done, but there's not a whole lot Washington can do to change that right now.

As Pete Prisco wrote Sunday from Toronto, the Bills no-name roster continuing to impress with All-Pro performances is the real story. But, really, again, how on Earth did Shanahan think that he'd end up winning this year with Grossman and Beck? And how can anyone be optimistic about Beck after he's thrown up stinkbombs against the Panthers and Bills who just aren't that good on defense?

Buffalo sacked him nine times on Sunday, and as Ed Rooney will tell you, that's too many.

I follow a lot of Redskins fans on Twitter (and also a lot of Bears fans, but I didn't realize that until they started getting all Fake Jay Cutler on me during the Panthers game), and it was borderline depressing to follow the game through that virtual medium on Sunday.

It's pretty clear that the quarterback situation is the direct result of this year's hopelessness amongst the D.C. faithful -- and can you blame them? When the option of benching your best quarterback is technically benching your backup so you can go back to starting Rex Grossman, you have a serious problem on your hands.

Unfortunately for Shanahan, neither the Colts or the Dolphins are going to trade him that top-overall pick. So here's hoping Matt Barkley really is good.

4. All Hyped Up
All season long, everyone's based the Eagles for their "Dream Team" nickname that was entirely inapplicable. So it seems only fair, after watching Philadelphia dismember Dallas 34-7 on Sunday night, to give credit where credit's due.

For starters, kudos to Andy Reid for clearly outcoaching Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan and running his record after a bye week to a ridiculous 13-0. Props to Michael Vick, who looked comfortable all night long en route to an incredibly efficient 21/28, 279 passing yard night. It probably didn't hurt him much that LeSean McCoy piled up 185 yards on 30 carries with a pair of touchdowns.

Of course, it probably didn't hurt him to get left tackle Jason Peters back on the field. Or for Philly to have an early 14-point lead, forcing Dallas to chase Vick and giving McCoy a ridiculous amount of space to get his joystick-like moves on.

This is precisely what the Eagles imagined for their team when the season began -- an athletic, big-play offense that's capable of exploding to the end zone at any moment and a defense that eliminates the opponent's passing game.

Considering that 68 of Reid's career wins (and one tie!) have come after Halloween over the course of his career, it's not crazy to think that the Eagles -- at 3-4 and now tied for both second and last place in the NFC East -- could end up winning the division.

5. Rams Over Saints
For the Rams sake, it seems like it might be smart to trot Tony LaRussa and the World Series champion Cardinals out to every home game.

But it was the Cards appearance, not LaRussa's wardrobe, at the Edward Jones Dome that inspired the Rams to rise up and knock off the Saints in a 31-21 shocker on Sunday.

"I think the Cardinals being here was great for the city," running back Steven Jackson said. "Whoever showed up today, regardless if the place was empty, today was the day.

"We came out with a mindset we were going to fight."

Because of the particular circumstances leading up to this game -- Sam Bradford out, Saints coming a 62-point outing, Rams being terrible, Al Harris being older than Rafael Furcal (no, really, it's true) -- there was zero reason to think St. Louis could cover the two-touchdown spread, much less win.

But Jackson was inspired, piling up 159 yards on 25 bruising carries. And the Rams defense was even better, limiting Brees from the start and sacking him six times. (Although I wouldn't be opposed to crediting them with just five sacks since Chris Long's third sack probably qualifies more as something you'd see in the WWE ring.)

There's no reason to get carried away and expect the Rams to start making a run in the NFC West, but take a look at their schedule. They've played some really tough teams to get to 1-6 and the schedule gets really, really, really easy from here on out, matchups against San Francisco, Cincy and Pittsburgh notwithstanding.

Or they could stop playing football and just sell tickets to see LaRussa try on Sam Bradford jerseys. I'd be fine with that too.

6. Bengals emerge
Ryan Wilson and I said before the season that the Bengals, by virtue of a puff-pastry-filled early-season schedule, could start out hot and win a few more games than anyone expected. They've done just that after a dominant 34-12 win in Seattle on Sunday moved them to 5-2.

Everyone is surprised ... except the Bengals. Naturally.

"To the people on the outside, they may be surprised and what not," cornerback Leon Hall said. "Every season we come in expecting to win. Just hopefully, we've got some big games coming up, so we execute in those games."

