Villaume: A Titanic season in Minnesota
- Blog Post by: Louis Villaume
- October 28, 2013 - 6:39 PM
If I read just one more "we need a new QB" post, hear one more rant, or join in a conversation about how awful is Christian Ponder,I will just die. It is not that people are not justified in calling out Ponder for his play, rather it is like blaming the large toll of deaths of the Titanic sinking on a part-time navigator. Sure he could have navigated better, but he was not in charge of lifeboats. He did not build the ship. He was not in command.
After Minnesota's 44-31 debacle on Monday Night Football, the team stands at 1-6. We have now lost to each of our divisional opponents, lost every game on American soil, and are setting records at a furious pace. Like most points Packers ever scored vs. Vikings, or highest-rated passer vs. single team in Aaron Rodgers...
This team is so bad, Jared Allen can be caught saying it. Only he was referring to the defense. And he is more right than a right end could be. This may be the worst defense in our fifty plus years. Christian Ponder is 0-4, and in four starts the team has scored 112 points.
Yet HE is the problem.
The builder of this present ship is Rick Spielman. While Spielman basked in last year's surprising playoff season, and the fleecing of NFL teams for three first-round draft choices this year. he has become a recent target of critics. Most blame Spielman for drafting Ponder. Some are more bold, and blame him for the Josh Freeman signing. Even a football idiot (which most of us would qualify for) knows there is no future help on the present ship at quarterback. Where we all differ is on whom to play.
The commander of Minnesota is head coach Leslie Frazier. It is assumed by most that he will go down with this ship. Only in Minnesota if we really think you are a great guy, we let you continue to coach no matter how bad your team (see Twins, Wolves).
And Frazier is a great guy.
Minnesota's defense has surrendered 225 points in seven games. Not only are we bad, but we seem to be medicinal in nature. Opponent's offenses wake up with a new found confidence. The Giants 0-6? No problem, beat us and you are suddenly on fire a week later. Carolina struggling? Come on over to the Metrodome and you can become one of the hottest teams in the NFL in a few weeks.
This defense is bad.
Last year a few players had big seasons on defense to overcome other shortcomings. Harrison Smith was a vital cog in 2012. So was Chad Greenway, Jared Allen, and Brian Robison. Not so much this year. Smith is one of many not playing, while the others disappear more than ever before.
I noticed something this last game as I prepared to defend Ponder once again. Early in the game Ponder made a throw to Jerome Simpson that was a little behind the receiver running an 'out' pattern. The defender stepped up inside his cut and nearly had a pick six. Simpsons' cut was rounded and easily defended. A poor effort. Meanwhile, Jordy Nelson, despite everyone on the field knowing he would be targeted, could make a sharp cut left or right and have a well delivered ball waiting.
Yes Rodgers good, Ponder bad. But also Nelson good, Simpson bad.
I blame Ponder for panicking. Running before waiting. Not seeing the whole field at times. And throwing most passes like you are trying to complete one in gym class to the kid who cannot catch. A purposeful soft throw. He has looked bad often. But tell me one offensive lineman that has had a good year so far? Please.
But where I seem to differ from the majority is in specific finger pointing. I believe Ponder could win on a good team. He did last year. I do not believe Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, or Andrew Luck could save the 2013 Vikings. Our coaches, defensive line, linebackers, secondary, offensive line, receivers, and even running backs have contributed to this 1-6 team.
The ship is sinking. And liability falls with the builder, commander, navigator, and a whole lot of other people.
How can we automatically spend a top pick on a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft, when we cannot trust who is picking. For every Matt Ryan there are two Jamarcus Russells. And are we so sure that a great quarterback will save this team more than a blue-chip linebacker, guard, or defensive back?
Tom Brady was a sixth-rounder.
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