Tag:Christian Ponder
Posted on: May 21, 2011 6:46 pm
Edited on: May 21, 2011 7:02 pm

Rookies are inherently suffering irreparable harm

Posted by Will Brinson

The biggest issue facing the Court of Appeals when they make their ruling on the June 3rd hearing -- at least in my opinion -- is whether or not the 8th Circuit believes the NFLPA actually dissolved.

But there's another tremendous issue that lingers with regard to the current stay of the injunction of the lockout: which party is suffering irreparable harm?

And while reading my colleague Clark Judge's excellent piece on "first-year phenoms" surprising in 2011, something hit me: the damage being done to younger players, courtesy of the current lockout, is absolutely irreparable.

Actually, it was quote from Brian Billick -- ironically, a part-time employee of the NFL itself -- that set it off for me (emphasis mine).

"Let's say they get no OTAs," said Billick. "And let's say we get a full training camp. Then I cut the odds down by at least 50 percent in terms of a quarterback's ability to come in and be a starter. And with every week into training camp we lose I think we knock it down 25 percent."

Those are BIG numbers, people -- imagine if you were a commission-based salesman and someone took away a quarter of your territory. Or even worse, half -- how much would that impact your ability to succeed in your job for the given a year?

Doing any sort of quantitatively accurate math on exactly how much damage would be done to say, someone like Cam Newton, is pretty difficult, simply because we don't know how good he'll be in 2010 and beyond. But here's the follow-up quote from Billick that's even more telling.

"You can't be overly optimistic with what you think you can get done with rookie quarterbacks -- which means a year from now I don't know that we'll know anything more about Cam Newton than we do this year," Billick said.

Now, there's plenty of room for clarification to that quote, but to me, it seems like a player in Cam Newton's situation is having somewhere between 50 and 100 percent of his season killed off by the lockout, depending on how long it goes on.

And there's an argument out there that Newton is still going to get paid (well) and still develop as a quarterback. But here's the counterargument: when he loses somewhere between a half- and full year of development as a result of the lockout, he loses an impossible-to-calculate digit in terms of financial gain from a new contract.

He loses a year of production and/or learning in the prime of his life. He loses, even if you want to be conservative with the average number of years that a first-round quarterback plays, one-tenth of his career.

And there are -- if you want to count Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert -- at least six Newtons out there who are being irreparably damaged.

This holds true for unsigned free agents too. And the players haven't shied away from making that point to the courts. The problem is, the Appeals Court doesn't seem that interested in the argument that a bunch of agents and lawyers are making with respect to the livelihood of a young football player in the NFL.

What they need to be doing is checking with the people who know better than anyone how much a year of learning can damage the career of a rookie in the NFL: the defendants.

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Posted on: May 21, 2011 12:57 pm

Ponder: 'I'm going in to take the starting job'

Posted by Will Brinson

Last we left Vikings first-round draft pick Christian Ponder, he was discussing the possibility of working out with teammates Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin.

Which is precisely what he needs to do if he wants to end up starting the first week of the season (whenever that is). Which, as he said during an "NFL Rookie Roundtable" on the NFL Network, is exactly what he wants to do.

"My view is that I was picked No. 12, they believe in me, and I believe in myself," Ponder said. ”From that time I got picked, my mindset was I’m going in to take the starting job.

"I have to earn it first, but my mindset is I’m going in and hopefully starting from Day 1."

Ponder, out of all the quarterbacks taken during the first two rounds of the draft -- and there were a lot of them! -- has the best shot to be the starter from the get-go.

The Vikings don't have an incumbent starter, they have a team that can compete right now, and Ponder's considered by many folks to be the most "NFL ready" rookie that was drafted during the 2011 NFL Draft.
Vikes Offseason

It still seems all but a given that the Vikings will target a veteran signal caller once the lockout ends, but if Ponder's working hard with his teammates and getting a grasp on the playbook, it's not necessarily a given that this veteran will have too big a head start on the former Seminole.

The type of veteran that the Vikings target might be the most indicative of whether or not they believe Ponder can kick off the season as the starter -- if Minnesota goes after a Donovan McNabb or a Matt Hasselbeck or a Kyle Orton, they probably expect Ponder to sit and learn. If they target, say, a Billy Volek or Jim Sorgi, Ponder better be ready to start rolling without training wheels.