Hall's speaking to the widely-held belief that the Bengals will fade with  Baltimore and Pittsburgh showing up on the sked twice each in the second half of the season. That might be presumptuous, though, because this Bengals team is quietly becoming legit.

Beating the Seahawks doesn't exactly make them the Super Bowl favorites or anything, but their success is coming with a pretty simple formula that's been forgotten in this day of high-scoring NFL games: defense.

Lest you forget, the Jets made the AFC Championship game two years ago with a rookie quarterback, a stout running game and the best defense in the NFL. The Bengals aren't as good on the ground as the Jets (or even close really) and not as good on defense, but Andy Dalton's better than Mark Sanchez and A.J. Green's better than any of the receiving options the Jets had then.

Cincinnati's top-five defense will get a couple bigger tests soon in the form of the Steelers, the Ravens and a game against the Texans, but the Bengals also get the Titans, the Browns, the Rams and the Cardinals the rest of the way home.

Which means there's actually a decent chance they get to double-digit victories and one of the more shocking playoff berths we've seen in a while.

7. Ponder Wins the Weinke Bowl
The differences in Cam Newton and Christian Ponder are pretty obvious right? Their physical stature, their style of play, their respective hype coming out of college, their expectations once they were drafted ... all very different.

But they have one common thread -- they were both tutored by Chris Weinke, former Florida State and Carolina Panthers quarterback.

Ponder won their first matchup 24-21, thanks to a 31-yard honk by Olindo Mare at the end of regulation field goal that was setup by a penalty-flag honk on a holding call against Steve Smith after Cam Newton scrambled for a first down.

"I got a few texts saying already in the HD it didn't look too bad," Smith said of the official's call. "For a 70-year-old man gimping down the field, I guess that's what he saw."

Hilarious. And also probably a statement that will get Smith some kind of fine. From my vantage point, it was surprising, but not entirely unjustifiable to nail Smith with the yellow flag on the play. It shouldn't have mattered though, because as Newton pointed out after the game, the Panthers didn't do enough earlier in the game to take advantage of a game they should have won.

Once again, the problem really became that they can't stop anyone who resembles a physical running back. Adrian Peterson, who led the Vikings with 86 rushing yards and 76 receiving yards, is the definition of a physical running back, and he had his way with the Panthers defense, who let the Vikings convert seven of their 14 first downs (the Panthers came into the game ranking 29th in the NFL, allowing opponents to convert 45.5 percent of their third downs).

And when you can't stop the other team's offense and your own offense stalls out for several consecutive drives in the second half, it makes winning games hard. Newton was brilliant again, and even though the Panthers are losing, fans aren't exactly getting upset at it. The future is bright.

It's bright in Minnesota too, and it kind of makes you wonder what took Leslie Frazier so long to hand Ponder the reigns. Maybe he should have called Weinke and gotten his opinion first.

8. Fast Learners
Speaking of common threads, how about six of the top seven players in the 2011 NFL Draft coming from the SEC and making an immediate impact on the NFL as rookies?

Newton (Auburn), Marcel Dareus (Alabama), A.J. Green (Georgia), Patrick Peterson (LSU) and Julio Jones (Alabama) all hail from college football's best conference and all have put a serious footprint on the league through eight weeks. Hell, on Sunday, Newton threw three touchdowns, Dareus had 2.5 sacks, Green caught a(nother) touchdown, and Peterson returned a(nother) punt 82 yards.

To take it a step further, and move away from the SEC, it looks like this year's first-round rookies are going to be a pretty damn good crop. Ponder's clearly an upgrade for Minnesota, Ryan Kerrigan's been tremendous in Washington, Robert Quinn's coming on strong for St. Louis, J.J. Watt's a day-one starter for Houston, Aldon Smith is wrecking shop for San Francisco ... and so on and so forth.

It's early -- like eight weeks early -- but it's hard to find a slam-dunk bust in the top 10 of the draft like we've seen seen the past few years. We'll know more by season's end, but the point being is that it's an incredibly impressive performance by this rookie class on such short notice.

Or maybe the lesson is to just avoid drafting for need and grab anyone who played in the SEC.

9. Needing a New Nickname
Chris Johnson is often called "CJ2K" as an homage to his 2,006 yards rushing in 2009. His performance in 2011, coming off a contract dispute, is an insult to the letter K. And perhaps the number 2.

Certainly, it's insulting to Titans fans who had to watch him grind out 34 yards on 14 carries in Tennessee's 27-10 win over Indy Sunday.

Oh and speaking of insults, what's worse for Johnson? That Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said Johnson reminds him of Hassy's old Seattle teammate Shaun Alexander, or that Mike Munchak is having him split carries with Javon Ringer?

"The running game hasn't been where we wanted it to be all year, so I guess they just trying new things," Johnson said.

I mean, does this guy care? Because it always seemed like he might care -- there are certain guys in sports that seem as if once they get paid, they're going to reduce the amount of effort they put forth. We saw this with Albert Haynesworth and the Redskins; everyone except Dan Snyder saw his lack of effort coming.

But Johnson always seemed motivated by people who questioned his ability to be a full-time NFL running back. Maybe he's still motivated and just isn't in game shape yet, but his refusal to take accountability for a holdout followed by a monster contract followed by what is easily the worst season by a running back in the NFL this year is disappointing to say the least.

10. Upset Sunday Gets Upset
The Rams taking down the Saints is obviously a big deal. Perhaps the biggest, considering the Rams were two-touchdown dogs at home. But the early goings of Sunday's action had a lot of potential for upsets, with the Ravens losing big to the Cardinals and the Giants struggling against the winless Dolphins.

Both New York and Baltimore came back to win, but the inconsistency they've both shown against mediocre teams this year is terrifying for their fans. The Ravens looked like they might lose to the Cardinal and Jaguars in less than seven days and the Giants aren't that far removed from getting beat by the Seahawks in their home stadium.

And there's one thing they have in common: inconsistent quarterback play.

Both Joe Flacco and Eli Manning are elite-level talents with big arms. Both guys are capable of great performances. But both guys are equally capable of shooting their teams out of games.

Ken Wisenhunt and Tony Sparano deserve credit for getting their undermanned squads ready to play. Particularly Sparano, since I refuse to believe that this scene didn't unfold in the Dolphins locker room before the game Sunday:



(Yeah that's right, I'm only one Teen Wolf reference away from the trifecta.)

Anyway, the point is that Manning and Flacco scare me. As Clark Judge noted, Manning's been great at times this year, but he's absolutely capable of doing what he did against the Seahawks and tossing three picks. Flacco's more concerning, of course, because he's shown zero consistency this season, and has tended to play down to the opposition (Tennessee, Jacksonville, Arizona are all good examples).

The upside of being inconsistent and talented, though, is that you can make big throws. And both guys did that late on Sunday to help their team win. They just need to show up with more regularity if they expect either squad to make it a deep run this year.

Muffed Punts
Leftovers from Sunday's action ...
... Reggie Bush recorded his second career 100-yard rushing game Sunday. Both of them came against the Giants.
... LeSean McCoy is now the only NFL player to score a touchdown in every game this season.
... Teams coming off a bye this week were 5-1. So much for that theory about being at a disadvantage.
... The Bills are the eighth team in NFL history to start a season 4-0 at home a year after starting the season 0-4 at home.
... Calvin Johnson joins Randy Moss (2007, Pats) as the only players since 1970 to record 11 touchdown catches in their first eight games of the season.
... Five times a team's come back from 20 points to win this year -- most in NFL history.
... Cam Newton, Peyton Manning, Sam Bradford and Matt Ryan are the only quarterbacks with five 250-yard passing games in their rookie season.
... Drew Brees somehow kept his TD streak alive and now has a touchdown pass in 35 consecutive games. Johnny Unitas has the record at 47.
... Patrick Peterson joined Devin Hester and Craig Yeast as the only rookies with more than one 80+ yard return touchdown in a season

Worth 1,000 Words



Jim Irsay Pop-Culture Referencing Tweet That's Sure to Drive Colts Fans Isane of the Week
"No one is "Tanking the season"...that's absurd conspiracy theory mumblings...Suck4Luck doesn't exist n Indy"

Suck for Luck counts as a pop-culture reference right? Whatever, at this point Colts fans want the team to finish dead last right?

GIF O' THE WEEK
I could watch fat men lateraling the football for hours.