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Posted on: May 20, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 6:28 am

Kyle Orton could be on the Vikings' radar

Posted by Andy Benoit

Some believe that Christian Ponder is the most immediate NFL-ready quarterback in the 2011 rookie class. But whether this is true or not, with no offseason workouts, even the most NFL-ready rookie is unlikely to actually be ready come Week 1.
K. Orton (US Presswire)
Thus, it’s no surprise that ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Kyle Orton could be on the Vikings’ radar. Orton figures to be on the trading block in Denver. Mortensen says the Vikings have no interest in experimenting with Joe Webb in this role. Webb, in fact, may find himself back at wide receiver. (My analysis, not Mort’s.)

Being a veteran bridge quarterback for the Vikings would be in step with the rest of Orton’s career. Orton started ahead of rookie first-rounder Rex Grossman in Chicago and ahead of another first-round Gators quarterback in Denver named Golden Child Tim Tebow.

It’s worth noting that of the veteran quarterbacks available in 2011, Matt Hasselbeck and Donovan McNabb might be better fits in Minnesota than Orton. Both have spent the majority of their decade-plus careers operating in a West Coast offense similar to the one Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will run.

Then again, Hasselbeck is somewhat injury prone and McNabb must shake his new reputation (fair or unfair) of not being able to adjust to new surroundings. Orton, on the other hand, is schematically versatile, accurate, fundamentally sound and, in all likelihood, affordable.

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Posted on: May 17, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: May 17, 2011 10:04 am

Locker, Ponder trying to workout with teammates

Posted by Will Brinson

Jake Locker and Christian Ponder might be rookies. And they also might have been reaches in the 2011 NFL Draft.

But at least they appear to be leaders! Both Ponder and Locker are apparently working to organize members of their teams into voluntary offseason workouts. Well, okay, just Ponder -- Locker's actually willing to workout with his teammates, though, so that's something right?

"I have talked to a few of my new teammates and they said it would be great if I could make it (to Nashville), and I am definitely going to make that happen," Locker said, per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. "It would be nice to get to know them and spend time with them, get comfortable and familiar with them and start that whole bonding process, I guess."

Talk about a guy who just knows he's not starting in his first season. I mean, maybe he'll make it to Nashville. You know, if people are there. Whatever.

Ponder seems like he's being a little more proactive, planning a workout with Percy Harvin and then receiving a DM on Twitter from Sidney Rice about joining the pair.

"I hope it happens," Ponder said. "That's something I'm looking forward to. It'd be great to spend time with those guys on the field."

As noted by the Pioneer-Press, it actually behooves Rice and Harvin to get up with Ponder as soon as possible -- he's the only guy, as far as he knows, that has new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's playbook.

Oh yes, and it's kind of presumed that Ponder's going to get a chance to be "the guy" from Day One for the Vikings, which seems like an absolute impossibility if he's not on the same page and/or book with his own wide receivers.

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 4:54 pm

Report: Vikes not interested in Vince Young

Posted by Will Brinson

The Vikings, like several teams in the NFL, may have (over)drafted a quarterback in the 2011 NFL Draft. But surely they're still interested in acquiring a veteran-type quarterback who can help them win now, right?

Well, probably. But according to Steve Wyche of NFL Network, that veteran fella won't be (likely) former Titan Vince Young.

Per Wyche, Minnesota has "not had internal discussions" about Young, and at the moment he "does not appear to be under consideration" as a possible candidate to step in and mentor/bridge the gap to Christian Ponder.

This is probably a smart move. Young, despite making a Pro Bowl, hasn't been that successful in the NFL. And if you're looking for someone that fits the bill as a "let's win right now but plan on going with Ponder soon" type of quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck and Donovan McNabb are really much better options. Provided, of course, that they're available.

Those guys are looking for a spot to ride out the rest of their career and/or rejuvenate their respective value with a short contract, depending on what the team wants.
The saga of Vince Young

Young likely wants to do the same thing -- in terms of rejuvenation -- but it's hard to imagine he wants to join a team that doesn't want him long term.

The bigger problem for Young, though, is that the Vikings might not be the only team that doesn't want him at all. With the amount of teams who pulled trigger on a quarterback in the early rounds -- nearly a quarter of the league -- it's going to be tough for a guy with a rep like VY's to find starting quarterback work before the beginning of 2011.

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Posted on: May 3, 2011 7:37 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 7:38 pm

NFC North draft truths revealed

Posted by Andy Benoit

One of the best things about the draft is that from it we can find out what teams really think about their current players. Excluding examples of teams filling obvious needs, here are some of the more revealing draft picks from 2011, with a quick blurb of what the team was really saying by making this pick.