Hot Seat Tracker
  • Tony Sparano -- Great effort from Miami, but they came up short. Again.
  • Ken Wisenhunt -- Tough to see that comeback by the Ravens and not get discouraged.
  • Norv Turner -- Unless he wins on Monday.
  • Mike Shanahan -- That 4-12 thing looks more realistic than it did last week doesn't it?
  • Jim Caldwell -- Charley Casserly said he's locked but I dunno.
Chasing Andrew Luck
Colts (-600): They're clearly the NFL's worst team in 2011 ...
Dolphins (-500): But they're in a harder division.
Cardinals (-300): Season. Unraveling.
Rams (-250): Hope!

MVP Watch
Aaron Rodgers somehow picked up some more space on his bye week -- Tom Brady's poor performance separates the Packers quarterback even further. Once again, though, we need to mention Fred Jackson as a viable MVP candidate (though he won't get votes). LeSean McCoy could get some run if the Eagles really get hot.
Posted on: October 30, 2011 12:01 pm
 

McNabb thinks he should still be starting

McNabb, Ponder

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Donovan McNabb is adamant that he still has plenty of football left inside his 34-year-old body. He’s adamant that he gives the Vikings a better chance to win than Christian Ponder. He thinks he’s still got it.

Although he came off … I don’t know … slightly jerky (but in a polite way) during his interview that ran on the NFL Network on Sunday morning, McNabb is confident that he can still be a starting quarterback somewhere. Probably not in Minnesota, because why would the Vikings go back to McNabb when they’ve got the quarterback of the future who just took his job? But somewhere else maybe.

Yet what about the fact the team was 1-5 with McNabb starting as quarterback? Well, McNabb counters by saying he didn’t turn the ball over and that he was making plays. McNabb -- who, for the record, completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 1,026 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions and zero lost fumbles -- also says he couldn’t do it all.

“Everyone focuses on my position,” McNabb told Andrea Kramer. “We should be sitting here, I’ll be honest, at about 4-3 or 5-2.  We had games that we should have won, but we just didn’t. Now is it the quarterback position?”

Well, it’s certainly not all on the quarterback position. And while McNabb was skeptical that Ponder could provide more of a spark than he would (this is where he came off a bit condescending in the interview), he also took offense that outsiders claimed his work ethic left something to be desired.

For example, when Michael Lombardi said the following: "McNabb is at a point in his career that he does not seem to want to put in the time, willing to show up late for meetings and practice, and expects to just play well. He failed to really grasp the offense in Minnesota (as he did in Washington), having trouble spitting the plays out quickly -- which meant the play sheet on his arm got bigger and bigger. It did not take long before McNabb's lack of commitment was seen by the older players, causing them to understand that a move had to be made."

And this: "And what I was told by people in the Vikings organization was that he's the last one in the building, he's the first one gone, he's not willing to put the time in, late for meetings, late for practice. So they have basically thrown up their hands and said we need to move on because ultimately that's not what we want in a quarterback. … If you go back and talk to people in Philadelphia they'll say there were questionable work habits."

McNabb was asked if he’d ever been late to a meeting. No, McNabb said. What about a team breakfast?

“Never,” McNabb said.  “But from just people from the outside listening, they’ll say, ‘Oh, you know, sources said that he’s not putting in that time to be a top tier quarterback.’  Well, just come to Minnesota.  Pack up your big jacket and your headwear, and come watch me.”

They’ll have to watch him in practice, though. Because, as we all know, McNabb won’t be doing anything except watching Ponder run the team McNabb thinks he should still be leading.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 23, 2011 11:37 am
Edited on: October 23, 2011 11:40 am
 

Report: McNabb showed up late, didn't know O

Did McNabb struggle with the offense in Minnesota, too? (AP)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder makes his first start today, replacing the eminently replaceable Donovan McNabb who, in just over a year, has been benched for a retread (Rex Grossman) and now a rookie. At some point, it isn't the situation, or the offense or the other players -- it's McNabb.

Whatever the reason for the falloff, the results have been the same the last two seasons: McNabb on the sidelines wearing a baseball hat and looking like he can't believe his luck. Well, if the report from NFL Network's Michael Lombardi is any indication, this has nothing to do with good fortune and almost everything to do with preparation.

"McNabb is at a point in his career that he does not seem to want to put in the time, willing to show up late for meetings and practice, and expects to just play well," Lombardi Friday. "He failed to really grasp the offense in Minnesota (as he did in Washington), having trouble spitting the plays out quickly -- which meant the play sheet on his arm got bigger and bigger. It did not take long before McNabb's lack of commitment was seen by the older players, causing them to understand that a move had to be made."

Lombardi reiterated this again Sunday morning on NFL GameDay Morning.

"Really, it's just the tip of the iceberg. Donovan hasn't really been putting the time in to be the great player. What happened in Washington -- the lack of work habits -- has now gone into Minnesota.

"And what I was told by people in the Vikings organization was that he's the last one in the building, he's the first one gone, he's not willing to put the time in, late for meetings, late for practice. So they have basically thrown up their hands and said we need to move on because ultimately that's not what we want in a quarterback. … If you go back and talk to people in Philadelphia they'll say there were questionable work habits."

And that leads to this: why would the Redskins give up a second-round pick -- in the division -- for a guy they knew wasn't willing to work? And worse: why would the Vikings do the same thing an offseason later?

"The reality of the situation," Lombardi said Sunday, "is that Minnesota knew this (about McNabb). Bill Musgrave, the offensive coordinator, and (Redskins head coach) Mike Shanahan have a relationship. Before Musgrave took (McNabb) on, they knew exactly what they were getting. They were hoping they could change him. They were hoping that he was going to rekindle his career. But essentially what happened in Minnesota is what happened in Washington."

For what it's worth, Kurt Warner, now working for NFL Network, talked to McNabb who told him that Lombardi's report was 'crazy.' Either way, he's now Ponder's backup.


CBS Sports' James Brown, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Shannon Sharpe, and Boomer Esiason break down the Monday night matchup in Jacksonville between the Ravens and the Jaguars.

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Posted on: October 22, 2011 1:22 pm
 

For the gambler in you, Week 7

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Each Saturday, we’ll take the best -- and most clever -- odds collected by bodog.com for the upcoming week and give our take. This is important stuff, perhaps the most important post you’ll read all week. Because if you can’t lose money while watching a game in which you have absolutely no effect, what’s the point of watching sports at all?

There were, by the way, plenty of Carson Palmer prop bets, but since it’s looking like he’s not going to start, I’ll ignore them and continue on with the bets that are likely to happen.

Tim Tebow -- total passing yards Week 7      
   
Over/Under 175½

If you’ve picked Tebow for your fantasy league, you’re not (I assume) counting on many 300-yard passing games from him. Instead, you’re betting that he’ll give you a little of everything. Some passing, some quality running, some short-yardage touchdowns. I’d go under here, because I don’t see the Broncos putting Tebow in the position to have to pass the ball 25 times (unless they fall far behind). And even if he did, I don’t see him completing enough passes to break 175. I’d actually be more inclined to go over if this was total rushing yards.

Tim Tebow -- total rushing yards Week 7   
      
Over/Under 45½

Based on what I previously wrote: obviously, I’d go over.

Christian Ponder -- total interceptions Week 7   

Over ½  (-300)

Under ½ (+240)

Hmm, a rookie quarterback making his first start. Against a team that employs Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams. Against an organization that is undefeated and coming off a Super Bowl championship. I might go slightly over.

Will Jimmy Graham record 100 or more receiving yards Week 7? (Note:  Jimmy Graham has tied the NFL record for tight ends with four straight 100 yard receiving games)  

Yes +200
   
No -300
   
Considering Graham broke Sean Payton’s knee last week, I don’t think Graham will even get to play this week. Obviously, I’m kidding. Although Graham is now one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets, I’d go no. Records are really tough to break, and Graham won’t do it this week.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:43 am
 

Pick-6 Podcast: Previewing the NFL, Week 7

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

We never imaged there'd be a storyline that would overtake Tim Tebow's first start of the season, but the Raiders traded for Carson Palmer this week, going all-in on the 2011 season.

So we lead with Palmer and his new team facing the Chiefs, then talk about Tebow facing the Dolphins in Miami where he will be honored at halftime (seriously), before turning our attention to other first-time starters this season: John Beck replaces Rex Grossman in Washington, and rookie Christian Ponder takes over for Donovan McNabb in Minnesota.

We also preview the rest of the Week 7 action before having weekly guest Paul Bessire of PredictionMachine.com stop by to offer up some expert advice on -- you guessed it -- accurately predicting this week's winners. 

Talking starts ... now.

Just hit the play button below to listen (and did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:29 pm
 

Podcast: Week 7 Film Room breakdown

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Week 7's on the horizon, which means it's time to hit the film room with Andy Benoit.