Chicago Bears

1st round, Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Come on, it’s obvious: our offensive tackles stink and former first-round pick Chris Williams will be at guard for the long haul.
3rd round, Chris Conte, FS, California
What can we say? For some reason we’ve never totally trusted Danieal Manning.
5th round, Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho
Decent play off the bench in the NFC Championship isn’t enough to completely sell us on Caleb Hanie. We at least want some options at backup quarterback for now.
 C. Ponder (US Presswire)
Detroit Lions

2nd round, Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
If he pans out, Jahvid Best will become like Jamaal Charles, not Chris Johnson. (i.e. he needs someone to share the load.)
Green Bay Packers

2nd Round, Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
We want to sign RFA James Jones long-term but have a feeling he’ll ask for too much money. And even if we can sign Jones, Donald Driver is closer to the end than you think.

Minnesota Vikings

1st round, Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
We like this quarterback (and no team picking in the twenties would trade with us).
2nd round, Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Visanthe Shiancoe is a nice player, but ultimately we consider him part of the “Favre era”.

Check back throughout the week for other division’s Draft Truths Revealed. To see all Draft Truths Revealed, click the “Draft Truths” tag.

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RSS Feed.

Posted on: May 2, 2011 11:09 am
Edited on: May 2, 2011 11:57 am

Vikings hoping Ponder can start Week 1

Posted by Will Brinson

The Minnesota Vikings shocked the world when they grabbed Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder

"Ideally, I'd like for him to be ready to go when we play San Diego (on Sept. 11)," Frazier said, per Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

But the building up of high expectations doesn't end there! Oh no: Frazier made some pretty hefty comparisons when it comes to young quarterbacks who stepped in and won right away.

"That would be the ideal situation -- we've got our Matt Ryan, we've got our (Joe) Flacco, we've got our (Mark) Sanchez right here. But because of the uncertainty of the offseason, it's just hard to determine exactly how you want to approach it. So, we need a little more clarity on what this offseason's going to be like."

This is pretty fascinating, because it was kind of always expected that the Vikings would just end up with Donovan McNabb. That's just because, um, well, I don't know -- they both had interest in one another and it seemed like a fit.
NFL Draft Wrap-Up
NFL Draft Coverage Brinson2011 NFL Draft Winners/Losers
Judge: 2011 NFL Draft Judgements
Prisco2011 NFL Draft Grades

Ponder getting drafted could still mean McNabb comes along, especially if the lockout lasts for a while and the coaching staff is unable to work with Ponder extensively before the seasons starts.

However, if they do get a chance to work with Ponder, and he gets enough reps before the season starts, it seems that Minnesota could be going all-in on their rookie, while also concerning themselves with getting the most out of a roster that doesn't have much time left on a window to make a run at the Super Bowl.

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 12:20 am
Edited on: April 29, 2011 3:19 am

How do rich get richer? The poor reach for QB's

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- You wanna know how the rich keep getting richer? The poor keep reaching for quarterbacks, that's how.

In one of the strangest drags in recent history, four potentially disastrous quarterbacks went in the top-15 picks, as Cam Newton (1), Jake Locker (8), Blaine Gabbert (10) and Christian Ponder (12) were all of the board before we got halfway through the first round.

The fact that quarterbacks went early isn't shocking, because right now the league is quarterback-needy as hell. Lots of people projected a pile of signal-callers coming off respective big boards throughout the first round.

But by pulling trigger on some questionable quarterbacks so early in the draft, a bunch of teams -- who were drafting early for a reason -- ended up allowing a ton of top tier talent to fall down to a bunch of teams who were drafting -- you guessed it -- late for a reason.

The Colts (Anthony Castonzo), the Saints (Cameron Jordan and then Mark Ingram), the Giants (Prince Amukamara) and a number of other teams ended up hitting home runs with their first-round picks because teams who needed quarterbacks couldn't, for lack of a better phrase, keep it in their pants.

Look, the trio of Gabbert/Ponder/Locker could end up working out for these teams. Ponder's NFL-ready and could be an immediate benefit for the Vikings, while Gabbert and Locker have veterans -- David Garrard and Kerry Collins, respectively -- in front of them and will get a year or two to learn and get prepped to take over.

They could certainly end up being successful quarterbacks in the NFL, but they could also certainly be busts.

But the reason why they went so early isn't because they're guaranteed to be big-time successes in the NFL. They went early because 1) teams were limited in maneuvering because of the labor situation and, more importantly, 2) failed to recognize that in this draft, depth was present at positions that are not named quarterback.

There were certainly "lots of quarterbacks" but that has nothing to do with there being "significant depth at the position."

It's something that you expect general managers and the people who run teams to recognize. But for whatever reason, in this draft, they didn't.

Which is why we shouldn't be too shocked if we see a similar draft order in the first round of 2012 as we saw on Thursday night.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com