This week, we break down Jets/Chargers (you can read the Film Room post here) and Raiders/Chiefs (you can read that Film Room post here).

Plus, Andy and Will talk about the recent Carson Palmer trade, whether the Redskins should start John Beck or Rex Grossman, if the Vikings are smart rolling with Christian Ponder, how Tim Tebow will do in his 2011 starting debut in a "road game" against the Dolphins plus much, much more.

Just hit the play button below to listen (and did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 2:30 pm
 

Report: Christian Ponder in as Vikings starter

Posted by Will Brinson

Even though the Vikings were down 29 points, Donovan McNabb was indeed benched for Christian Ponder on Sunday night in a loss at Chicago. Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said he'd announce his decision on who'll start going forward Wednesday, but his mind is reportedly already made up and Ponder will get the nod in Week 7 for the Vikings.

That's according to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, who reports that Frazier "has made the change and notified those involved." This is a bit awkward considering McNabb said Monday that he expected to remain the starter.

The logic behind the move to Ponder is pretty simple: the Vikings aren't winning now whether McNabb or Ponder's under center, and McNabb simply isn't anything more than a one-year rental for Minnesota.

Ponder, on the other hand, is the theoretical future of the franchise, as my colleague Pete Prisco wrote on Monday morning. And Minnesota, already five games back of the division-leading Packers, needs to find out if Ponder can be as successful as they hope.

It's unlikely he'll turn around the Vikings season, but he did provide a spark to the offense Sunday, albeit against a prevent defense from the Bears.

And as I noted in Sorting the Sunday Pile, it sure sounds like the rest of the members of the Vikings offense are on board with plugging Ponder in and trying to see what they've got from the rookie out of Florida State.

It's the smart, logical move, even if it won't pay off immediate dividends in terms of games won. But then again, McNabb didn't appear to helping much either.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 17, 2011 8:59 am
 

McNabb still feels like the QB job is his

Has McNabb made his last start for the Vikings(US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It took Donovan McNabb's best outing of the year to usher in the Christian Ponder era. For a night, anyway. For the first five and a half weeks of the NFL season, there hadn't been a quarterback controversy in Minnesota (a least from head coach Leslie Frazier's perspective) but once Ponder entered a game in the fourth quarter, the conversation immediately switched from "Man, the Vikings are getting blown out of Soldier Field" to "We've seen this movie before and it doesn't end well for Donovan."

But nothing's official; for now, the depth chart remains unchanged. "We have to sit down on Monday and talk about a lot of things," Frazier said following the Vikings' 39-10 loss to the Bears. "We need to decide on what direction we want to go." 

McNabb, as he repeated at various points last season with the Redskins before he was eventually replaced by Rex Grossman (!), considers the job his. "I don't see it 'ending like this,' as you say. It's tough. You're 1-5 at this particular point. It felt like we did a lot of great things today. I guess we'll sit down and talk, but I still expect to be there (starting) next week."

And maybe McNabb should feel that way. After what can kindly be described as a horrible start to 2011 (his Week 1 numbers were particularly offensive), he went 19 of 24 for 177 yards Sunday night, and finished with a passer rating of 97.4, his best this season.

Ponder, the Vikings' first-round pick in April, played well enough to remain in the "Start him now" conversation (9 of 17 for 99 yards, 8 yards rushing), even though the Vikings might have a better chance to win with McNabb under center.

But when you're 1-5, winning is relative. If Minnesota makes the change at quarterback, it will be for the same reasons as the Panthers, Jaguars and Bengals: future success. (Although, miraculously, Cincinnati and Andy Dalton are 4-2 heading into their bye week.)

For now, Ponder's saying all the right things.

"I was very grateful for the opportunity that Coach let me go in," he said. "I thought I made some plays, thought I missed some plays, missed a couple throws. But I definitely had fun. It's always hard to have fun when you're losing that bad, but I was grateful and I definitely had fun."

As for why Frazier decided to pull McNabb for Ponder: "Just where we were in the ballgame, where the score was," he said. "Just wanted to get (Ponder) in there, let him take some snaps and get a chance to get a feel for the NFL tempo."

The Vikings head coach added: "I don't know if [McNabb's] all right with [the decision to take him out of the game] … but he understood"

If this season is anything like last season, it's something McNabb might have to get used to.

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